Hey Kendall, would you please introduce yourself to our readers? How long have you been playing music professionally and where are you from?
Hey there! I’m Kendall. I started playing guitar and writing songs when I was 22. I grew up in Detroit where there was no Meg White at the time to show me that girls could play in bands! It wasn’t until I went to college in Boston that I realized I could play too. So I guess I’m a late bloomer.
Follow the Sound is a fantastic album. You seem to write about those moments of decision, when one is unsure what path to take or what lies around the corner in life. Can you tell us if the songs are personally about you or are they fictional characters that have tickled your imagination?
I’m a terrible liar, so…yeah, the songs are a reflection of my experiences. A romanticized version of thoughts or events that I couldn’t shake from my thoughts.
You just released Dreamer’s Book. What is the difference between Sound and your new disc? How has your sound developed and how is different lyrically?
Recording Follow the Sound consisted of me jumping in and out of various studios, playing with different friends and working with different producers. It was an amazing experience, but for the next record I wanted to see what it would be like to record with the same people, a real band. Like THE BAND at Big Pink.
So on Dreamer’s Book most of the songs were recorded with a band I had been playing with for a long time. Super musicians who lived in NYC or Brooklyn. It was also produced by two good friends of mine, Al Weatherhead and two songs by Dave Derby, who also plays in Mascott.
How do you go about arranging your music? What is your approach to instrumentation and how do you come up with such fabulous melodies?
Thanks for the compliment! I just write songs as I hear them in my head. I’m heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s songwriters. I love Carol King, Bob Dylan, Francoise Hardy, The Zombies, The Byrds…
I usually arrange the songs according to the lyrics, or how good it feels to play ceratin parts over again. I believe in brevity, so usually I write in the pop form. If I’m having a hard time with an arrangement of a song, I’ll bring it to rehearsal and let the band hash it out.
What do you see as the future of Mascott? Is there going to be any touring to support Dreamer’s?
I did a short tour with The Naysayer last April and since then I’ve been a weekend warrior, playing many cities on the east coast. I hope to tour much more.
Do you have any good road stories or interesting anecdotes from the indie music scene?
I’ve been on so many tours over the years, but one thing I can say is that indie rock is generally filled with intelligent, earnest folk who love to play. And there are lots of women playing now! which is very exciting.
As an artist who is on an independent label, how do you understand your place in the independent music scene? Is it difficult to survive as an artist in that scene?
It can be hard. I have to hold down a day job, as do most musicians I know. The record industry is in peril, and it is becoming more and more difficult for fans to find small, independent artists. You have to work extra hard to make an impact. But if you do it because you love it, and not for the fame , you’re in pretty good shape. I don’t mind working, it gives the other half of my brain a much needed jolt. It can be tiring, but I made a record I’m proud of, and I release bands I’m proud of, so the pay-off is worth it.
Is there really a hair dresser named Irina?
Yes! She has a salon in Brooklyn Heights. She has no idea about the song.
Do you have any artists that you would consider influences on your work? Are there any authors that inspire you?
I love David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell. Their honesty and wit is inspiring. I am constantly inspired by other musicians. Dead and alive!
What artists are you listening to right now?
I have the new Kings of Convenience record in my ipod. My little sister just turned me on to Stereo Total. I like them. The new Naysayer record is amazing. And my Dylan record of the week is New Morning.