Kyle Lee juggles his time between a couple of North Wales-via-Liverpool bands, but finds the most catharsis in this grungy countrified outfit.
If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you say?
Pissed off, noisy alt.rock country verging on a nervous breakdown.
Have you always wanted to create music?
I haven’t necessarily always wanted to create music, but from the age of about nine I felt a strong pull towards music, and in particular the guitar. I was lucky enough to have a very supportive mum who bought me my first guitars and an older brother with taste in guitar bands, which, over time, shaped my influences and record collection.
I joined my first band when I was 14/15 and, after figuring out exactly what it is we wanted to do, I began to write my first songs. To share an idea of a song with like-minded musicians and see it take shape or follow a completely different path than you originally imagined is highly addictive and probably my favourite aspect of being in bands.
Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
Back when I was eight, Oasis were the reason for myself and a whole generation of musicians picking up a guitar and beginning the long, tortuous and joyous journey of becoming a musician. Although their live gigs were regular features in my house – taped on VHS from a mate who had Sky – I wouldn’t say this has influenced the sound of any band I have been in. Oasis were merely proof to me that some normal lads who had grown up with nothing can start a band, they can make something of themselves and they can do this with backing of the whole country.
Nirvana, and In Utero especially, spoke to me on a very personal level. Kurt’s guitar solos to me were something you couldn’t really learn, and it opened up a whole new world in guitar-playing for me and forced me to focus on how to make a guitar howl and cry with feedback and distortion. It was OK to play something different every time just as long as I was feeling it and it proved to be a very efficient way of letting off steam and getting all that teenage angst out of my system.
Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform? What does it say about you?
I’m lucky to be in more than one band, so I think it would be hard to choose one particular song and unfair on the others. For COW it’s usually Happy Birthday, our set closer. This song can last between eight and 15 minutes depending on my mood (a promoter’s worst nightmare). The final two thirds of the song consist of me taking out whatever issues I may have on that particular day on my guitar. I prefer to play noisy, discordant and unplanned guitar solos. I’d say that says a lot about me as a person and not necessarily positive things.
What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting?
It would depend from song-to-song, but I suppose my emotions do get the better of me and this is displayed in my songwriting. There’s a lot of heartache in my songs, so they are a bit of an emotional vent. I find it really hard to write songs when I’m happy and will sometimes have to pull on bad memories to finish song lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a piece of art and thought, “Fuck, I need to write a song about that”.
If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?
Young Jesus would be high on my list. I like their whole dismantling of a song structure. They’re also not shy on 20-minute songs and John Rossiter (guitar/vocals) can fucking wail and he does this when you least expect it.
Why is music important to you?
If I’m having a shit day, I’ve got some music to help process it. If I’m in a good mood, I’ve got some music to enhance that feeling. Don’t want to talk about my feelings? I’ll write a song. Music is a time machine that can take you back to any period in your life, whether that be good times or bad times. I can’t think of a single film that I like where the soundtrack isn’t as important as the cinematography.
I moved to this city purely to be around music and the bands that it has produced. I make every effort I can to watch live music on a weekly basis, which is very easy when you have the likes of Eggy Records, Sound, Deep Cuts, Capeesh, Harvest Sun and a whole host of labels, venues and promoters readily promoting the talent that this city has to offer.
COW perform at Focus Wales on 18th May as one of Bido Lito!’s selected artists.