Monday, June 30, 2008

Hawaii Photo Shoot. Issue #56

Last month when I was in Hawaii I met up with photographer
JOSHUA STEARNS to update my press photos, and to capture some images for some up-and-coming projects I'm working on. I'm really happy with the way they turned out, and once again we tried to capture something in nature and different than your normal "urban rock shot".

As for the one with me dunking? I wasn't going to include my obviously joking "Jordan Fantasy" here originally, but thought it might get some good laughs, a few "WTF's", and bring my old middle school basketball buddies out of the woodwork. NO ONE likes to play B-Ball with me because I foul to much. TRUE.

You may have noticed some changes to the title of my blog from "365 Days of Songs" to "Kyle Stevens Music". This was due to the fact that this blog has always incorporated much more than just my songwriting gig with ISLAND FILM GROUP, makes it a little easier to find, and streamlines with my other web addresses. Some of us have a problem with change, and in understanding that I encourage those of you who do to take a deep breath...and get over it. :)

See you next week!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The 7 Words You Can't Say. Issue #55

George Carlin passed away a few days ago, and though I only became a big fan of his in the past few years I regret the fact that I never had the chance to see him live. There have been thousands of tributes online over the past few days that like me you may have read, so I won't waste your time with a biography of his life. Still, his passing to me feels like it did when Frank Sinatra, George Burns, or George Harrison died; a talent beyond replication and inherent to the individual alone. A kind of force that continued on despite the changes in the world, and one that actually caught more fire the more ridiculous certain parts of our culture had become.

His enemies called him "crass", "beyond vulgar", and Larry King called him in eulogy,"a kind gentle man off-stage". Whatever he was, his delivery called on his throngs of fans to not only LAUGH, but to THINK as well. He invited us to point out our flaws and laugh as much as we wanted, but to also be sure to keep our eyes on those who keep their eyes on us.

In his final few comedy specials and interviews, Carlin never hesitated to call out the current administration, the "great powers above everyone", and the fact that he thought America was DONE.

I don't know if he really thought that. If he did, I don't think his material would have been so focused on making sure everyone questioned everything, not letting the consumer culture consume YOU, and waking the hell up before it's too late. When watching, it's almost a desperate plea to save ourselves and to believe in our individualities served in the palatable bite of comedy.

Enjoy the videos and know that though I wouldn't play them in the company of young ones, I would digest them as a way to satisfy the hunger for a new way of thinking, and to remember a way you may have forgot...

Keep Laughing,


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

COLLIDER @ Showbox Wrap-Up. Issue #54

On Friday the 13th (ooooohhhhhh), COLLIDER had it's 3rd show eva at The Showbox in Seattle. It was great to see a lot of new faces at the show as word spreads and folks who come to see KYLE STEVENS BAND start to make the trek to the other side of the pond.

We've been kind of spoiled the last few shows by having the 1st slot ensuring a perfect soundcheck before we play, and since we had a later slot this time the stage sound was a little wacky. This meant that though the show was fun, it was a lot of work to hear clear notes on stage thus making the band and I questioning our overall performance at the end of the show (our consensus not good).

To our surprise many people came up to us afterwards saying that is was the best we had ever played/sounded so goes to show you that what we know isn't much and that it's all perception. I'll take it though...

As KYLE STEVENS BAND performs throughout the summer, COLLIDER will be making a summer project of getting our debut album finished. After the emotional high of getting so much done in one day of recording last Sunday, we've since come down off the cloud to find we have A CRAP LOAD of work to get done in a few months time. The challenge for us will be putting the pedal down and the fine line managed between keeping the songs fresh and not getting burned out. I'll keep you posted...

Thanks for coming out to play with us on Friday, we look forward to seeing you at the next show in July!



Monday, June 9, 2008

Recording COLLIDER @ Two Sticks Audio. Issue #53

That's COLLIDER Drummer Ian Caruso banging out "Dollars And Dimes" yesterday at Two Sticks Audio in Seattle. "Two Sticks" is a studio owned by Jason McGerr from Death Cab For Cutie, and on Sunday the band and I (and engineer/studio manager/ advice giver Don Gunn) headed into a full day of recording (14 hours) with the intention of getting final Drum and Bass tracks for our debut album. Fortunately, we got done with our goal WAY ahead of schedule and realizing we were in the much coveted "ZONE" we decided to push forward and see what else we could get accomplished.

Surprising and unexpected, the day ended up with completed rhythm section tracks of 10 instead of the intended 7 songs, and with me getting 90% of my vocals done with what I felt was the best singing I've put on tape to date. The rest of the album is looking to be completed over the next couple of months with a release not to far after that, so stay tuned....

COLLIDER will be playing The SHOWBOX (Market) in Seattle this Friday, June 13th for an ALL-AGES/Bar with I.D. Show. Tickets are $10 at the door ($8 through Ticketmaster), and will be a great evening of four solid bands. It's the second SHOWBOX appearance for the band, and we can't wait to see you there...



Thursday, June 5, 2008

1 YEAR. Issue #52

Wow...this week is the one year anniversary of keeping this blog active, and the end of one of the fastest years of my life. The year ended where it began, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii visiting my family.

A year ago, I started this blog as a way to document my development deal with ISLAND FILM GROUP as their in-house songwriter to see where I ended up in a year. Since then, it has expanded according to whatever projects I have been working on, as well as a way to talk to myself through certain things with you as a receptive audience. In the course of the past year, I'm sure there were a few readers who were in this for the end game result and since I'm not one who likes to disappoint, let's look back on what I felt I accomplished in the last year...

#1: SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM: This was my first outing as a solo artist and one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Not just because the whole thing was done in house (with the exception of a few guest musicians), but the act of putting my name on the front cover and having to take ALL the credit both good, and bad that comes with that was new for me. It was something I always wondered if I'd have the opportunity to do and I'm thankful it happened. The album was written for people who like good songs, not music critics, and it seemed to be received as such. This all led up to the debut of THE KYLE STEVENS BAND's CD Release @ The HIGHDIVE in November 2007 in Seattle.
Surreal, and satisfying at once...

#2 GIGI EDGLEY'S Album, "...So It Seems" : I met Gigi when I was smack dab in the middle of writing my album, and was able to use some other songwriting muscles I had been neglecting by writing and producing hers in a different style than I normally use. Meeting Gigi allowed me to think a little different musically, exposed me to some of her wonderful fans that became my own, and led to the release of two albums before the end of 2007. Good stuff, but a hard act to follow productivity wise in a 3 month period...

#3 2008 RPM CHALLENGE: The RPM CHALLENGE is an annual social experiment put on once a year during the month of February that gives songwriters the opportunity see what can be produced FROM SCRATCH during a 30-Day period. "No previous ideas, no previous recordings" is the rule of the land and just about gave yours truly a cerebral melt-down. Suffice it to say I'm alive today with the required batch of 10 songs expected of me, and a sense of what is possible when I push myself to the limit. I LOVE the grouping of songs that were born as a result of the Challenge, and after slowly introducing them in the live set have found them responded to with an excitement I never would have expected given how they came to be...quick as hell. As I've said before, an exercise in letting go to be visited again. Look for a few of these tunes to say hello in the near future...

#4 Debut of COLLIDER: Before staring my development deal/solo band, my old friend Matt Edington (FORCEFIELDS) and I had months prior been laying the ground for our new band, COLLIDER. Since COLLIDER was sounding great, I felt no reason to can the idea and instead embraced the insanity of having 2 stylistically different bands made up of the same people.

Bizarre? YES. Convenient? Very.

The band was debuted at The SHOWBOX in Seattle on March 1st 2008, and was a success in the way a musical experiment would be defined as such (A.K.A. People LIKED IT.)
I've found it myself at times confusing to describe/understand (as maybe you have), but maybe the concept can best be defined as how Matt differentiates the two by the following description.


COLLIDER = "Dark Kyle"

Could he be right? You'll have to be the judge when the E.P. comes out...

#5 "SPARKLE AND FALL" Video: At my All-Ages CD Release show in November 2007, I was approached my a nice soul by the name of Heather Canik. Heather directs stuff, and after getting know her over the next couple of months decided that we should shoot a video together for my single, "Sparkle And Fall". After taking a few months to script it out and a lot of back and forth discussion we took a weekend at the end of February to drag my living room onto a beach in the freezing ass cold with hope that Jack Frost would help us capture some magic. The end result is something that I feel turned out to be more personal than anything I felt I've done artistically to date. Heather and her team did their best to realize the vision and put a lot of heart into filming it. It's filled with things and people I love, and I hope I can apply what I learned and make my songs stronger by doing so.

Well there you go, a check list of what I felt were the mile-markers of the past year with a lot of fun stuff and a lot of hard work filled in-between.

The result at the end of "365 Days of Songs"? My employment has been extended with ISLAND FILM GROUP and things continue to move forward as planned. Nice. :)

I want to deeply thank everyone who has followed this blog, listened to my tunes, supported by attending shows, and has read weekly over the past year. Some weeks I had to cut back on what I wanted to write about being I was excited about so much, and others it was a struggle to type anything at all.
Still, I made a commitment to put out a posting each week regardless. To those who cared enough to check back every week as well, know that I appreciate it very much.
I plan on keeping that regularity up, so I hope you'll continue reading.

In closing, this past year has been one of much change for me. Putting out a solo album and evolving past my older works of LAYMANS TERMS shifted many people in and out my musical life as a result of the change in style and presentation. Not everything you do works for everyone, and anything rarely does. Industry contacts as well as fans come and go to be replaced with new ones when change is made and if you're lucky, those changes bring a stronger sense of self than you had previously.

I attended my younger brother Mateo's High School graduation while in Hawaii, and something was said by a speaker that I needed to be reminded of.

They said, "Through life you will find those who say there is only one way to do something, those who say that anything else is unacceptable by their own definition of what is. Your truth and success with be found only when you do it YOUR way, by listening to your heart and not being afraid to think outside the box."

YEAR 2 is about thinking outside the box.

Love and Thanks,