Inquisitions: Kyte

Inquisitions: Kyte

A five-piece from Leicestershire who are barely out of their teens, Kyte make a remarkable noise. Their electro-ambience sounds like Sigur Rós rowing out to the mid-Atlantic with The Postal Service and Maps, then performing experiments on the heart-rate of sea mammals.

They have already been chosen by HBO to feature on adverts for The Sopranos, but when The Fugitive Motel met up with Nick (vocals), Tom (guitar/keys), Jamie (guitar/keys/enthusiastic glockenspieling), Ben (bass) and Scott (drums), prior to a support gig with Asobi Seksu, they were aspiring to the giddy heights of Hollyoaks…

Hello Kyte. We here at The Fugitive Motel like to imagine you initially bonding over print-outs of Sigur Rós translations in the playground. Is that how it happened? Please say yes.
Ben: No, not really. Sorry.
Tom: The band really started after we left school. Me and Nick had always written songs together, but never took it very seriously until we thought it’d be best to get some friends in to play with us.

You have been described as “the British Postal Service”. Does that mean you go on strike a lot?
(Cue polite tittering from band at The Motel’s terrible joke)
Ben: No.
Tom: I really like them.
(Enthusiastic head-nodding all round)
Nick: I think they’re amazing. There are definitely worse bands to be compared to.
Jamie: At one show we got compared to The Pixies, and I couldn’t understand that.
Nick: “The Pixies on acid”!
Jamie: The Pixies are amazing, but we don’t sound like them. The same journalist said Lostprophets as well!
(Room descends into laughter)
Nick: I think I know why that was, though. You were messing about in soundcheck and played one of their songs on the piano.
Jamie: No, no! I don’t even know any of their songs!

I think you’ve just been exposed. Come on, ‘fess up.
Jamie: (wistfully) Oh, the majesty of the piano lines in that band…

If someone had told you when you started the band that you’d feature on the advert for a massive American TV series, would you have automatically said “Oh, that’ll be The Sopranos then...”?
Nick: That’s still a mystery, that…
Jamie: At school, it would’ve been The OC!
Tom: It probably would’ve been Hollyoaks. Hopefully we’ll get in one of those opening sequences in one day; at the start, where they’re all looking at weird messages on their phones.
Nick: Weren’t Maps on Hollyoaks?
Tom: Yeah, but not on one of the opening bits.
Ben: I’d quite like to hear it on a sad moment on Scrubs. When someone dies, that’d be nice…
Scott: Time Team!

You’ve toured with Maps, The Whip, and now Asobi Seksu. Which have been your favourites to open for?
(Universal shouts of “Maps!”)
Ben: They’re just amazing live. So much going on.
Tom: They’re not pretentious about their music at all, and I really like that.
Nick: We’ve played a lot in and around London, which is cool, but it’s meant we’ve met a lot of arrogant indie people, then Maps’ll come up and just say “Hiya!”
Ben: I really like The Whip though. It’s different playing with them, because we get a very different fanbase. People who wouldn’t normally listen to us end up really liking us.

You record in Tom’s bedroom, but then Nick adds the vocals via email. Is that because you don’t really like each other?
Tom: Normally, the song gets written, then I send it to him to write vocals for, and he comes in to record it. Recording is in between Xbox sessions.
Nick: It’s quite a good system.

Do you have a lot of equipment?
Tom: Nah, it’s more charming. It’s little speakers and a computer.

You can do a lot with computers now. They have cash-points on the High Street and everything. Can we expect any more remixes from the album?
Ben: The remixes are going to be kept for B-sides and club play, that kinda thing.
Tom: It will mostly be songs that have been on MySpace at some point except they’ll get mastered, but there’s one song that no-one’s ever heard before.
Jaime: That’s on a compilation now, though!
Ben: Yeah, an Invader Records compilation.
Jaime: It’s Geoff Barrow from Portishead’s label.

They’re curating All Tomorrow’s Parties.
Nick: (Super-pumped) Explosions In The Sky are doing that!
Jaime: We’ll have to talk to them when we play Bristol. Give them a backrub.

If you could curate a one-day festival, with Kyte headlining, who would open for you?
Scott: Bonnie Tyler.
Tom: Simon & Garfunkel, Peter Gabriel.
Ben: More seriously, we’d get Sigur Rós.
Tom: Nah, we’d get rubbish bands if we’re playing last.

Have you played any festivals this year?
Ben: We’ve done one. Truck Festival.
Jaime: We only brought out our first single in September, so the fact that it got postponed worked in our favour.
Tom: We had so much gear to get ready though, and didn’t have a soundcheck.
Nick: It was a nightmare. I’ve never waited so long to play, and then a cowbell comes out of the PA…
Tom: Hopefully we’ll get to do some more next year.
Ben: Oooh, we should definitely plug the Japanese mini-album!

You’ll have women chasing you down the street there. Do the albums have a big sticker saying “As seen on The Sopranos”?
Nick: There are big display boards by the listening posts next to Stars and The Backstreet Boys.

Seriously, you’ll probably get laid if you tour over there. No worries. Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with the good readers of The Fugitive Motel before we leave you to your soundcheck?
Tom: We’re not shoegaze.
Ben: We’re “prog-pop-gaze-gay-rubbish”. I dunno. It doesn’t matter, we’re just a pop band.

Just a pop band? The Spice Girls are just a pop band. Judging from Kyte’s spine-tingling performance in Night & Day shortly afterwards, and the precision with which they play together, these unassuming lads from Leicester are very much more than a pop band. Bonnie Tyler had better start planning her outfit for Kytefest.

interview by: Megan Vaughan, October 28th 2007

‘Planet’ by Kyte is out now on Sonic Cathedral Recordings.