KINDLING doesn’t sound anything like Stephen and Andy’s original band AMPERE (Ebullition Records, No Idea Records), but more like the sort of thing that they had been listening to throughout the years. “Blown-out wall-of-noisy indie pop” they say, but you could actually describe it in many different ways. KINDLING’s relatively new 12″ called “Galaxies” (No Idea Records) introduces a smart mixture of early raw shoegaze and doomy dream pop with a punk rock edge. These guys gave new impetus to ‘indie’ and and I am super proud to give you my new interview with the band, shedding some more light on KINDLING, their local independent music scene, inspirations and more! Oh, fans of AMPERE will find something to appreciate, as well. Find the full interview below.
Catch the band live tomorrow, April 29th at Laughing Dog Bicycles in Amherst, Massachusetts.
“KINDLING began in early 2014 in a spare room of an Easthampton, MA house when Stephen Pierce asked Gretchen Williams to contribute to a throwaway fuzz pop song that he had written and recorded over the preceding hour. The next day, they did the same thing, and then again the day after that. After about a week and a half, they had completed the “Spare Room” demo and set to work on a debut 7″. Instead of spontaneous compositions, though, the duo took their time and worked considerably harder on the four songs that comprise the “Spike & Wave” EP. Inspired by the kindness shown by the people who managed to hear the 7″, a full band was assembled, bringing in drummer Andy Skelly – who has played with Stephen in DIY punk mainstays AMPERE for over a decade – and bassist Andrew Farr. Having blossomed from their modest indiepop beginnings, KINDLING as a full band embodies equal parts delicate beauty and crushing heaviness, awash in a sea of fuzz, reverb, and volume.”
Hey there guys! How are you? How’s Massachusetts doing this fine spring? (I changed “winter” to “spring” bc I took so long)
SP: We’re doing very well, thanks! Spring came early, or winter never really came, or something to that end. Either way, the weather has been pretty nice, for New England.
It’s so nice to hear Stephen and Andy in a calmer reincarnation like KINDLING. How does it feel to deliver this different type of sonic experience? Does it somehow change you as artists?
SP: I’m not sure that it necessarily changes us, but it’s satisfying to be doing something like KINDLING. I’ll speak for myself: I’m happy to be playing guitar in a band again & playing music that’s more in line with the sort of stuff that I listen to. It’s a new set of challenges & a new way of writing, for sure. Any change that came, for me anyway, was because of a lot of life changes away from music, I think.
What was going through your head before you started playing together? Do you feel like there’s been a natural maturation process in the area of picking up this dreamy, fuzzy indie pop rock niche? Tell me more about your idea to create this particular type of music.
SP: Well, I took a long while off from playing guitar in between AEROSOLS (the last band I played guitar in) & KINDLING – like, didn’t touch one for a few years. I guess all these songs and whatever will come beyond this is just the result of whatever was building up in my head in that period, and mostly reflective of where I’m at in life. That time away kind of wiped the slate clean, in a way. I learned a lot about working hard in other areas of life in that time, and listening. Like, purely listening and absorbing. I think all that had a pretty profound effect on what kind of musician, what kind of guitarist & songwriter (and maybe what kind of person) I had become by the time I was ready to start playing again. Hopefully KINDLING isn’t too much of a drastic departure in feel from all the stuff we’ve done in our pasts. I suppose it may be musically, but hopefully it’s evident that it all, you know, still very much comes from the heart and feels – to me, anyway – urgent as any hardcore band.
How do you keep dipping into your personal creative wells and find new things that excite you and encourage you to create new music?
SP: There are certain records that I can listen to that will always give me the drive to write something new, like RAMONES records, the first three WIRE records, stuff like that. Things that don’t necessarily sound like our band, but in whom I find an infinite sense of possibility and inspiration. Mostly, though, I’m almost always holding a guitar when I’m sitting on the couch in front of the TV so I’m ready for whenever a riff or song comes.
Do you think your personal goals as musicians and artists have changed over the past years?
SP: Maybe. I don’t know. I mean, the goal is always in motion, you know? Always being pushed farther and farther, advanced when you accomplish something you set out to. When we set out, when it was just Gretchen & myself, the goal was just to write a few simple broken pop songs. For me, as it goes forward, I just want to keep having that feeling that comes with actualizing the best song I’ve ever written. If I can keep feeling that every now and again, and people seem to be at least nominally into it, I’m content.
Do you like getting older? :)
SP: Wait, are we old? I don’t feel like I’m old.
Haha, ok, so let’s dig deeper into your inspirations and local environment. How does your local art community inspire you guys?
SP: Western MA is – musically speaking – great. A lot of my friends are playing in some of my favorite bands, not just locally but in general. Beyond that, our friend Justin Pizzoferrato is here & he’s such an incredibly gifted engineer that we’ve been so fortunate to have been able to work with. I’m really not, like, a person with their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in ‘the scene’ or whatever, but it seems like even more is happening beyond what I even know, I’m sure some of that is pretty cool, too. It’s a college area, so there’s never a shortage of, like, young energy and drive, and there are always going to be people making shit happen.
Are there some exciting new projects and artists that you’d like to mention here?
SP: There are a lot of New England friends making awesome music, and I feel like if I start listing I’d ramble on for minutes and just leave someone out and feel bad & awkward about it. We’ve played a whole LOT of our shows with local buds CALIFORNIA X, and we’re always really happy to get to watch them play. We did a weekend with Harm by Infinity GirlINFINITY GIRL around when Galaxies came out and fell in luv with them as people and hope that they’ll do some light travel with us soon. Jeff from KINDLING plays in another band called GRIST who are very good, and Aaron, who’s been playing bass with us for the past few weeks, is in LANDING, who are about to put out a new record called “Complekt” that’s also awesome. Andy drums on this new record coming out by DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD, too – that’s also a great one.
Ok, so you have another 12’’ and a full length coming out in 2016, is that right? Tell us more about this new set of tunes and your plans to support it live on tour. Can we expect some European shows next year?
SP: Hopefully Europe is in our future sooner than later. May not happen ’til ’17, but it’s on the list, for sure. 2016 has a lot going on for us, yeah: It will see a full-length record called “Everywhere Else” which will be on No Idea, and another 12″ EP that we recorded at the same time as the LP – the way it worked out, it’s the poppier songs of the session – that will be coming out on Echo Canyon & Adagio830 in EU, Old Flame in the US. Maybe a few other low-key things here & there & in between. We’re gonna keep getting out whenever we can to wherever we can, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there were a tour announced sometime sooner or later.
Awesome!. Ok, so finally, I simply have to touch base with AMPERE and your plans with this ferocious musical ensemble. What are your future plans?
SP: Who knows! We’ve talked about doing some more, but I suppose for now we’re waiting for whatever comes along next and inspires us to get the gears moving again. Meghan & Will are staying busy in LONGINGS these days.
Alright then. I believe this was a quality interrogation and it’s time to say goodbye. Would you like to add anything else before we sign off?
SP: Nah, not particularly. Just a “thank you” for the questions!
Thanks so much for your time and please let’s get in touch about your future records and live dates. It’ll be a great pleasure to share some cool news on KINDLING through IDIOTEQ pages. Thanks again and cheers from frigid Warsaw!
SP: Anytime! Cheers from rainy Easthampton!