Analogue Music | Desert Noises

Desert Noises

By Matt Conner

"Let's ruin our careers today."

Kyle Henderson credits producer Bill Reynolds' words to live by in the studio for the brave forthcoming album from Desert Noises. After some much-needed personal time away, Henderson and company—bassist Tyler Osmond and drummer Brennan Allen—are ready for a comeback with a devil-may-care attitude and newfound creativity.

As of right now, the band is also uncertain what will happen with the LP. As of press time, the band is without a label and management, and the blank slate that allowed the now-trio to musically explore like never before is also to blame for the commercial uncertainty. None of that has disheartened Henderson, however, as the new musical outlook has Desert Noises excited about the future, as unknown as it is at present.

We recently sat down with Kyle to discuss the space between albums for the young band and to hear more about the ups and downs of the band's current state.

Analogue: It's been some time since we've heard for you. Can you catch us up on where you're at musically?

Kyle Henderson: We just got out of the studio this year. We finished a record, which is kind of interesting because we don't really know what we're doing with it. We don't have a label or management anymore. We're back to square one a little bit in some ways and that's been really inspiring.

I think some people would take it the opposite way, but for us it's been inspiring to realize everything has changed. The band is now three members instead of four, but we're still trying to keep that super expansive sound, so we're trying things live that we've never done before. The record sounds way different than anything we've done, but at the same time, it'll be so easy for fans to gravitate to. We did that with Bill Reynolds...

Analogue: Oh, Band of Horses?

Kyle: Yeah, he's in Band of Horses. He and I had a writing session and really clicked so we recorded this record faster than we thought and now we've got to figure out what we're doing with it.

Analogue: As you started to write with Bill, what did you feel was shifting in you as a songwriter?

Kyle: I think there was just a lot that happened. There was a lot that happened in life and relationships and those things were really, really intense emotionally. In some ways I feel like the record has a darkness, but there's also this light coming to some realization that there's nothing else I can do.

I've tried so many other things and the depression and the longing and the feeling for music is so intense and real, I think I just poured my heart into my writing at a certain point because I needed to make it good enough to do this forever. I focused on that rather than, 'Well, whenever I write songs, I'll tour.'

Analogue: How does that work in concert with the other guys?

Kyle: For the most part, I'll start the songs. Or we'll start them together. There's a song that Tyler and I started about relationships that's based more on a feeling or scenario that we've been both been through together, so it didn't have to be super personal. There's even one song that's just like, 'Let's just turn the music on its head.' I think everyone's involved in a way where even if I finish the song or have most of it written, I don't choose any parts. I present the base of it and then we work it out together to make it our thing.

"One of Bill's big sayings is, 'Let's ruin our careers today.' It's that mentality like, 'Fuck it man. Let's get after it and just make something that we're proud of and not worry about anybody else.'"

Analogue: So the others give input even into the substance? You mentioned things a lot of personal changes, so I was curious.

Kyle: Yeah, definitely. That's what makes it the band rather than just me, I think, is their input. 'What are you trying to say here? Is this the right way to say it?' They want to understand that, too. If they don't do that, then they can't get behind the feeling of it and it has to be something everybody can feel and know those feelings, so there's a lot of discussion in that. There's a lot of trust in my songwriting, but they also ask if there are better ways to say something. It's not a definitive, 'Here's the song. Let's do it.'

Analogue: What does three members do to creative chemistry?

Kyle: It's an interesting dynamic. You can't really team up, you know? I think that's a good thing in a lot of ways. There are times where you're wrong and two other people are thinking about it in a better way.

So I think it creates more discussion on every topic because it's a lot easier with three voices in the room rather than four. There's no way to split off and talk about something with someone else. Everything is laid out on the table, which is sometimes scary and hard to deal with, but we've together for so long. All three of us have such a good relationship that we all have a really good understanding to give each other a little bit of space and a bit of leeway in making mistakes and not to judge each other too quickly.

Analogue: You mentioned earlier a song that "turned music on its head." What does that mean?

Kyle: It's hard to explain. It really sounds like an '80s arena rock band. It's this dance, David Bowie thing that's just not happening at all. It sounds like you're with a live crowd in an arena. It's like "Crocodile Rock" or something. I don't think anybody's been doing that. Those risks that we're taking now, we don't care if someone is doing it or if it's supposed to sound distorted because drums sound distorted now. We don't care if there's a synth or harmonies.

Desert Noises
Desert Noises

One of Bill's big sayings is, 'Let's ruin our careers today.' It's that mentality like, 'Fuck it man. Let's get after it and just make something that we're proud of and not worry about anybody else.' That's how it felt in the studio. If nobody likes this, we will. Sometimes that's how great music is made.

Analogue: That feels like it would be very creatively fulfilling.

Kyle: Yeah, it's very empowering. Thank God for Bill for creating that space for us and letting us explore that and for a cheerleader.

Analogue: When you say you don't know what to do now, what does that mean? Do you have any options at all? What are you facing?

Kyle: Right now, it's completely unknown. We took a break and I feel like we lost a lot of industry faith. There's some there, but it's not like we can go to a label and say, 'Hey wanna release this?' I think that music is changing in that way, anyway. We want to put out the record in a way that we feel like we gave it its own shot, you know? Throwing it up on Spotify or whatever just seems so underwhelming or unfair to the work that we put in.

If it comes to that, it'll come to that, but at this point, it's like, 'Let's go out on the road and get a name back for ourselves.' We can sit on this for a minute and not play those songs and also let it simmer for us so that we're excited about it, too, so we're excited about it when it does happen. I think that will also say something for it as well, because we wanted to make something that was timeless. We didn't want a time stamp on it, so we don't have to release it tomorrow.

We've got other things we can do. Right now, our focus is just on the now and building those fans back again and going to say hi to people we haven't seen in five years.

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