|Interviewer: Hannah Collins
It’s a ridiculously hot summer day in Melbourne. Keiran Ryan (KR) is lying on the couch, drinking tea *not iced tea because he ‘don’t like that stuff’* chatting with Hannah Collins (LMM) on all things ‘Kid Sam‘.
LMM: So whats ‘Kid Sam‘ up to?
KR: ‘We have a couple of weeks off now and then Laneway (Laneway Festival), which should be really awesome, the lineup is fantastic with a really strong Australian contingent! I’m looking forward to Dirty Three, Oh Murphy?, and Philadelphia Grand Jury again. We’ve done a tour with them already. Yeah, so it’s great. Then comes the Daniel Johnston gigs which we’re like, hugely, hugely excited about!
Then we’re going to do a tour of our own, which we haven’t had a chance to do yet and we’re in the process of getting that all worked out, which will be really cool! And then we’re gunna take a bit of time off *laughs* um, cause I have to get surgery on my shoulder! I dislocated it years ago and now I finally have to get it fixed, which means I can’t play guitar for a couple of months after that so it’ll have to be a bit of a break!’
LMM: Nasty! Do you think you’ll be missing it when you can’t play?
KR: Yeah I think I will be. If it’s only for a couple of months I’ll be ok. I’ll get a keyboard or something and write songs with one hand! *Laughs* I’ll just try and write some songs for a little while, and take time off from playing. And in the second half of the year, we’ll just have to see what happens.
LMM: When your album first came out, and in the early day’s of release it was picked up by Melbourne’s Independent radio Triple R. Were you surprised that it became album of the week so quickly?
KR: Totally! We thought it would have been nice if they even gave a couple of tracks a spin occasionally! We would have been happy with just that so it was a real surprise when they named it album of the week! That really helped us get a few gigs around Melbourne. Triple R, right from the start when the album came out, were really supportive.
LMM: Shortly after Triple R picked it up, Triple J were also ripping out your singles and definitely set a few of your songs firmly on their weekly rotation. Did you find that was pretty exciting?
KR: Yeah totally, we REALLY didn’t expect Triple J to play it at all. They’ve been awesome as well. They’ve just been fantastic and them having played us probably helps with concerts and all those things, so yeah it’s been a huge help.
LMM: The name ‘Kid Sam‘, where does that come from?
KR: Well It’s a bit of a long story but to take a short cut, I think Kishore kinda discovered it when he’d go to write Kieran on an sms. In the old Nokia predictive text, on the old phones, it would always say KIDSAM as one word and just as a joke we made it our band name. So there it is!
LMM: The decisions in the band, with it being only the two of you… do you both have equal input?
KR: Yeah pretty much, like I mean in terms of the arrangements or whatever it tends to… well, there’s always things that I want to do, and things Kishore wants to do but in the end, we’ve been pretty happy with the arrangements and everything.
LMM: Considering you both have an array of different musical skills, and have different aspects that you bring to the music. Was it difficult just working with the two of you and having to compile all aspects of all songs?
KR: Difficult? Hmm. It’s probably easier really just having the two of us. I mean there’s always that thing with the recording, of it (album). Because there are only two of us it was a lot easier to record, but on the other hand we spent a lot of time getting everything really precise like guitar or drum sounds or whatever. You put more work into, less things if that makes sense? And same with the arranging I think, as opposed to a bigger band you know. Fewer things to work with, but you put more thought into those elements and all the bits and pieces you do have.
LMM: ‘Kid Sam‘ are still with Two Bright Lakes, do you think you might be with them for a while?
KR: Yeah I reckon… it’s really great having put the LP out through those guys, they’re really good friends of ours and it’s been this really nice um, nice thing to do it with friends. Yeah, it’s more personal I think.
LMM: You’ve got a few singles out at the moment, what’s your favourite?
KR: Probably “We’re mostly made of Water” is what I’d play the most out of those and like playing live most I reckon.
LMM: All of your singles have really different styles, they’re quite diverse, you’re not stuck in one groove repeating the same tones, sounds and melodies. I know Kishore lived near Byron Bay for a while, did that have influence your sound in any way? Just in relation to the lifestyle being quite laid back etc?
KR: No actually I think it kinda went the other way because he grew up there, and I suppose with his drumming…. I don’t really want to speak for him but he does have a bit of an aversion to bongo’s and stuff like that so I’d image it did influence him in that he doesn’t really go for that kind of stuff! *laugh*. I’m not really sure apart from that.
LMM: Your vocal style, I noticed on “Down to the Cemetery”, you almost reminded me a bit of Jim Morrison?
KR: Ha ha really? Well it’s only by chance if it’s true. I don’t really know enough about him to try and rip off his singing!
LMM: Have you had any vocal training in the past?
KR: Yeah years ago I had some lessons here and there but I still wasn’t very good! *laughs* It took me a while of just, just playing gigs before I could really sing. So I just played gigs all the time. I’d go out busking years ago just to give myself some practice and over time things came together with what I was doing.
LMM: So who would you say your influences would be? You’re favourite artists?
KR: Um it’s really like, well between us we’re into a lot of different stuff, but in terms of what I go back to, to help me create stuff it’s really, you know the obvious stuff…laughs*, like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and Neil Young… Townes Van Zandt’s another one, you know the country singer who died in the 90’s? Well yeah he had a really simple sound going as well which is good.
LMM: If Kid Sam could be compared to another band, who would you like it to be?
KR: Geeze who would it be? Um…. Crap that is a really good question!
Off the top of my head, the people I’d most like to be compared to more than most are probably the likes of Daniel Johnston, especially, which is probably someone I should have mentioned a minute or two ago as well, and that’s one of our favourite people…. *pause…. In the world! You know. But we don’t really sound like him at all. And maybe Jackson C. Frank, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him he’s like a 60’s folk singer, and the album he made in the 60’s or one of, is one of my favourite albums of all time, but then we don’t really sound like him at all either! So those are the people who have really influenced my song writing, but we’ve tried to not directly, sound too much like them. So even though they’re the people I most admire, I don’t necessarily want to sound the same. They’re people, that say, you might immediately notice as Kid Sam influences, but we’re not trying to sound like them, if that makes sense?
LMM: Yep perfect sense. So another question much the same thing, if you had to put yourself in a genre, what would you classify it as?
KR: I guess it’s fair enough that the music industry will do that, certainly once again, in the songs I’ve written there are a lot of folk influences, and old folk song writers have been the biggest influences but hen, yeah we try to no sound like them, so, with each song as well we try to treat it individually and give it the best treatment we can for that particular song and not really worry to much about what genre we fit into… But there are certainly elements of folk and rock and even a little bit of metal on one or two things and writing this style of music compared to hip say, makes it a bit easier, because we can combine different genres, I think.
LMM: Have you got any new material lying in wait for the next album?
KR: Yeah we do. We’ve not written a whole album but there’s a few tracks floating around. We want to do a lot more writing this year as well and get some more stuff recorded.
LMM: Great that’s awesome! Look forward to hearing it. It’s been fantastic to speak with you. Best of luck with everything, the touring and the shoulder operation of course.
KR: Thank you so much!. Cheers.
LMM: We’ll be at Laneway as well, so we’ll check out your set and hopefully come and say G-day!
KR: Awesome, please do!
– Kid Sam is available at iTunes
KID SAM / KEIRAN RYAN TUES January 2010.