Strawberry Spotlight with Year of the Kite
Strawberry Spotlight is a weekly feature on Strawberry Tongue Radio hosted by Lady Audio. She chats with the bands you hear, here, on Strawberry Tongue. In this edition, Lady Audio chats with Matt Walsh of the slowcore/dreampop band Year of the Kite.
This is a transcription of that interview which airs November 30, 1:00 EST, only on Strawberry Tongue Radio. You can also catch the re-broadcast of this show on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00pm EST. Be sure to tune in!
Lady Audio: Hey everyone and welcome to Strawberry Spotlight my name is Lady Audio and I will be your host. Today’s guest is Matt Walsh of Year of the Kite. Thank you for joining me, Matt how are you?
Matt Walsh: I’m very well
Lady Audio: what attracted you to the realm of music
Matt Walsh: I’ve been playing music for years now but originally it was just an outlet, isn’t it, how your feeling and your creativity and you get to be in a band, which as a younger kid, you think it’s pretty cool but the main reasons it’s just something to have an outlet for your creative urges
Lady Audio: Cool. How did Year of the Kite get started?
Matt Walsh: well at the heart of the band we are some good friends and then we’ve just brought in some of the people we know and it all sort of gelled and we’ve been playing together now for about 2 years and just going from strength to strength and writing more songs and it’s really working
Lady Audio: how did you come up with the name for the band?
Matt Walsh: You’d have to ask Doug are keyboardist it was a conversation he had with his young daughter Pit and in between them they came up with the Year the Kite.
Lady Audio: that’s cool. One of my favorite birds here in California is the kite it’s a bird of prey that is white and covers looking for its prey so it’ll find a little Meadow and it will just hover in the sky flapping its wings and looking for a squirrel or a mouse.
Matt Walsh: yes we’ve got the red kite around here we live out in Oxfordshire and the kite with extinct around here and they reintroduced it in the late 90s early 2000s and now the sky is full of them, beautiful birds – probably a distant cousin of yours
Lady Audio: that’s wonderful I’m glad to hear that you have a kite over there too. Who are all the members and what do they play?
Matt Walsh: Okay I sing or try to sing and I play guitar and some electronics and that kind of thing and then we’ve got my other half Rachel – she plays violin and then we’ve got another couple in the band Kate and Doug. Doug does the keyboards and electronics and Kate plays clarinet and then we’ve got an odd couple Matt and Muhammad. Muhammad plays the bass and Matt plays the drums mostly but he’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades and he plays guitar and sings and he does bits and pieces as well find the three we try and return cover all the bases
Lady Audio: how would you describe the kind of sound that year of the kite creates? When I was looking at SoundCloud it says dream pop but I wanted to hear how you describe the music.
Matt Walsh: Difficult to describe it – we are at our heart quite slow and melancholy, but try to keep it melodic and interesting and try put together textures and layers of instruments and sounds that we think are interesting and the music evolves when you listen to it more and more and things emerge from the mix that might not be obvious on first listen.
Lady Audio: that is true when I was listening for the second time I was noticing other instruments pop out here and there
Matt Walsh: yes we do try to have a pretty faithful recording when we approached our tracks but have to have layers and things blend together a little bit organically and bury things in the reverb and see how things emerge.
Lady Audio: I really like the song “Beauty Gone” can you talk a bit about it and what is it about
Matt Walsh: Well, it’s a bit of a sad song it’s not about anything specifically, but trying to create a mood rather bleak and frozen landscape….
Play Beauty Gone
Matt Walsh: …but put a positive spin that the person in the song should not be without no one but they’re looking for something in their life to take away from rather the bleak verses in the song.
Lady Audio: Another song that I really like is The Upper Reaches is that your newest song?
Matt Walsh: It is yeah so we finished mixing that a few weeks ago so we’re very excited to release that. We’re proud of that and I think that kind of captures are sound quite well because the way the song is broken down and into verses with words and then some more instrumental the passages with the clarinet and violin leaving the melody with other things rumbling along in the background. We like that and and hopefully that will get us some plaudits and people get to hear it.
Lady Audio: The picture that goes along with it is really sad that’s for sure.
Matt Walsh: The dead wasps?
Lady Audio: Yes.
Matt Walsh: It’s a little bleak we took that in the bell tower of the church that we rehearse in
Play The Upper Reaches
Matt Walsh: We’ve got access to a village church in Oxfordshire where we live. Up in the Bell Tower, we climbed up there one day at the end of summer, obviously what was left of the wasp nest – they were looking a little worse for wear. But it’s a great space for us to rehearse in and we don’t have any religious persuasion as such but they let us keep our kit in the Vestry and we can play in there he gets a little cold in the winter but it’s beautiful acoustic send an old medieval Church we’re very lucky to have that.
Lady Audio: Very lucky. The actual song The Upper Reaches what is it about?
Matt Walsh: Well the name comes from an old dilapidated hotel in the one of the towns around here. But it’s a song essentially about someone struggling to keep their head above water literally and metaphorically dealing and with the difficulties it throws at them. There’s a confessional sort of element to it as well. As with all of our songs it has no particular background story to what it’s actually about. It’s just a mood or atmosphere we’re trying to create with the sounds and words and we’ll fit with that or would try to anyway.
Lady Audio: Are you working on any new songs right now?
Matt Walsh: So we are. We’ve got the kind of majority of an album recorded now and we’re just looking at some complimentary elements to it, because our songs are generally quite full so we’re kind of recording some counterpoints to it. Sort of stripped back and simple things that allow the fuller songs to flow together. So we would like to get those recorded in our church and then get them mixed and mastered and then we’ll have what we hope is a great debut record.
Lady Audio: Where can people go to listen to invite your music?
Matt Walsh: Well at the moment we haven’t actually released anything in physical format. We’ve got our SoundCloud page and if you go there you’ll find our songs there to stream. We’re looking at the moment to try to find the right label to release its physical format. So we’re talking to some people about that. Then our website has more like some more songs to stream and then our Twitter @yearofthekite
Lady Audio: And now for a scenario: it’s late in the afternoon, and the shadows are long, the air is silent, and you are standing by a pond. Off in the distance you see a blue flickering light and you walk towards it. As you get close enough to where you can almost touch it it starts making a sound what is the sound that it makes?
Matt Walsh: (Laughs) What *is* the sound of that makes? I would a low drone.
Lady Audio: And last but not least what is your favorite flower?
Matt Walsh: The buttercup
Lady Audio: Oh, that is lovely. I haven’t heard that for a long time. Well thank you so much for joining me today, Matt, I really appreciate it.
Matt Walsh: Not at all, thank you for having us.