Interview: Kelly Pardekooper
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Probably my parent’s vinyl album collection. We had music playing in the house all the time when I was growing up, lots of Beatles, Stones, Who and Neil Young. If not music, I think I would have been a lawyer, probably a contract lawyer based on all the music publishing agreements I’ve seen at this point.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to hike the mountains around Las Vegas. The fresh air and views have always been inspiring for me. I would guess the quiet contemplation time has been good for working out lyrics.
How long has your band been around?
Released my first studio album in 2000. And this year I released my 10th album AUTUMN.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Based in Las Vegas now. I’m an Iowa City native and I’ve also lived in Nashville, Los Angeles, Indianapolis and Madison, Wisconsin. I think my geographic restlessness has been good for the songs and perspective. My music publisher has always said he can hear the wide-open spaces of my home state of Iowa in my music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I’ve always performed under my funny Iowa-Dutch name. Pardekooper is Dutch and translates to “horse buyer”.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
The Take Root Festival in Holland was the biggest show. 10,000 people and we shared a dressing room with the band Cracker. A fun night! SXSW in Austin was a great highlight too.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Cash, Clash, Grandaddy
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The best advice I could offer is to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient and get the music right first.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Ha! Maybe get that law degree.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That’s tough to say. Of the 100+ recorded songs, my favorite sonically is probably “So Lovely” because it sounds the way I first heard it in my head.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Young American” has always been the evening closer. A pissed rocker that keeps folks up and dancing.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I’ve always blocked out a few hours every week just for writing. I think you have to treat it like a craft that demands a strong work ethic. You have to be self-motivated and put in the time.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Pure emotion. Heart on the sleeve authentic feelings.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
No, I’m solo and do most my recording with old friends in studios all over America. I’m the boss of my music, but always listen and take advice from trusted producer friends.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I just released my 10th album AUTUMN and you can find it on all the platforms now. My songs/voice have been featured in 40+ films and television, so my only goal at this point is to just keep recording music that moves me!