Interview: Kyle Krone

You should know that I have a man crush on Kyle Krone … not in THAT way … but when I think of somebody that I want to grow up to be (and, yes, I realize that I’m considerably older than Kyle), you should look no further than the (former?) singer of The Shys. He’s got a classic movie star look, the charisma of Mick Jagger, the swagger of Greg Dulli and the songwriting chops of Julian Casablancas (for my money, I’d much rather hear something Kyle has written than something Julian has written).

In the past couple of weeks, Kyle’s been releasing individual tracks from his upcoming debut solo album, For Those Who Think Young – “Hiding in Plain Sight” (Amazon / iTunes) in early February and “1963” (Amazon / iTunes) in early March.

Kyle answered some questions I sent him a few weeks ago.

I’ve listened to “Hiding in Plain Sight” a few dozen times since downloading from Amazon. What would you say your grand “coming out as a solo artist” statement is with this particular track?

Luckily, the decision of what song to release first was made for me because I had only narrowed it down to about 4 different favorite songs to be first singles, which was not nearly narrow enough (laughs). J.Crew approached me about using “Hiding in Plain Sight” for their new Women’s Spring line and I thought it worked beautifully so I decided to release it as the first single.

It’s not the most “singley” sounding song on the album but it’s one of my personal favorites, so I am happy that it’s one of the first things people are getting to hear. The reason I went out on my own and did all this was to be myself 100% and be fearless about being myself and doing what I think is cool, and this song is very me. I make the music I want to hear and I want to create the beautiful little world I want to live in through the sound and the vibe. For me, this song does that very well. So I suppose the statement is, “Hello, I am Kyle Krone, this is my music, nice to meet you and now please enjoy yourself.”

In the old days of 45s and cassingles, there was always a b-side for every a-side single. Did you give any thought into releasing a digital single with a b-side?

Originally I was going to, although it would have been hard to choose. But as this is a full on DIY project I am at the mercy of the resources at my disposal and the distributor I am using only had a one-song single option so I went that way. I plan on releasing one song at a time for a couple months and keep building into the full length. I like how it puts the attention on one song for an extended period of time and hopefully people get a fair shake at digesting the song fully and looking forward to the next.

What’s the status of Kyle Krone’s first full length solo album? Would you say “Hiding in Plain Sight” does a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the new tracks you’ve recorded?

I finished recording the album in early September of 2010 and finished mixing it earlier this year. I am currently putting the artwork together and trying to decide on a release date (late Spring/early Summer). I think no matter what song from the album came first the idea of setting the tone would be difficult being that I feel the album stylistically is a bit diverse. That being said, I feel it’s the most cohesive thing I’ve ever done.

One might say The Shys are to Kyle Krone what The Strokes are to Julian Casablancas minus a few hundred thousand records sold. Do you look at The Strokes and Julian’s solo album as inspiration or influence? And, with The Strokes making a comeback in 2011, will we see further Shys music sometime in the future?

Yes, both an inspiration and an influence. I think Julian is a brilliant writer and I’ve loved The Strokes since they came out. I’ve read some of his interviews when he went solo and I felt like I could really relate to a lot of the stuff he was saying and where he was coming from. In fact quite a few of the things he had said were things I myself had said or felt before. The Shys were in such a tough spot, it was very difficult for us to keep moving forward and just figure out how to survive as a band in the position we were in. I wouldn’t bet on The Shys ever getting back together anytime soon but hey you never know. We are all friends and everyone gets along very well so you never know.

This is an exciting – and potentially scary – time in the history of rock n’ roll. The internet allows you to reach out directly to your fans and you’ve certainly broken down all the barriers between “rock star” and “fan” by making yourself completely accessible. Do you feel yourself trying to find ways to keep yourself relevant when there are so many other artists out there trying to reach the ears of consumers?

No, I don’t really spend any time worrying or thinking about that sort of thing, I think it’s besides the point for me. Being an artist in 2011 is as hard as it ever was and perhaps in many ways harder. I suppose there is the attitude amongst many artists that when it comes to things like Twitter and Facebook that they are basically necessary evils (if you want to compete and be in the mix) but I think when it’s all said and done it’s still all about the music, at least for me it is. So I keep my focus on making the raddest music I can and on the Internet I just share cool things that interest me or tell people how to get my music. I think the interesting people that make cool music will be interesting and cool whether fans have access to them or not.

We’re only a few months into 2011 and have got a long time to go before the end of the year but what do you have on your plate this year? Will we see any live shows from you, any touring?

One thing that has been so nice about being solo is to go at my own natural pace. I think it drives some other people insane but I like to do things when I am feeling them because that’s when they turn out well. So it may seem like I have been taking my sweet time but I am working toward all of that. I am about 8 songs into writing my second album which I am feeling like is going to be one of the best things I’ll ever do, so I focus on that. And to many people that may seem like an odd thing to be working on before my first album has even come out but I am inspired to do it now and I am feeling it so I make whatever I am inspired to do my focus as opposed to doing what I am “supposed” to do and hope that I am feeling it. All that being said, I am finally getting excited to perform live again and I am shooting for dates in late spring and early Summer.

You were involved with an internet campaign to get a part on Mad Men. Are you interested in acting? Do you watch the new Showtime show Shameless and think, “Damn, I should have been cast in the role of Steve McBride?” (The guy that plays Steve, Justin Chatwin, totally reminds me of you)

I am a big fan of the show (Mad Men) and a friend suggested that I should have a go at getting on the show so I gave it a shot. It wasn’t about acting as much as it was a sort of “oh that would be fun” sort of thing because I love the show and my friends, family and I would have gotten such a kick out of it. I’ve been told I look like Mr.Chatwin before, I have yet to see the show but I saw a trailer for it and it looked good, I’ll have to check it out. I’d like to try acting one day if it was something cool that I’d be into. I have a feeling I’d either be able to do it well or be absolutely horrible at it. I’ll stick with music for now.

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