Little Wings’ Kyle Field ‘Explains’ why music is his life

Little WingsWritten by Molly Kish //

Fresh off the release of Little Wings‘ latest album Explains via Woodsist, Showbams caught up with the band’s frontman Kyle Field to discuss passions, performance and his lack of civic pride.

Enter below to win tickets to see Little Wings in San Francisco on Tuesday, July 28th.

Showbams: You were born in Alabama and at a young age moved to California, where you formed Little Wings in the 90’s. Whereas most artists will cite eclectic creative influences or cultural frames of reference for contributing to their sound, Little Wings is a project that is described to have pulled inspiration from the environment you have been surrounded by, but can you elaborate on that?

Field: I guess in an intimate way I kind of take pride in having no civic pride for wherever I’m living at the time. So, I think I was writing about California from Oregon part of the time, and I’m probably writing about California all the time in a sense. As far as the landscape you are talking about, not in a California pride level, but it was probably just the environment that turned me on the most.

Showbams: So, you’re more pulling from your experiences and what you’re surrounded by at the time.

Field: I think it’s just the ocean that is the biggest deal.

Showbams: Your well-known passions outside of songwriting are surfing, traveling and sketching. You got your BFA from UCLA and have even released a book of drawings titled Put It in a Nutshell. With such an accredited background in the visual arts, what made you want to focus predominately on a music career?

Field: As soon as I got my art degree, I was playing music at the same time and it felt more instantaneous that you could play a successful live musical performance, then have a successful art show. It seemed like with the art thing, it was like, “You’re not going to arrive for five years, and don’t worry about it.” So, I think the instantaneousness of it and us being able to call up someone and book our own show, that thing felt a little bit like … the art world felt adult, too adult in an un-cool way, like an established culture where you have to climb the rungs. So is everything and so is music some would say, but being able to appeal to a live audience is certainly a self-affirmation like, “Yeah, see … we can do this!”

Showbams: Which out of your three passions — surfing, drawing and songwriting — do you think would give you the most satisfaction to do professionally for the rest of your life?

Field: Oh boy, I like music the best I think, at least in that boat. I like art shows, but you don’t really interact very much. You just stand around on an opening night and the work happened months ago, whereas in music, you get to work in front of people, which I think is cool.

Showbams: Conversely, if you had to give up one passion in a highly unlikely life-or-death situation, which would it be?

Field: I don’t want to curse any activities in my life, but maybe I would give up something that was like drawing. I would still keep drawing, but I guess I could most easily not draw.

Showbams: Throughout your time in Little Wings, you have had the opportunity to collaborate with several friends and fellow artists, such as Lee Baggett, Devendra Banhart, Grandaddy and Andre Herman Dune amongst others. Who in particular were you able to vibe with the most as an artist and in what ways?

Field: Lee Baggett and I have probably vibed the longest of anyone I’ve played with, since about 1999 or so. I would say he was like my kindred spirit in a musical way.

Showbams: Who would your dream collaboration be with?

Field: There’s a bunch of different ones, but maybe David Bowie.

Showbams: Leading up to the release of Explains this past May, you recorded a “Lagniappe Session” with Aquarium Drunkard that was a four-song set featuring personal covers of Bruce Springsteen, Billy Idol, Lil’ Wayne and Van Morrisson. What was the motivation behind choosing those songs and artists?

Field: I picked songs that felt the way I like my songs to feel, or a feeling that I only ever learned through music. It’s hard to describe how songs work, how they feel or what they’re actually doing when we’re an active observer of them. So, I probably am just trying to create that listening experience for myself with songs in a sense. I think those songs are around the same vein as some of my own songs.

Showbams: At this point in your career with over a dozen releases under your belt, how do you feel as an artist about the current state of the recording industry, both distribution and licensing, and what has kept you throughout the years dedicated to the independent record label community?

Field: First and foremost, I’m just excited to have an audience still, or even an audience period. I’m pretty thankful for that. The thing I’m most concerned with or think about the most is whether I’m able to write or create. If that’s going well, then everything else just falls into place.

For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a crummy gig or this or that. You kind of realize that’s only one part of it. I’m still going behind the scenes, songs are still coming and I still have some things that aren’t recorded yet and are in the works — and that’s where I’m at as far as how I think about it. I don’t think all that hard about the business side of it because my mind is just occupied with the rest of it. It’s not like, “Oh, what a great guy! He’s not thinking about how to get rich or money.” I’m just not thinking about that.

Generally speaking, the smaller the label, the more hands off they are. Having never experienced the other side, it sounded fun to have someone involved every step of the way or someone coming in from the outside. I just gravitated toward what seemed like the most sufficient way to do it.

Hear the full interview with Field here and catch Little Wings at Swedish American Hall with Sam Amidon on Tuesday, July 28th. Win a pair of tickets to the show by registering below.


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