Today, I am so thrilled to introduce you all to one of my absolute favorite band's, kindlewood. Not only do I have the privilege of knowing these three, Kelci Smith, Galen Smith and Jamison Lyman, in real life, but their music is a treasure in my collection. Their self-described "dream folk-rock" style and the romanticism in their lyrics is gorgeous. If you haven't, head over their website to listen to their tunes, but before you do, let's get to know them a little bit better!
Hi, kindlewood! Thanks for joining us today! Let's start by talking about how kindlewood came to be, and where the name kindlewood originated from?
kindlewood's beginnings are very humble. Galen and I didn't have much experience with writing folkish music. Haha, in fact we had none. But for whatever reason, Galen started fiddling around on the guitar in a way I had never heard before. This sparked something in me, and I started jotting down lyrics and singing melodies I never thought I could or would produce. We've come a LONG way since the song "Sea Glass & Shooting Stars", but it's a song that brings me and Galen back to that searching, hopeful place.
After we wrote that song, we decided we needed to write more and officially call ourselves "kindlewood". It's a name that came during an unexpected time - I was at work doing something tedious, and I was thinking about our future and what that was going to bring. We knew we wanted our music to inspire people and bring change, and the word "kindlewood" just sort of popped into my brain. Kindling starts fire, and it's made out of little tiny bits of wood. We didn't really sit on the name very long before we decided to make it official. It just fit.
After moving back to the DC area (my home) after being in Dallas for a short time, we started playing shows at a local Border's bookstore. We were nervous and awkward and trembly, but the people were always very gracious and happy to hear us play. This Border's also had an exceptionally talented and friendly giant on staff (Jamison) as the cafe manager. We had no idea he was also a musician and a great one at that. We ended up playing a co-bill, Galen and I as kindlewood and Jamison as A Tale Of. To make a long story short, we hit it off and it didn't take us much time to figure out that we were all meant to make music together. -KELCI
Can you tell us a bit about your musical background?
I grew up playing music at church. At the time, I was into punk/ska bands like Slick Shoes, MxPx, Ghoti Hook, and Five Iron Frenzy, and my playing style definitely reflected that. Luckily, I had sisters that helped me find the music I still hold dear to this day. Music like Radiohead and Sigur Ros inspired my solo project, A Tale Of, and that ultimately led me to Galen and Kelci and kindlewood as we know it. -JAMISON
While growing up in Minneapolis, I was a member of the Metropolitan Boys' Choir. In high school I joined the worship band for my youth group. My involvement with church music continued through high school and a year or so post-college. I suppose during that time I was also inspired by the beautiful music (such as Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue") in the classic cartoons I regularly patronized (such as Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Felix the Cat and the Pink Panther), the oldies I'd pretended to play guitar to with tennis rackets with my older brother, and the lone moments I shared with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder in my bedroom while they spun on my CD player. It hasn't really been until the last two and a half years that I've really begun to revisit and fall in love with these influences as well as learn how they have played a huge part in fostering my love for music. -GALEN
Will you describe to me your style, "dream folk-rock"?
As a band, we were having trouble accurately describing our sound in one or two genres. Because kindlewood was made up of a group that has folk and ethereal/ambient playing styles and writing tendencies , “dream folk-rock” embraced everything we love about our style of music and music yet unheard. -JAMISON
Tell us about some musicians who you admire and inspire you.
Joni Mitchell, Cat Power, Cat Stevens, (I like cats), Feist, and Classic Rock radio. I really enjoy and admire strong songwriting abilities - something that I'm still learning and working on. That's why I love Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens. Both for completely different reasons. Cat Power and Feist are two artists that really got me LOVING music. Their strong vocal capabilities inspire me to push myself and try harder. And who doesn't love Classic Rock Radio? As a group, we pull from a pretty wide variety of musical inspiration, but it makes sense and makes us who we are. - KELCI
kindlewood has overcome some big challenges. I'm thinking of when all of your gear was stolen when you were on tour last year. How did you overcome that as a new band, and what have you learned?
Ha. Well, we cried (bawled is probably more accurate) and asked, "why?" a lot. I think that was the first step (i.e., we didn't try to pretend like all was well and good). We thought for sure that we were going home (about $7500 worth of stuff was stolen including ALL of our merchandise). Our sadness, however, was met with an incredible amount of support in an extremely short period of time. Ashamed that we left so much in the car to begin with, we hit the Internet to tell people what happened and ask them to send us money. Armed only with a donation button on our website and very doubtful about our ability to get enough money to continue, we raised about $4800 in 48 hours. It was Halloween weekend and Guitar Center was having a sale. Between used gear and sale items, we were able to replace everything but our shruti box (which we had to rush order online). Support came in heavy and from the most unexpected places. That gave us that final push to be able to overcome the event.
What have we learned? Well, even if you're pulling into a well-lit, camera-ridden parking lot at 3:30 AM, you should still take all valuables out of your car. Secondly, while having "Likes" on Facebook is nice, they provide no real indication of the true support and love out there. Finally, for every selfish, entitled individual out there, there's exponentially more loving, giving people in the world. - GALEN
What was the inspiration behind Desiderium?
Desiderium sort of pieced itself together during a pretty tough and exciting year. The main theme woven throughout the album is relationships with people. The learning and growing and heartbreaking, but loving-in-spite-of, parts. I like to look at the album as a journey a group of people are taking from start to finish. They are traveling by foot and by river, stopping places along the way, meeting people, staying with family, going through hard times and gleaning wisdom.
How do you balance your music with life, marriage, etc..?
It's kinda cray cray right now. Kelci and I moved to Baltimore and now live an hour away from Jamsion and his wife, Jenny. Jamison is working a couple of jobs, Kelci is in school and working and running a blog (Tweedle Hum), and I am currently looking for work as well as working part-time. We've managed it all by sharing our calendar via iCloud. This has been huge as we've been able to make decisions on accepting/declining shows and setting up practice/recording time because we know each other's availability. Additionally, we've set pretty basic standards for managing everything. One such standard is "family first." I believe this has been extremely healthy for us and when coupled with consistent clear communication the balancing act becomes almost seamless. - GALEN
What can people expect to see at your live performances?
Like a lot of bands, we try very hard to make our live performances special and memorable. A lot of people don’t know this, but we all play multiple instruments live, all at once. We like that kindlewood is small in size, but try to create as much noise as possible. With 3 part harmonies, guitars, a drum set scattered around the stage, and a lot of other instruments, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy our music and be entertained at our shows. - JAMISON
9) What is in the future for kindlewood?
Ideally, we will be able to make a living doing what we love to do. Other goals include being able to band together with multiple charities that serve individuals and families both domestically and abroad (those that deal with justice and hunger immediately come to mind, but we're open to others), touring overseas, and hearing our music in a movie or TV show. - GALEN
Upcoming Shows: kindlewood will be playing at the Black Cat in Washington D.C on October 4th, 2012, and at Smith College in Northampton, MA on November 8th, 2012.
To find out more information about kindlewood, check out their website, kindlewood.co.
You can also follow the band on twitter at @kindlewoodmusic, Galen on twitter at @iamgalensmith, Kelci on twitter at @tweedle_hum, Jamison on twitter at @jamisonlyman.
Get info on shows and music announcements on their Facebook page!
Behind the Scenes video of the recording of "This House":
Behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the single "This House" from kindlewood's debut LP. Features guest cellist, Josh B. Cooper. Learn more about kindlewood at www.kindlewood.co.