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A Dirty Dozen with KATIE BURKE from KB & THE IDYLLWILDE – December 2019

| 11 December 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Nashville based soul rock band KB & THE IDYLLWILDE has released the official music video for their new single, “Madman.” Directed by front-woman Katie Burke, “Madman” is off of band’s upcoming album, I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You, due to release February 14, 2020. KB & The Idyllwilde is a soul-rock band based in Nashville, TN, led by high octane vocalist Katie Burke. Her lyrical content deals in the offbeat and the ugly; the extremes of love, sex, death and pain.” We get Katie to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

This might sound lame. My favorite goddamn part of this song, beyond the obvious super groove and soulfulness of it, is in the second verse. Rachel Crick is the most talented fiddle player I’ve ever met and she is so emotive and smart when she does passes. While tracking overdubs for this song, Evan Sieling and I, were in the control room, while Rachel was doing passes and I hear her make this kettle noise, as if it was about to blow! She’s so intuitive, little things like this make me believe in the spirit of creativity actually being a shared thing once more people get involved. I couldn’t stop laughing. It was genius. I talk about the players I use as “laugh out loud good”. You know that feeling when someone is so amazing it makes you break open with joy? Rachel gives that to me every time she plays. That kettle sound encompassed all of my goddamn relationships my whole life. It captured this song perfectly, as it is so much about that BIG COME UP and waiting for the SAD AF come down. You keep assuming something will end, and it will. But the “madman” in this song is trying to convince our hero that he’s okay with her being out of her mind, and he ain’t going anywhere! When Rachel was done with that pass I told her I needed it on that second verse exactly when the lyrics say, “We’re hot as an oven with the temp on high and broke”, then I asked her to do the “come down” or “deflation” noise when the next lyric hits “You ain’t run yet, but I don’t suppose you won’t”…just to play with the idea of the “come up” and “come down” of being in love. Small stuff like this makes being in the studio super exciting. I love belting out stuff and rocking all day sure, but these little nuances make me so happy to be alive and making music and telling actual stories through sound. The story of “Madman” though, is not only about not being able to receive love, but truly, its about any overkill experience. Perfectionism, obsession, whatever. Not thinking you’re enough, and thinking someone must be nuts to think that you are enough.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

What got me into music? I don’t have a moment. It feels like parts of me were activated slowly by music and certain sounds. I have been dancing to Michael Jackson since I could walk. Even if it was just impulses firing in my legs etc. I wasn’t even physically dancing half the time, but I could see movement and feel it in my legs and what I would do if I wasn’t afraid. I always grooved to Michael, and I would listen on tape players that I’d steal from my sister and brother when they weren’t home. I just always loved laying on the ground in my living room growing up. I would have my arms over my eyes and feel music play through the stereo into the ground, into my back and body. I guess that was when I was like 10 or 12? That activated a soul sense of music in me. Then when I heard Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Track 7, that sitar… I couldn’t believe sounds like that existed. It felt like I remembered some part of me. Later my voice was activated and my family forced me into choir which I LOVED. Which was so incredible to blend sounds from me, with sounds from others. Magic. Then “The Color Purple” happened, and when I saw Shug Avery sing “God’s trying to Tell You Something” to her estranged father, I was set free. I was crying and screaming and singing and laughing watching that movie ending. I still don’t consider myself a musician. That may be a self-saboteur voice, but truly, I believe I’m an actor and a poet who uses sound as a vehicle for expression.  Music isn’t music to me the way it might be to someone else. I mean, besides the obvious, that nothing is the same to anyone. But, its not numbers or even craftsmanship at most times, its really very visceral and confusing and lovely to me and my body; but it contorts me and haha its just crazy. Just watch a live show. The word musician to me feels like a person that knows what they’re doing. Sometimes I believe I’m just an animal looking for ways to howl and get what it needs.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Yes, so Michael Jackson, The actress Carol Burnette, System of a Down, the film The Color Purple, Robert Johnson, Nat King Cole, The Beatles, Tracy Chapman, Ani Difranco, Janis Jopin, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin. These are all my heroes. I don’t really enjoy live shows. Like I described earlier, I love experiencing music very personally on the ground, or in my ears, or cooped up in my car. Its so personal. But these are my most notable hero pieces of art or bands that speak to me.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Haha, please see above question for this answer.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Okay, this might be breaking the rules, but I would want to collaborate with Justin Timberlake & Timbaland. I know that’s two people, also, kind of unlikely when you consider the music I make, but they’ve been a unit before & I freaking love them. I think they’re playfulness and craftsmanship is something that hits a nostalgic place for me. I love old Pop music. I’ve always wanted to play in the clay of music the way the pop genre gets to. I would 100% head into one of Tim’s studios and play with him & JT for hours.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I used to say when I was looking for band mates The Idyllwilde is like, ” Jack White, DMB, & Aretha Franklin just played a show together” that’s the feeling you’re left with after listening to the music. I don’t think anyone has ever been off base when describing my voice. I love when people include Beth Hart and Janis Joplin in the mix, that makes me happy and grateful.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Again, I’d rather use the word artist here since I reserve the word musician, for players who have expertise in notes and scales etc. But I’d say the best part about being an artist, is making the thing. My church is making things. The listening between me and GD and hearing what comes next or just being led to sounds, then words, then full adventure of beginning, middle and end. That’s where I’m the most lit. Then on stage, its another set of ears somewhere else in my body being led to execute, and if I’m thinking, that sucks. haha so the purest best part for me is in the making.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I work with hired guns but we’re all friends and laugh a lot while we get the job done. I love my new band mates very much. Rachel is the fiddle player and we have artist dates where we talk about life and love and walking through it all with grace. Adam Uttz plays drums and he’s all about Anime and the most positive human I’ve EVER MET. Orilious Banks is the greatest guitar player I’ve ever worked with. He’s so humble and loves learning and is the quickest study EVER! I think all of us love learning and listening and that’s why we get along. We also believe in kindness and that takes the cake.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I was in the Black Keys music video “GO” and the day of that shoot, I walked up to a guy I saw waiting outside of the house they we were about to film in. The filming hadn’t begun yet,  and we were all getting carted to set. I see this guy who’s cute and sitting alone, I thought he looked bored so I said in my British accent that I typically jokingly talk in with strangers, “Hello darling, how are you?” He laughed and answered “I’m well, thank you, how are you?”. I sat down next to him and said, “Just fine. What are you doing today with the shoot?” He laughed again and replied, “You know, I’m not really sure…” I took a step back and realized who I was talking to– Me: “You’re Dan Auerback, aren’t you.” Dan: “Yeah.” Me: “Goddamnit.” and we laughed. He went on to listen to rough mixes of their new record on his phone. It was awesome. I felt so ridiculous but also I realized he was probably so relieved that I didn’t approach him half-stepping and awkward, that kind of energy is so exhausting. So it only got awkward after cause then I started thinking I should propose to him. But I didn’t have a ring, and so, I let it go and we had a great day.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

If I didn’t have this ferocity to make stuff and share it, I would be a farmer or spiritual dweller living simply. I love work. I love the earth. I love being outside celebrating life. I play music and write a lot outside, it makes so much more sense to me. Music is in the ground and air where all sound begins and reverberates to and from us. The idea of a family or community that enriches soil together and wakes and eats and laughs and builds things together makes me so happy.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I don’t have real regrets. I was an addict for 15 years. That’s probably not on everybody’s most desired list; but that suffering has brought me so much freedom now that its turned on its head. That life has served me with endless insights and stories that make me a better artist, friend and human. So, haha no, I wouldn’t change a thing.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

There are hundreds. But today, “Smokestack Lightning” by Howlin’ Wolf. This song is just church. This is pure knowing and being led, and to have been in that room with him would just have been a dream. I love the sounds in the room and his voice. It sounds like we’re on a road or a train to hell. Like an outro of one life, into an intro of another. But there’s a celebration about it, an exaltation of what is. That voice. It has an idea, but it has no way knowing exactly what its going to do, until its done. I love that. Howlin’ Wolf is a joker: Unpredictable, captivating, and you got no idea what side he’s on. That’s how the best of the world works.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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