With so much happening in Seattle's bustling, vibrant music scene these days, how do you even know where to start? Allow the highly trained culture curators of Seattlemag.com to help with Band of the Week. This week, we catch up with David Einmo from Head Like a Kite, who tells us about the new, creepy project and a show this Friday at the High Dive.
Band name: Head Like A Kite
Members: David Einmo and musical friends (including a furry panda)
In three sentences, what's the story of your band? I formed Head Like A Kite in 2006 as a way to play and record with various musical guests, and explore the creative process without being tied to a rigid formula. It's been an exciting journey of touring the US, Japan, Guam and playing festivals like SXSW, Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, Capitol Hill Block Party, and CMJ, guesting on MTV, and learning that the process of creating is even more rewarding than the original goal. Along the way, I've met some great friends and together we've busted genres and mixed an eclectic stew of cinematic electronic, indie rock, hip-hop krautrock.
Tell us about the new project (themes, inspiration, personnel, etc.): The new release, No Two Walk Together, is a departure from the previous party anthems. I've always been inspired by film and paintings. When we recorded the first album in Chicago, I spent a lot of time walking through the halls of the Art Institute of Chicago taking in all the historic paintings, and it had a big impact on the recordings. For No Two Walk Together, I wanted to make a more cinematic album. More of a soundtrack that could tell a story without words. Something sonically emotive and contemplative. It's ambient and lush with horror soundscapes that hopefully spark feeling in listeners. My hope was to make something creepy that somehow becomes alluring and beautiful.
Cody Hurd and I made a short horror film by the same title that was inspired by the music from this release. I recorded and mixed these tracks with producer/drummer Brian Deck from Red Red Meat and Califone in Chicago. I kept seeing his name on the credits of albums that I loved (Modest Mouse's Moon Over Antarctica, various Califone records, Iron & Wine, Secret Machines, etc.) so on a whim I emailed him to see if he'd be into recording together. He agreed, and we became fast friends over a few bottles of scotch. It's inspiring to record with a hero.
In the short film, Zera Marvel stars with Taryn Rene Dorsey and Tim Held. I'm just bloody. On the music, I play most of the instruments with Taryn Webber on viola/cello and Brian on drums and percussion. I loved every moment of the process. I really focused on embracing the process because I can't control what happens with the music and short film once it's released. But I can do everything in my power to enjoy the creative process and make it rewarding.
What does being an artist/musician/band in Seattle mean to you? Seattle is unique in that there are many local organizations that help build up the music community and its artists. Stations like KEXP that are hugely influential internationally put significant resources into championing Seattle bands and artists. That type of power impacts a local music scene. It encourages musical growth and expression that leads to more mainstream stations like 107.7 The End highlighting Seattle musicians on the Locals Only show. We've got resources like Seattle's Office of Film and Music, EMP [now, MoPOP] and local artists playing nearly everyday on a stage at Sea-Tac airport, and various local TV shows like ArtZone, Spud Goodman and Band In Seattle. Then of course there are all the local bookers and promoters who go out of their way to build up new bands. This type of exposure brings more attention to Seattle bands and creates a vital music scene. I'm proud to be part of that.
What BIG question should we ask, and what's the answer? Do musicians have an obligation to use their platform for social issues? I think the most important thing is to be authentic and genuine. If an artist feels strongly about an issue, then it's important to vocalize it and use your position to impact change. I suspect we'll see more of this happening over the next several months as we prepare for a Trump presidency (two words I thought I'd never say together).
What’s next? We'll be playing a release show at the High Dive this Friday, November 18, to celebrate the new HLAK and also releases from The Animals at Night and electronic artist Tim Held. It's a triple release showcase for Self Center Records. Then it's back to the studio to finish a full-length Head Like A Kite album that aims to draw more attention to mental illness and break down the stigmas. I'm hoping to work with some multimedia artists to make this next album more of a visual art install we can set up in museums. In the meantime, I'll likely ride my bike a ton, and randomly show up in bars and play acoustic songs, too.