Interview: Kyle Chatham
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
It feels like I was into it from birth honestly. I suppose it would have to be anything that was playing on TV or Radio. My dad had VHS tapes of Foreigner playing live and music like that would often get played in the car. I was already into it and I don't ever remember it feeling like a revelation. It felt like it had been there forever. If I hadn't gotten into music I wouldn't be up to much. I'm not good at anything else. Not to any level of competence anyway.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I try to do things that fuel my creativity but sometimes I don't really know what I'm looking for. Books and films work I suppose but it isn't as often as I'd like. I spend quite a lot of time in strange corners of YouTube watching interviews or whatever. It works quite well for my attention and interests most of the time. Conversations with other creative friends definitely help too. It's a way of escaping your own head, verbalising things that then become clearer and getting other points of view.
How long has your band been around?
I've been making music in some capacity since I was about 12/13. The music I make now has been around in some capacity since around 2017 and I've been developing and tweaking things since then.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I'm originally from a small village on the west coast of Scotland, but I've lived in London for the last 3 years in various parts and various situations. I think living in Scotland was probably my most prolific time between 2016-2019. I didn't have much else to do but work at my part time job and work on these quite dense albums I was making at the time. I was surrounded by quite a lot of countryside and nature too so had a lot of breaks from making things to go out and just walk around fields and rivers. Probably didn't know the privilege of that enough at the time. I've definitely found London harder to write in for whatever reason and for most of the pandemic had quite a heavy writer's block I would say. I've only just recently started to figure it out again and things are coming to me quicker and up to a higher standard than the last few years I think which is quite exciting.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I've always gone by my birth name in music. It's not to say that anyone who adopts a pseudonym is making dishonest music - I don't think that at all. In some ways maybe it allows them to be even more honest because they aren't as attached to the name. But for me I just never had any interest in doing that. I didn't want to create something that was its own world - I wanted it to be a display of me to a degree. Going by my own name just felt more natural and still does.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
It wasn't really a show as such, but I played a song as a finalist in the Ivor's Scholarship competition in 2019. I think because I was playing to a wide variety of industry gatekeeper type people and other songwriters it just felt like a privilege to be recognised in that category for something I'd made in my bedroom in the middle of nowhere in Scotland. Suddenly I was performing for people like Crispin Hunt of Longpigs, Fiona Bevan, Rupert Hine and loads of others I didn't get the chance to speak to.
As far as the worst show, I actually didn't mind because I found it quite funny but basically it was in a community centre and the headline band were all like 15 years old so they brought all their 15 year old friends along who were absolutely hammered on arrival. One was sick all over the floor just before I went on and halfway through my set the police turned up and the kids started flipping chairs and slamming tables or something. I was asked to make the next song my last. It just happened to be 7 minutes long and I dragged it out as long as I could. Was quite a surreal experience but it's a good story.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you
I've genuinely not performed in too many places myself and as such none of the places I have performed really stand out in any way. I played a live streamed show in Edinburgh one time and the venue itself wasn't amazing or anything but it was right on the docks in Leith and I think I just really liked the surrounding area that it put me in quite a nice headspace.
As far as places I'd want to play, I really like more concert hall type venues a lot of the time. The Royal Festival Hall in London on the Southbank is a really great venue. It'd also be special to play the Academy in Glasgow as a sort of homecoming thing - especially considering the amount of shows I saw there in my youth that were important for me.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I think a bill of three with me on the bottom, Big Red Machine in the middle, and Ben Howard on the top. Or even Bon Iver in there too. Any combination of those three acts above me would be ridiculous.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
I think to have a decent idea in your head of the way you want things to go and just be stubborn with that. Listen to yourself before anyone else. It's always good to collaborate and be open to advice on things, but remembering to stay true to yourself and your intentions is the most important thing I think. And focus on the music first.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Probably to have taken more initiative in playing live shows with my music at the time - but I also think it's important to wait until you think you're completely ready and proud of what you're presenting. I think this question will be more relevant to me in 10 years or so really when I've hopefully gone further in the industry.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
At the moment it's probably my newest single, 'Valentine'. I think it says quite a lot within quite a simple structure which I usually find quite difficult to do. I think it displays quite well the emotion of the time it was written too. It changes all the time though, I'm sure the things I'm working on at the moment will be the most important to me in the years to come but that's the way it should be I think.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
None ever get requested. No one cares that much yet! I also haven't played live in a few years so it will be interesting to see how that changes if it does. I always enjoyed playing 'I'm On Your Mind' and 'She Wants You' a lot. They felt like highlights for me when performing.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It can be anything really. Generally though it's completely impulse based. It's like eating food. You have to do it and maybe you'll see something that compels you to make something quite specific or maybe you won't have any desire to do it but you are hungry and have to have something anyway. Sometimes I'll just be making things because it has to happen and it's quite rare that anything amazing comes from that but it does happen. Listening to lots of new music is probably the thing that wills me most to create new music though - that's probably the simpler and more boring answer.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I wouldn't say there is a message as such. I think it's quite earnest music in a lot of ways and puts you in quite an ethereal but serious headspace perhaps. I'm sure many of the lyrics are relatable to certain types of people in a lot of ways, but it's also music to get completely lost in I think just in its nature. If anything - they are messages to myself.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming
Yeah I just recently released my new single Valentine but I also have a follow up single coming out on the 25th of March called 'Once More Round Your Heart' which I'm excited about and hopefully some live shows in the next few months.