We recently managed to score some time with Nick Wiley, guitarist of Asheboro, NC three piece, Kindler, who was kind enough to talk about his band, and their forthcoming debut full-length, Cosmic Revelations. Due out on March 11th, 2016, Cosmic Revelations boasts the trio’s signature experimental, progressive rock and it’s damn good! Read about the band below and also be sure to check out the premiere of their new video for the song “Eden”.
For those not familiar with your band can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Wiley: Kindler is a three piece experimental/progressive rock band made up of myself (Nick Wiley – guitar,) my brother (Stephen Wiley – drums,) and Cameron Fitzpatrick (bass, lead vocals). Describing one’s own band is always a struggle, but “Rush meets Tool” seems as good a descriptor as any. We LOVE a good riff! That said, as this band has matured, I think we’ve fallen in love with the idea of building up simple ideas into huge climaxes. We’ve also begun to incorporate more and more vocals as we can all sing, which is a real blessing for a band this small. One of the few influences that we all three share in common is the band Yes, so we try to take a similar approach to vocal harmony.
What is your writing process like?
Wiley: Musically, we are an extremely collaborative band. We only play a couple of songs that were entirely written by one member. If at all possible, we prefer to write as a unit and build on each other’s ideas. Lyrically, Cameron carries the largest burden. He has a real knack for storytelling! Stephen and I are more practically-minded from a songwriting perspective, so we tend to only write about actual life events and what effect those events have. To date, we have only used my lyrics on a couple of tunes. I suspect that, similar to the direction we’ve taken with vocal harmony, our lyric writing process will continue to evolve and become more collaborative in the future.
Check out the song “Eden” here.
When you write do you do so with the live setting in mind or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?
Wiley: Both! I think we’re all old-souls, musically speaking. We grew up on classic rock and it’s hard for us to think about music outside of a “live” context. For me personally (and, I think my bandmates share this sentiment) when I discover an artist, I am chiefly interested in finding out what they can do with their bare hands and the tools they have in front of them. Thus, we definitely write with a live setting in mind. In other words: if a part can’t physically be performed live by one of the three of us or its absence would be dearly missed at a show, we will almost definitely cut it. For the same reason, we don’t play with samples. I know that’s become a very popular live resource, but we’ve just never felt comfortable with it. If Stephen feels like picking up the tempo or slowing down to jam hard on a riff, we’re free to do that since he’s not bound to a click track in-ear.
Along those same lines do you take advantage of technology and email riffs and parts back and forth, or do you get together in a room in a more traditional sense and write together?
Wiley: To date, we have done all our writing the old fashioned way jamming in our rehearsal space together. I think we will begin to explore the “e-mail” route as we grow and acquire more writing tools. Also, we’ve recently delved into the world of synthesizers. It’s a whole new world for all of us that will require more trial-and-error and learning. That’s where I think the e-mail approach will come in handy – exploring sounds and bouncing thoughts and ideas off of each other. Stephen and I actually live in two halves of the same duplex, but Cameron lives about 1.5hrs away from us at the moment so I see technology playing a bigger role for our writing process in the future.
What’s the story behind the name of the band?
Wiley: To be totally honest, there’s not much of a story to the inception of our name. We sat around a table and shouted syllables at each other until we came up with a name that sounded cool, was shorter and easier to say than our previous bands’ names, and wasn’t taken! But, this is what we tell people when they ask about the name because it does carry meaning: We like to think of our music as being about moments and the spark of creation, like kindling a flame. To match this, we came up with the word “Kindler” as a title for someone who kindles – creates new things and ideas – and took it for our name.
What is the story behind Cosmic Revelations?
Wiley: Cosmic Revelations, as an album, is actually not a concept piece. That said, all of the tracks seemed marked by what we call the “ominous question mark.” That is: Wrestling with the unpredictability of life. The title track (and thus, the album artwork) is actually a comic-style story about a man who builds a rocket and blasts himself toward the sun in an effort to be closer to it. He miscalculates and finds himself orbiting Mars instead. While there, he has a series of “revelations”, repairs his ship, flies back to Earth, and tells tales of his new-found answers to life’s big questions.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take 3 CDs with you for eternity, assuming there was a solar powered CD player, what would they be?
Wiley: I polled my bandmates for help on this one. For me personally, it would be a toss-up between Fragile (Yes) and Sound Awake (Karnivool.) Cameron chose Wavering Radient by Isis (the band). Stephen couldn’t live without L’Enfant Sauvage (Gojira).
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Wiley: In 2014, we partnered with a local charity to release our first music video for the song “Shifting Ground” in honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Subsequently, we were asked to guest write for a blog about the topic and got some interest from college campus organizations. Being a part of something that became larger than itself was definitely the highlight of our career thus-far.
Check out the song “Light and Ash” here.