Kyle is one cool dude. I first met him through mutual friends while he was here working on his record... which is awesome by the way. Give it a listen at http://kylecox.bandcamp.comSince first meeting we've kept in touch and kept tabs on each others happenings. I have to say, I love it when talented friends find well deserved and hard won success. Kyle is a great singer and writer, I asked him a bit about his process, what it was like working with Mike Marsh, and a few other things... here are his responses, enjoy!
1. What does a good song mean to you? What does it do for you?
This is such a difficult first question to answer. I feel like I'm always debating this in my own mind. I have so many friends I respect who totally view a "good song" way different than I & they aren't wrong. It's a very subjective thing.
For me, lyrics, melody, & structure are the 3 main elements I consider to make up a good song. And in that order of importance. If those things don't hit it for me, then I have a very hard time enjoying the song. Like if I have no idea what you are singing about, but the melody is catchy & the structure is real tight, I still will have a hard time enjoying it. Recently, however, I've been trying to not be so critical.
It's like food. Food is food. Taco Bell is just as much food as a $300 steak at the fanciest restaurant in town. Obviously one is "better" than the other, but it's still food. It's still going to fill you up, give you energy, & sustain you to your next meal. Both even have their place & time. The same with music. It's all got it's time & place, even if it's not my favorite, that doesn't mean it's not good or serving a valuable purpose. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, music is like food & I love Taco Bell.
2. You play a lot of intimate house shows, what is the difference between a house show like that and other concerts you've played? Do you like one more than the other?
I do play a lot of house shows. I really, really love playing house shows. Even though I am an introvert (and a very strong one at that), I'm a very relational person as well. I love the barriers & walls that get torn down during house shows between the listener & artist. It's a very relational thing. There's no lights, stage, speakers, etc that separates the artist from the listener & almost puts the artist on a pedestal. It's very transparent & very equalizing with the listener. No "rock star" persona possible when you are sitting on a couch in an apartment & the owners cat jumps on your lap mid-song.
There's also a lot more conversation that happens, it's a very vulnerable moment as an artist, and I think it's one of those things that in order to really make it enjoyable for the listener, you as the artist have to connect with them personally.
I do love playing any & all shows, period, and there's definitely something special about venues that you don't get in a house show setting, so it would be hard to say I really like one over the other. But currently, it seems the fans that have been connecting with my music the best have been the ones who have seen me at a house show.
3. You normally play solo, what was it like working with producer Mike Marsh and crafting an album with more of a full band or produced sound?
It was a killer experience. We've actually been working together a little bit before this record. Our first time working together, I sent him some acoustic demos & he emailed me drum tracks. Then I just tracked the rest in Orlando at a studio. The next time I came up to Nashville, tracked 2 songs full production with him in 4 days & it was such a rad time that as I was walking out to my car to head back to Orlando from that session, he literally said "write a record this year & let's record it this summer." So that's what I did.
I've definitely built a lot of trust with him, so tracking full band was rather easy for the most part. I would just send him the demos I did at my house, he'd track drums to them, have someone track bass, & then I'd come to town with bass & drums finished. It was very streamlined. I'm not really protective over the arrangements of my songs, so I'm always willing to do & try whatever idea anyone I trust has.
It's like raising a kid I guess (although I'm not a parent...ha). You obviously have an idea of what you want your kid to be once they are born. Like an ideal scenario in your mind. But to force your kid into that ideal probably isn't the best way to raise them. You want to give them all the options possible & let them develop into the person they were meant to be. It doesn't make that kid any less your child if they don't end up exactly like you imagined, & honestly, it probably makes them a better person. I think the same thing goes for a song. I sometimes have an ideal vision for where I see it going as a song, but I also want to see it go where is best for the song. Nine times out of ten, just letting the song grow in the studio usually leads the song to a better place than I'd imagine it would've gone anyway. It also doesn't make it any less my song.
4. What was the hardest song to write and cut on the record and why?
Hmmm...I'm not sure. I don't think really any of them were tough to record. The song I definitely spent the longest time writing would probably be "Bring Us To Our Best." I'm still very proud of those lyrics & I spent a real long time writing them.
I think the song I was least excited about recording was probably "Honey, Let's Run Away." Not because I don't like that song at all, but it is the oldest song on the record. I probably wrote that song 4-5 years ago & have played it for so long that it's just worked it's way out of my live set. I still think it's a cool song, but the honeymoon excitement of that song has long worn off well before I even dreamed of recording a full length. I think because of that, it was a little tough to get excited about the track & come up with some cool ideas. I definitely have to throw the arrangement credit to Mike on this one. He really brought this one to life & made it seem brand new to me again. He did such a good job producing this track. It's become one of the favorites of a lot of people I know.
5. What are some of the things you are looking forward to most now that you live in Nashville?
I think what I'm looking forward most about Nashville when it comes to music is just doing more of what I was already doing in Orlando. Orlando is amazing & I am so proud of being from that city, but there's just a limited number of places to play & music events to be excited about. The ones that are happening are super awesome & I love them, but there's really only 3 venues in town I love to play, 1 open mic I really love, and 1 songwriters group that I was a part of.
I'm excited about just doing more of those things in Nashville. If I wanted to play a different open mic every night of the week here in Nashville, I could. There's far more than 3 venues I'm excited to play & that I have played already that I love. I've already had 2 groups of friends (you, Nick, being one of them) that have talked to me about doing a songwriters group. That's just all the stuff I'm really excited about. Doing a high volume of the things I was already doing in Orlando. The things I could only do once or twice a month I now can do 4-5 nights a week if I really wanted to.
That's a very exciting thing for me.
I'm also probably just as excited for seasons. I love seasons. I love that the leaves are changing & that it's cold. That rules.
Anything else you want to mention?