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A Dirty Dozen with KUWALLA – June 2020

| 12 June 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Let’s not be shy about it; our world is a hot mess right now. And rising alt rock band Kuwalla has captured our hearts with the release of their timely new single, “Just Fine.” Inspired by a difficult time in life, the new single poses the question, “I’m at the end of my rope, is it all in my head or am I better off dead?” Empathizing with the notion that life can sometimes feel like it’s personally picking on you, Kuwalla presents a song that encourages listeners to push forward even during the hardest times. A heavy topic paired with upbeat instrumentation drives their encouraging message in a way that reassures listeners that while sometimes it might feel like it, they’re not alone.” We get the band 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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Just Fine” was written as a little trick to your ears. It’s filled with happy melodies and vocals that might lift your mood, but the lyrics are about a really dark time in life. If you listen closely, “Just Fine” isn’t about saying everything is going to be alright, it’s the only thing you can tell yourself when things are at their worst. No one feels compelled to say everything is just fine when everything is actually just fine.

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

We’ve played music for so long that it’s part of who we are. Some of us are programmers, some of us are writers, some of us work at CVS. No matter where or what we’ve done or do, we have been and will continue to be musicians. It’s what we love and we’ve all been playing since we were kids.

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

It’s hard to single out one specific thing that created our identity as musicians. We became musicians based on the music of our environment. Over the last few years though, the 1975 has created some incredible art that has influenced how we write our songs.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Jimmy Eat World, and Devo.

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

Josh Homme has been connected to some of the best bands and musicians of the last 20 years, from Queens of the Stone Age to the Eagles of Death Metal, to Foo Fighters, and more. His musicianship and attitude are something we aspire as a band.

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?

When people compare us to musicians we love we don’t feel worthy, but someone once compared us to Good Charlotte. It made me want to throw a brick through their head. No offense to Good Charlotte.

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

Cooks: Marty; Gets the Drinks: Danny; First to crack out the acoustic guitars:  Brian & Kyle

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Kyle: I think when I was seeing a band named Hunny at a really small unfinished venue years ago. I first heard them when they opened for Bad Suns at a show in Orange County.  A few of the guys from Bad Suns were standing next to me in the audience while Hunny was playing and I did a double take. I was like oh damn.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Kyle: If I could no longer play, I’d teach.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Always wanted an interviewer to ask if we would headline a major music festival! Answer’s yes, by the way. The question we’re tired of answering is when people ask if we’re tired of answering questions. We’re not!

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 know if we would do anything over again, because even when things turn out shitty, you learn from it. But there was one lesson we really didn’t feel like learning. We devoted time and money into working with this producer who ended up shafting us and setting us back a year. That guy can suck it, but we became more careful about who we decide to work with as a band.

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?

Marty: Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV

Danny: Weather Report – Heavy Weather

Brian: Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

Kyle: Michael Jackson – Thriller

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

We miss shows, but because of that we miss interacting with an audience. To be honest we’ve done pretty well in making the best of the shitty situation. Figuring out how best to record quality music separately, writing songs when we’re miles apart, it’s tricky – But necessity is the mother of invention. Between COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd, we can only hope that people realize they need to get their shit together. We’re trying too.





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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