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    An Interview with Kyle Pieloch

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    East Coast Independent Musician, Kyle Pieloch Releases Self-Titled Album, “PIELOCH”  on April 1st.

    Wayne, Pennsylvania based drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter Kyle Pieloch is set to release his self-titled album, PIELOCH on April 1, 2021. The album consists of eleven songs which were hand selected by Kyle from his extensive musical repertoire. Over the past decade, Kyle has blossomed from a passionate drummer to a full-blown composer, fusing his original arrangements with some of his most personal writing. Each track on the album feels entirely separate from the others, showcasing Kyle’s deep knowledge of musical genres such as Folk, Blues, and early-Alternative.

    With the help of a few other Wayne-based musicians, including Matty McCann and David Koster of Muskrat Flats, Kyle was able to put together a Limited-Edition album that is sure to deliver a visually appealing, and truly unique listening experience for the audience. Last week, Live Music News & Review had the pleasure of chatting with Kyle about the album, and what went into making it his best one yet.

    LMNR: How did music become such a big part of your life?

    KP: Growing up, I used to love to draw, and then my parents were kinda like, “Well, you wanna do art? You wanna do music?” And I was like, “I wanna do both.” And so, I did the art thing and then in fourth or fifth grade I was in Jazz Band. I played the saxophone, and I was terrible at it. I really could not get my mind around it. But the one thing that struck me as a little kid was the feeling of everyone doing their part. At the time, maybe it was rudimentary, but to me in fourth grade, it was like, “I’m doing my part, and this person over here is playing their part and it just all comes together in this big noise.” So, that was a really cool feeling for me; to feel part of an arrangement or something bigger than myself. After that, I couple of years went by and I was doing my drawing, and then we moved. I’m originally from New York, and my parents moved to Jersey. This was about 1987, so like all teenagers are, I was curious. I’m the kind of person who would go up in the attic and go through boxes and stuff. I was in the basement one day, and we had not fully unpacked yet so there were boxes everywhere. And I saw this black guitar case, and I thought, “Oh this is interesting.” Mind you, I had never played anything like that; it was just saxophone for two years and that was it. I opened it up, and it was incredible, it was a Gretsch guitar. Nowadays they go for like $2,000 but it was my Dad’s, and he didn’t really play. I think once a year he would bust it out and try to play it and we would all laugh. But inside this case, there was an old Mel Bay book, which I think everyone learns from at some point. So, I started to teach myself with this little book and I just fell in love with the guitar. I also had other interest, and that kinda led to drums about two years later. But I think learning the guitar and learning chords, I found that I was more of a rhythm guy.

    LMNR: What kinds of interests were leading you into drumming at the time?

    KP: Initially, it was this really intrinsic passion for rhythm and drive, and kind of being my own rhythm section. But at the time, I think I was 16, I didn’t sing, I didn’t even talk to anyone because I was very shy. I also grew up on bands that were not all about 20-minute solos, more or less in a pop structure. Bands like R.E.M. and The Smiths were very rhythmic, also very melbodic in their guitar playing. And then I think I just was in love with drums, because in a way, there’s no wrong notes. You can tune a drum set, but you’re kinda just tapping and hitting things. It’s so visceral, and you can just start playing right away and create something right on the spot. Whereas another instrument, like the bass or guitar, you have to know how to fret and hold it.

    LMNR: How would you say you transitioned from drumming to writing your own lyrics and singing?

    PK: As the years went on, I took lessons and I started to read drum music and whatnot. And I thought, “Okay, well I’ll just be a drummer in New Jersey, I’ll just sell myself as a drummer.” And then I met a couple of friends, and at the time, everything was a lot less digital. It was through flyers, record stores, CD shops and stuff like that. And I started my own band, and I was on drums initially, but at a certain point I was like, “Hey guys, can I play guitar maybe?” And they were like, “Sure,” because we would always switch things up. We were A La Sonic Youth or something, where they just kinda switched things. I really liked playing guitar in an ensemble, and it really brought me back to when I played saxophone in the Jazz Band. So, we were a band for about two years or so, and I was mainly playing guitar so that’s where I really strengthened my rhythm. Then I joined another band as a guitar player, and this went on for a while, but I was really getting stuck. One thing I always say is, “I only play guitar so I can sing,” and it’s not the other way around for me. I played lead guitar on an album for another rock band, but I was starting to get really stifled. Even though I enjoyed that interaction, it was not really my cup of tea. I wanted to write my own stuff and my own arrangements. I wanted to change keys or get into a little more technical stuff; even just throw out the rule book and just make weird things. That band came to a close in 2014 or so, and ya know, life happens! My son was born in 2003, so I was a stay-at-home Dad, which was awesome. And I think a ten-year span went by where I was pretty low-key. I think I might have played out here and there, but I was pretty content with being a full-time Dad. And in the interim, being at home was great because my son brought me a lot of inspiration. What’s funny is that when some people have kids, they go into a phase where they make an album from that. The songs I was writing were not great, even though they came from a place of love for my son as a little baby. But they were like really sappy.

    LMNR: What was the best one you came up with?

    PK: At the time, I think I was recording on all cassettes, so I probably burned a bunch of those. It was just terrible! But around 2007, this movie came out, The Departed. There’s a line in that movie where the villain meets the protagonist, and there’s a Priest in this scene who says, “Pride comes before the fall.” That movie just kinda sparked something in me, because I grew up Catholic and kind of slipped out of that, but I wanted to see where my life could go outside of that sort of ‘strict jacket.’ I started writing just for myself, and it really changed me because I wasn’t having to write for my son or a band. I was writing things for myself, like how I felt or what I was going through. So, in 2007 I actually began to write and to sing too., which is interesting because I don’t think of myself as a singer. But here we are with a fully realized album!

    LMNR: Year-wise, how long has this album been in the works?

    PK: For these songs: a good thirteen years or so, but it’s nothing strange to me. It’s kind of cheesy, but in my mind, I was imagining sending them to a venue and I was gonna make an EP initially with like five songs to kinda showcase a folk song, maybe something bluesy, a pop song. I liked when each song on a record has a certain feel to it, and not just all rock, or jazz, or blues. So, this album represents a really good cross section of what I’ve been up to these ten, twelve years or so.

    LMNR: When we reviewed your album, we sensed a lot of The Smiths and some similar 80’s pop rock bands, and it really seems like you draw a lot from the musical influences of your youth.

    PK: That’s very on-point. There’s a song on the album called “BOATS” and I originally came up with a melody in 1998 or so, and I just had it in my mind, and then I had these lyrics and kind of just ended up revisiting that. The lyrics in the coda section at the end are new, but the melody and verses were written so long ago. I think sometimes things just kinda stick in there and I just can’t shake it, so if it still sounds cool after thirteen years, I’ll use it!

    LMNR: It’s always good to keep those things. You never know when you’re gonna need those little snippets.

    PK: Yeah, and I’m notorious for working on something for three or four hours and then accidentally erasing it, or I’ll have an idea for a chord progression and I never remember it the next day. So, I have to work on that a little bit.

    LMNR: Has the pandemic had an effect on you as an artist?

    PK: For me, there were several family members lost to COVID, and I slowly saw my bubble start to burst. What was this macro thing was suddenly becoming so micro, almost like it was closing in. I remember being at work and hearing reports of people in Italy who were vanishing, and it was so devastating to me. It brought me back to 9/11 a little bit with people just vanishing off the face of the earth, and it’s just so beyond you. How I really dealt with the pandemic was by working on this album, and I have a couple of friends who are really supportive, and they’ve helped me technically, or through a mentorship. I also tried to spend time with family as much as I could, and I’m fortunate to have a job where I work outside so I haven’t been furloughed or anything. But I wrote a couple of new songs and keeping up on my drumming, but other than that, laying low. I know there’s a bunch of Open Mic Nights, but I just haven’t gotten around to it, but I would like to try that. There’s a club here in Wayne, Pennsylvania called the 118, which is fairly popular with musicians. About a year ago, there was a lot of activity with musicians playing outside in a tent across the street, but I’m kind of a homebody right now. I need to get out, I think, as much as I can imagine other people do. But in the meantime, I’m just writing a lot.

    LMNR: It’s clear that you’re a deeply poetic writer and that you definitely put a lot of yourself forward in your songs.

    PK: Thank you. The one thing I’ll admit to is that I’m very emotional and I stand behind every lyric. And these are things that I’ve experienced, and hopefully things other people can relate to. But it’s interesting you say that, because before I could even think about writing, I would just make these silly little poems, but it blossomed into wanting to hone my craft.

    We cannot wait for the release of your album, PIELOCH which is set to release April 1st.

    PK: The really cool thing about this album that I am proud of, is that it is Limited Edition. There’s only gonna be 1,000 made, they’re all gonna be hand stamped, and I designed the sleeve myself. I really didn’t want more garbage in the world, so it was kinda like origami because I didn’t want to use tape or Velcro, so it’s just one piece of paper folded. It’s a cool CD and there’s a hidden track on the record, so hopefully it has some value to the listener.

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