Despite getting little publicity elsewhere from DiS, the East Midlands really is a hotbed of undiscovered talent at present. Okay, so Leicestershire-based five-piece Kyte have landed on the radar, so-to-speak, to an extent. The extent of a small pin prick on a sewing cushion.
However, on the back of their recently released self-titled debut mini-album, next month sees the band enjoying some prestigious support slots with iLiKETRAiNS. And all this from a band still in their teens.
Kyte are Nick Moon (vocals), Tom Lowe (guitars and keyboards), Jamie Ward (guitars and keyboards), Ben Cox (bass) and Scott Hislop (drums). DiS caught up with singer Nick prior to the band’s dates at the start of March.
Let's take flight...
I guess the best place to start is from the beginning. How and when did the band get together?
I've known Tom (Lowe), our main songwriter, for a long time - he lives in the next village to me and we met at school at some point. I remember in years 10 and 11 we used to write songs and record them on the music tech computer at school. We already knew the other three guys who came to be in the band as well, through school and being in different bands with each other at different times. About a year and a half ago Tom wrote three songs and they sounded completely different from what we'd done before, so we put them on MySpace and decided to start the band properly.
So, technically speaking, this is your first musical venture together...
Yeah, although I'd say every band member has been in some kind of musical thing with each other at some point. I remember when I was about 15 or 16 we all practised in different bands at this youth project workshop on Wednesday evenings. Tom and Jamie (Ward)'s band were easily the best; I had to leave the band I was in when they asked me to learn a Pantera song - it was a cool song but my vocal chords got ripped to shreds!
Leicester seems to be producing some interesting and diverse bands at present. Would you say there is a healthy scene there or quite the opposite, in that bands are forming but gradually moving out of the area to make their name? (Her Name Is Calla being one that springs to mind.)
Are there bands moving away? I don't think we really know too much about the Leicester scene to be honest. I'm really looking forward to playing with the likes of Her Name Is Calla and Tired Irie though. I think Leicester has some really cool acts, like Rival Consoles and Maybeshewill, but I don't think we're aware of much of a scene. I suppose you could say there isn’t too much of a demand for music in Leicester, which might cause a few problems. The Sumo put on people like Annuals and The Kissaway Trail last year and there were hardly any people there, so who knows where the problem is?
Your first single (review) came out via Nat Cramp's Sonic Cathedral label. How did this come about?
We played a Sonic Cathedral show last May supporting Engineers. I think I e-mailed Nat about it as I'd seen some really cool bands had played it. We just finished soundchecking and he came over and said he'd love to release a single of ours, which we were really happy to do.
The single also featured a mix of your 'Secular Ventures' track by James Chapman of Maps. How did that collaboration come about?
I think it was about our fourth gig when we first met James and Maps; it might have been the first time we played outside of Leicester. We got a random slot at the Social in Nottingham and it happened to be Maps playing as well. We hadn’t heard of them at that point - I think they had just released 'Don't Fear'. We got to chat to them a bit, and James told us to keep in touch with what was going on. This was ages before any release or anything, and it wasn't a very busy gig compared to the Rescue Rooms show we played with them recently. When we confirmed the single with Nat he suggested some people for remixes, and we were all keen for it to be James as he was the one we knew on a friendly basis.
Live your songs take on a whole new meaning entirely. At the aforementioned Rescue Rooms show in October (review) I was particularly blown away with 'Ghosts', which to my knowledge has yet to be released, and also 'These Tales Of Our Stay', which sounded vast compared to its recorded version. Would you say the new song is a reflection of the direction the band are heading in or is it just that the band feel more comfortable in a live environment?
Yeah it does sound quite different, playing live to recording; it's certainly bigger that's for sure. Tom records everything in his bedroom, and for the equipment he uses I am always blown away with what he produces. I think live there is an element of experimenting a bit more, which keeps things interesting for us. There are a fair few new songs that we're working on at the moment which I think are sounding pretty special. We're just concentrating on finishing off some recordings before March when the schedule starts to get quite busy. After playing all these shows we'll probably start thinking about which songs would be good for the next release and how to approach them.
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Your eponymous mini-album has just come out to largely favourable reviews, which is pretty exceptional considering some of the tracks are essentially the same demo recordings that got the band a deal in the first place.
Yeah, it's always amazing when you see a good review. I never really know what to expect. It's someone's opinion so I don’t mind reading it if it's good or bad. I don't think we tend to get worked up about it if it's not too good. Sometimes it can be quite funny. I remember seeing one that said something like, "it fails to reach the epic nature of Takk”; it just made me think of the little room we record the songs in, sometimes recording using iPod earphones!
The album was largely produced by yourselves; are there any producers in the pipeline for the next record and if so, who? Also, are there any people who you'd be excited about working with in the future?
I don't know to be honest. I think there have been a few names suggested. As Tom produced the entire first album it'd be something he'd have to think about, as I'm sure it would feel very different to have someone new come in. I'm sure the possibility is there for someone amazing to step in, and work with us, maybe put some more of our live elements in? I don’t think anything is decided about this yet either. If someone like Ken Thomas was co-producing in Tom's room I think it would be an exciting project, although Tom only has one chair in his room!
Are there any plans for more singles from the album?
I don't know actually, I haven't heard anything, so at this stage I'd say no.
What influenced your decision to sign a deal with Kids Records?
They've always been really cool to us, and were the first industry kind of people who took some time to actually speak to us. What they wanted to do was exactly what we wanted, and so there was never any doubt.
Likewise, are you already planning the follow-up (full length) album and, if so, when can it expect to see the light of day?
At this stage we're just writing and recording, but in the next two weeks we're hoping to get five or six new songs recorded. Then we'll start playing live quite a bit in March, April and May before going to Japan in June, so we don't really have an album plan except to just write and record. Tom has always got new song ideas, and there are a fair few older songs that we were thinking could be re-worked, so I suppose we are planning the next release, but nothing is decided about it yet.
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March and April sees you touring harder than ever. It must be quite surreal that already people are talking about you in the same breath as bands like Sigur Rós and Maps, particularly for a band at such a young and relatively inexperienced age.
Yeah, we can't wait to start this tour, as there's nothing we'd rather be doing more. It's quite common for people to say the Sigur Rós thing, if they've just seen us for the first time or something. It's very flattering, although we never really have a response to it. There are a lot of surreal moments too - they used our song on Football Focus last weekend. I was just sitting there with my brother thinking how strange it was. But it's cool, although you wont see us drinking champagne in Leicester city centre with Mark Morrison just yet!
At the end of April you're hooking up with iLiKETRAiNS for some dates. How did this come about and are you looking forward to playing with them?
Yeah, this is going to be amazing, as we are big fans of them. I used to talk to Simon their drummer, about Sonic Cathedral and things like that. Then when I saw they were touring again I sent him a MySpace message saying how much we'd love to play with them, and he said "leave it with me". By about the next day he'd sorted it all! I've been meaning to see them live for ages, and now we'll be able to watch them nine times!
Your sound has been described as "neo-shoegaze" and "ethereal post-rock" among other things. How would you describe the band's sound?
I have no idea, I think probably just 'pop'. I wouldn’t be able to use any of these kinds of terms because I don't understand them. I think someone said 'progressive pop' the other day, and that seems cool. I think they should probably try and ban these music label compounds; I haven't heard anything as weird sounding as ‘nu-gaze’ but I'm sure there will be something soon.
Does it concern you that the band may find themselves pigeonholed as part of a scene, particularly as once a certain scene dies down a lot of the associated artists tend to fall away with it?
No, I don't think this is really a concern. We're not trying to fit into any scene. We just do what we do, and if we fall away we'd still be writing songs and playing some kind of show in Market Harborough or somewhere.
Finally, are there any other new bands or artists you feel we should be taking an interest in at the moment, particularly ones who might not be getting a great deal of attention at this present moment in time?
Rival Consoles I think are worth a mention again. We've played with Ryan Lee West (Rival Consoles mainman) a few times and it's always amazing to watch him. I heard he recently did a few Q&As after his sets; he's gotta be one of the sharpest people I've ever met. He somehow manages to push this through when he's playing his set live. We played a few shows on The Whip's tour last year, and it was very easy to get into them through watching them live. They are such an amazing live band; their set at Norwich Arts Centre was so so good. Last week we played with Ólafur Arnalds, and his set was really impressive. I'd definitely rush out to see him if he played near me anytime soon.
See Kyte at the following venues next month
7 London Social (Sonic Cathedral)
11 Leicester The Square (Panic w/Her Name Is Calla)
15 London 100 Club (w/The Lea Shores)
21 Brighton Barfly (w/iLiKETRAiNS
22 London Bush Hall (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
23 Colchester Arts Centre (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
24 Oxford Carling Academy 2 (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
25 Nottingham Bodega Social Club (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
28 Lancaster The Library (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
29 York Fibbers (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
30 Manchester Roadhouse (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
1 Leeds Brudenell Social Club (w/iLiKETRAiNS)
The mini-album Kyte is out now on Kids Records. For more information on Kyte visit the band's MYSPACE.