A divergent cross-over style of fusion, authenticity, spontaneity and imagination – I guess this best describes what a progressive music delivery is all about, and ‘Odysseys’, the new record from from Kyle Schaefer‘s instrumental solo act is exactly that. With an infinite room for experimentation, most of experimental music swims past the world, and we’re constantly stunned by loads of talented artists and music architects capable of pouring out through multiple channels of expression. We recently say down with Kyle Schaefer of progressive instrumental rock/metal act ARCHAEOLOGIST to talk about his new record “Odysseys”. guest collaborations with Gavin Castleton (The Dear Hunter), Yvette Young (Covet), Chris Lee (Kinetik), Sithu Aye, and Gad Gidon (The Last Of Lucy), and how things are getting cooked up.
“Odysseys“, a new instrumental EP from Kyle Schaefer’s ARCHAEOLOGIST was released on August 8th and is available at this location.
Hey Kyle! Thanks for joining us here on IDIOTEQ! You’ve recently released your new record and it’s a perfect starting point for a proper dive into your work. Please drop us a couple of words about your project and your musical background. Was composing always in your blood, or was it something that grew out of your experiences?
Thanks for having me! Yup, I just released my new EP “Odysseys” a few weeks ago. Archaeologist has been my solo project for about 4 years now, but with this new release I’m starting to move towards including other friends and guest artists in the music as well. I mainly do guitar and vocals, although Odysseys is all instrumental for a change.
Composing is definitely not something I was naturally good at, I’ve just been doing it for a long time now. Some of my older stuff was very bad haha, but for whatever reason I stuck with it.
Tell us a bit more about this new EP and how it has changed your creative approach and experience with composing.
Sure! Making an instrumental Archaeologist EP was something I had never planned on until I randomly wrote the track “Archipelago” one day, and decided it would be better off without the vocals. At first I thought maybe I could just write a few more tracks for a quick release in between my regular Vol I / II / III EP series, but instead it turned into this huge project that took about a year and a half to finish. Looking back, I’m so glad I did it!
There were 2 main differences in terms of the composition – one was that intentionally leaving out the vocals gave me room for stronger melodies in the guitars, and for more lead parts in general. The other difference was working in the guest features, since I already had each guest artist in mind when I wrote their respective tracks. The goal was to give them each something that they would be comfortable playing over in their signature styles.
Oh, for sure. Ther new record features guest appearances from Yvette Young, Sithu Aye, Gavin Castleton of THE DEAR HUNTER, and more. How did yoou team up with them and how did these collaborations transformed or upgraded your original concepts of certain tracks? Also, how do you balance between keeping the core of your own ideas and letting it flow in someone else’s hands?
I just contacted them directly to ask! Most of them were just over Facebook messages, but a few like Yvette Young and Chris Lee are local, so I was able to talk to them in person. For Gavin, I actually contacted him before he joined THE DEAR HUNTER, so maybe his guest solo policy is different now that he’s with a big band haha.
I think every guest artist brought a very cool and unique touch to their songs that I wouldn’t have been able to match on my own! Managing the input from the other musicians was actually pretty easy, since I wrote the songs all the way through on my own before I sent them over. I just left an empty solo section for each player, told them where their part should go, and let them fill it in however they wanted. Gavin actually went beyond that by filling in a bunch of other keyboard parts throughout the rest of the song, but I loved the parts he came up with so there were no issues there. Everyone did a great job!
Ok, so how will this new EP translate into a live setting? Have you already booked some shows for the coming months?
No shows yet, although I am in the early stages of trying to get a live band together. I would probably start by trying the songs without guest solos first, since some of the guest parts get pretty crazy!
Yup. Plus, in general, your compositions seem to be particularly varied. How would you see your line of development as a composer from back when you started to now and where do you want to take it in your next steps?
One thing I’ve started doing more over time is incorporating different modes and types of keys between songs. Similarly, understanding how to mix in non-diatonic chords has also been very important for my writing. Despite what music theory naysayers might believe, it really helps to be aware of that stuff, and I think it can make an album sound much more colorful and varied. Hopefully this doesn’t sound too snobby or anything, but nowadays I hardly find myself listening to anything that stays in basic major/minor keys the whole time. (There are still exceptions of course!!)
As for the future, I have a lot of ideas for how my next release might sound, but I’ll have to wait and see how I’m feeling later on! I can definitely say though that it’ll have vocals, and will be much heavier than Odysseys overall.
How much do you think you have learned from other progressive composers? Do you still feel that one must always pay attention to the examples and inspirations of the masters?
I’ve learned from other composers more than anything! I just think it’s important to find your own ways to take influence from others, so that your stuff doesn’t sound like an obvious imitation of someone else.
What artists offer a good example of such craft?
I think anyone with a unique sound must be doing a good job of this. Everyone has their own influences, but if you can listen to someone’s album without recognizing exactly which bands they’re inspired by, then they’re probably implementing those influences in a more creative and personal way.
Ok Kyle, so what’s up next for ARCHAEOLOGIST?
The next step is to finish assembling the live band and hopefully play some shows! While that’s going on, I’ll also be writing new stuff for my next release. Odysseys took an unusually long time to make, so I’m hoping to get the next one out faster.
Great. Thanks so much for your time. Feel free to drop your final words and take care. Cheers from Warsaw!
Thanks a lot!!