We first heard the track ‘Square’ by Kayla Painter on the Adam Walton BBC Radio Wales show (we also discovered the wonderful Trwbador via the very same show – a band who also studied the same course as Kayla in Newport!). The track was a minimal and ambient electronic piece, incredibly hypnotic and something you’d definitely hear sitting nicely in a Gilles Peterson late night mix. Cat On The Wall’s Jo Whitby caught up with Kayla via email and found out more about her musical influences and passions….
Cat On The Wall: First up, can you introduce yourself for our readers? What first inspired you to pick up an instrument and make music?
Kayla Painter: Hi there Cat on The Wall! I am an electronica artist that produces ambient, bass heavy, and experimental music. I was bought up in a musical household, my Dad plays guitar, and so there were always instruments lying about the house. It seemed like a natural progression to take from learning recorder in infant school to progress to saxophone, then in my teens branch out to a ‘cooler’ instrument and start playing bass guitar. Which eventually lead me to discover my interest in bass sounds, which directed me towards the electronic scene.
COTW: When did you discover your passion for making electronic music?
KP: During University. I studied for a degree at the University of Wales, Newport called Creative Sound and Music. I began this course as a bass guitarist, expecting this not to change. Very quickly I was exposed to some far more interesting material by the lecturers and assignments that we were given. Real turning points in my understanding of composition came after listening to pieces such as ‘I Am Sitting In A Room’ by Alvin Lucier and material from artists such as Ryoji Ikeda, Jacob Kirkegaard and the more conventional Chris Clark and Burial.
COTW: You highlight The Beatles as one of your biggest influences and yet your music is quite distinctly different from the 60s pop legends. What role do influences play when you create your music?
KP: For me the Beatles are where my obsession with music began. They began to teach me to think about choice of sound and experimenting with composition techniques [Revolution 9]. Aside from that I think the sheer impact a band like the Beatles had in their time is very inspirational to me as a composer. Even though I make a very different type of music, and am in no way appealing to the masses, the idea that people can seek that much enjoyment from something that came out of someone else’s head, it’s a very exciting prospect to me. I think the Beatles knew what they wanted to achieve with their music and I love to think that they understood that, and strive to understand what it is I want to achieve with my music and then become a master in my field as they did in theirs.
COTW: What is your creative process when composing?
KP: I have no set routine when it comes to writing music. Currently I am finding I am opening Logic, start playing around with some sounds and write something there and then. I quite often start with either a drum beat, or a synth pad creating some sort of ambience. I used to think a lot about what I was wanting to compose, what sort of sound or genre I was aiming for, but I’ve found that no matter how much I think about what I want to write, when I’m programming instruments the music leads itself and creates its own thing and my thought process has no control over that. If I’m in a good mood for writing music I suppose I can have the bare ideas down in a few hours, but then it can take anywhere up to months – half a year to revisit it and get the sounds and structure to the point where I am happy with it.
COTW: Ableton Live is your program of choice for live performances, why is that? Any forthcoming shows?
KP: I like to use Ableton Live and the APC40 as it’s a great tool for performance. It can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Which for me is great because when I was given my first gig. I had no ‘live set’ and went out and bought Ableton 3 days before the show, learnt it (..!) and used it to the best of my ability. Of course now I am discovering more and more wonderful things you can use Ableton for. My next show that is lined up is in February as I am currently on a break from gigging to finish my EP. (February 17th , The Croft, Bristol).
COTW: What are you listening to at the moment?
KP: At the moment I am listening to a lot of electronic stuff like Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers, Chris Clark – Clarence Park. I like the sounds these albums explore, despite them not being all that current, they really interest me. I have also been listening to Cerulean by Baths, and thoroughly enjoyed and over indulged in this album. I’m waiting for some new music, which usually comes in the form of recommendations from friends.
COTW: Finally, what does the future hold for Kayla Painter?
KP: I am currently working on an EP due for independent release on spotify and itunes Spring 2012. This is going to be the first time I have put my music out to the public through these means. Currently I have my music on soundcloud and myspace which is great but feels a bit informal, so I’m really looking forward to mastering my tunes and getting an official ‘finished’ product out there to be heard. I have gigs lined up in Bristol in the new year, and once they are under way I’ll be focusing on the summer schedule.