With the recent announcement of signing to a new label, a fresh, vintage-styled music video, as well as a break into the music festival scene, the four-piece band -- that counts everyone from Tom Petty to Tame Impala as influences -- based out of Utah Valley, Utah finds things moving faster than it can fully track. On the eve of the release of its newly completed album and debut festival performance at LouFest, the future seems bright for these young desert wanderers.
Henderson reaches for his awaited phone call and is greeted by a scruffy journalist reading questions out of a spiral bound notebook with the sounds Dr. John faintly playing in the background. Pleasantries are exchanged and the interview with the traveling band commences.
Mike Gualdoni: I see you guys are touring all over the place. Where are you at in your tour right now?
Kyle Henderson: We're just over halfway done. Got about three weeks left.
And how long have you been going?
About a month and a week, just on this run. I mean, you know, we've been home for a stretch of two weeks since January, because in-between tours we've been doing a record out in L.A.
How far along is that project?
It's getting mixed next week; a full length record. We just finished it up.
Right on. Where would this put you as far as your discography goes?
It's our second full-length album. It's kind of like the first real debut of the band though, you know. I mean, our lineup changed a lot since we started touring, songs changed, minds changed, you know. So it's almost like a new band in some senses -- a more mature band.
So, it's like the next step for you guys.
Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Is it a new direction? Or is more of the same? Like, from where you guys started, where are you going with your sound?
It's a lot more straightforward, I would think. Just from playing live, we've become a really good live band, and so it's got a real live feel to it.
I was looking around on the Internet for some info on you guys and saw that one of your songs was used on "Teen Mom"?
How was that experience working with the corporate cats? Was it a cool or frustrating experience? How did that all play out?
The record label we were on at the time, North Platte Records, they were kind of testing things out, you know, getting songs on TV and stuff, and I guess that one came through. But it was cool. It got some people to look into the band and that's always helpful. We just kind of let things happen and try to not get too involved with it. I mean, we were involved but…
Yeah, let the suits take care of all that BS, right?
So you were a part of North Platte Records. Where are you now?
We just signed to a new label called SQE Music a couple of months ago, and they helped us get this new record finished up.
You're coming to LouFest. You're a relatively young band, but is this your first time hitting the festival circuit?
Yeah, LouFest will be the first festival I've ever even been to. I'm just gonna walk in and play; it's gonna be fun.
How's that feel?
It's really cool. I don't really know what to expect, but I have high hopes that it’s just gonna be a blast. I'm just really excited. Also just watching other bands that I really like. A good positive music experience -- there's just nothing better than that, you know?
Who are the essay writing bands that you plan on checking out?
I really want to see Wilco. And I heard a lot about Alabama Shakes; their live show sounds like it'll be real cool. We played a couple shows with Local Natives before so hopefully they'll recognize our faces and it'll be cool to see them again.
I know you guys are on the road a lot. Do you and your mates have a crazy road trip story that stands out from the rest? Like a crazy night or something that happened on the road?
Oh man…I'm trying to think. We got a lot of 'em. [Pause] There was this one time we played in Detroit inside this house party. This guy was running for president in 10 years because he would be of age and he throws a party and gives a speech every year. Some kind of a friend of a friend knew this guy, and then the guy's like, "Yeah, cool come join the party," so we showed up. The house was abandoned, you know? It was real weird, and we walk in and he's like, "You guys wanna go shoot guns in the basement?" People were shooting guns at the garbage in the basement; the party was out of control. He gave his big speech and everybody was cheering him on, and then we played and it ended up being pretty fun. We made a lot of friends in Detroit, so it's a lot of fun to go back to back there now.
That's hilarious. Sounds pretty much like a night in Detroit.
So how did you guys all come together, all your band mates?
Just through the local music scene. We were all in different bands, and I was doing this project, and as members left I picked up [everybody] and it just ended up working out. We all kind of just knew about each other through the local bands which randomly kind of came together.
How did you get your start in music?
Actually, I have a friend named Andrew and it was summer between my junior and senior year in high school. I used to have a drum kit in my basement, and I was really into music, but I never really played. [Andrew] was like, "Hey man, we should start a band. You play drums and I play whatever," and I was like, "OK." That was one summer day, and so we went and jammed. Then he said, "Hey, I have another band that you should play drums for." And I was like, "OK, cool." And so, we just always jammed. I didn't know what I was doing, but I was always playing drums.
I just remember really loving the fact that we were jamming…. I don't think we even played a show as that band. I remember telling my girlfriend, "I think I want to do this. I want to play guitar." I had already written my first song, so I put it in the tape…thing…and took her on a drive and she was like, "That's really good, you should keep doing it!" and I said, "OK!" And after that it was like….just kept playing guitar.
And the rest is history, huh?
What does the future hold for you guys?
Just the new record and lots of touring. Just tour tour tour.
That's it, get on those festivals. We'll I'm gonna go ahead and shoot you some rapid fire questions and we'll be done here.
Coke or Pepsi?
Cats or dogs?
Waffles or Pancakes?
PC or Mac?
Cake or pie?
Paper or plastic? [Pause]
Ahhhh….Paper. Plastic? I don't -- Paper?...Paper.
And who's your favorite musician right now.
Right now? I've been listening to a lot of Waylon Jennings. Even though he's not alive.
Right on. Well that's about all I have for you. Thanks for talking to me, Kyle. Good luck to you.
OK, thanks man. See you.
Desert Noises will be performing at LouFest on Saturday, September 7. KDHX is a media partner of LouFest 2013.