Interview :: Kyla La Grange [3.11.11]
Kyla La Grange is both precocious and arriving in New York for the first time on Sunday. Her excellent single, "Walk Through Walls" is already one of the best of 2011, firmly establishing her as someone to watch as she works towards a full length record later this year. La Grange took some time out to reflect on her writing process, if New Yorkers are assholes and her strength as a swimmer. She plays Communion NYC on Sunday at Public Assembly in her first New York show before a run at SXSW.
32feet: Top five Desert Island Records?
Kyla La Grange: Leonard Cohen - Chelsea Hotel #2, Cat Power - To Be a Good Woman, Jacob Golden - Revenge Songs, Band of Horses - The Funeral, Elliott Smith - King's Crossing.
32feet: Even with just one proper single, it seems you have a flair for the dramatic, something you've referred to as writing these "big choruses". Where does that impulse for the grandiose come from and can you take us through the writing process?
KLG: I think I just like to be caught up in the emotion of what I'm writing or performing as much as possible: for it to be visceral and honest and something you can lose yourself in. You have to put a lot of thought into lyrics, but even then I think often the best lyrics (and melodies) come in a rush when you are completely consumed by something: that's the best time to write.
32feet: Does that mercurial approach feel liberating or potentially limiting?
KLG: (Mercurial is a nice word) I don't really think about whether the way I write is liberating/limiting, I just write and whatever comes out comes out. I would hate to ever over-think it - for me it has to be this very private, personal catharsis: I write on my own and am critical at that very first level - if I don't think a song is good enough I never work on it with the full band, it just stays in a garageband file on my computer waiting to be deleted. Some of the songs will stay just acoustic, and some of them I work with band to make them bigger - it depends whether it fits the mood of the song or not.
32feet: Are there plans to record an LP this year and, if so, what can you tell us about the progress?
KLG: I've just released my first single, and we're hoping to release a second later in the year. We're about 3/4 of the way through recording the album, so hopefully it won't be too long before we can release it.
32feet: Have you been to New York before? Any thoughts before playing your first show here? I promise we aren't the raging assholes people say we are.
KLG: I've never been before, I'm ridiculously excited. I've heard only good things! If there are raging assholes I haven't been told about them...
32feet: Any impressions on SXSW? There is always this sense that the festival seems to foist one or two acts solidly into the American indie rock mainstream. Do you feel there is the potential to seize some of that density of media coverage and turn it into something profound in just four days?
KLG: I don't know, I try not to think about the whole media/PR/promo thing, I just hope we put on a really good show and perform well. It'll just be such a honour to play there: for years i've looked longingly at the line-ups and wished I could go. So many of the bands/artists who play SXSW are amazing, I imagine it'll feel a bit surreal to be rubbing shoulders with them.
32feet: What is the one thing people don't know about you that they should never forget?
KLG: I can swim faster than a shark.
Kyla La Grange - Walk Through Walls by Stayloose