True Colors, Shining Through; An interview with Kyle Evans of Echo Bloom

Echo Bloom’s musical output has consistently lived up to frontman and founder Kyle Evans’ creative ideals. The band’s four albums, although recorded under wildly differing circumstances, share Evans’ distinctive melodic sensibility, his vivid, expressive lyrics and his lovingly crafted arrangements. Whether he’s performing alone or fronting an expanded band, Evans’ gently intoxicating songs stand in a class of their own.

Echo Bloom’s new album, Green, is perhaps Evans’ most accomplished effort yet, with such compelling new compositions as “Fire In You Eyes,” “The Duke,” “Comet” and “Love and Superglue” exemplifying his distinctively rootsy pop-folk songcraft, as well as his penchant for carefully textured arrangements that amplify the material’s musical and emotional depth. Recorded with renowned songwriter/guitarist Kevin Salem producing and Evans’ wildly talented band — including vocalist/keyboardist Aviva Jaye, bassist Alex Minier and drummer Cody Rahn — Green is something rare and special.

Green is the product of an extended creative journey that’s taken Evans around America, from his upbringing in the deep south through stints in Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco to his current base of New York City, with an extended stint in Berlin in between. The irreplaceable combination of life experience and artistic experimentation is reflected in Evans’ singular creative vision, as well as his largely self-taught musicianship.

With an impressive body of work already under their collective belt, and with a variety of fascinating projects in the works, Green points to a limitless creative future for Kyle Evans and Echo Bloom.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Evans to discuss the album. This is what he said.

When did you first begin writing the material for Green

The seed song for Green was ‘The English Teacher,’ which came out on our first record Jamboree, four records ago.  That record was a collection of character studies, and each was kind of in a different genre, which worked sometimes, and in other ways didn’t.  So I picked the three best songs from that record and wrote albums around each of them.  Some of the melodies had been bouncing around my head for years.  I wrote these three songs about ghosts in Los Angeles ‘Cecil DeMille,’ ‘John Wayne,’ and ‘Steve McQueen,’ about five years ago and two of them ended up making the record.  Others I just finished up a couple weeks before we went in the studio, including ‘Anthony,’ ‘Love & Superglue.’

This is the third in a series, Red, Blue… Did you always know this was going to be a three album set? Or did that come about after the first record. 

It was always going to be a three album set.  The songs naturally started falling into these three genres – orchestral folk, country rock, and pop.  Those three colors are each ingredients for building the entire musical picture.  So different percentages of red, green, and blue, like pixels.

Outside of being dubbed the ‘pop-rock/Americana’ album in the trilogy, is there an underlying theme to the songs on the record?

They’re kind of about where we are right now in life.  A lot of the songs came into focus on the road, and that is woven through them – breaking down, running out of gas, the rhythm of the highway.  That speck of opportunity on the horizon, that piece of your memory you’ve recalled so many times it’s becoming unreliable.

The last two releases had a companion live album. Will Green also be getting a live treatment?

Yes.  We record all of our shows in multitrack, so have a pretty gigantic archive of old shows.  We’ll be on tour in March and playing shows throughout the rest of 2018, so hopefully will have some good things to pull from.

Do you have any plans to make any videos for the release?

We’d really like to – maybe ‘Song for Steven’ or ‘Fire In Your Eyes?’  Maybe it could be a real noir-ish high contrast black and white kind of thing, or maybe a ’50s style song and dance thing?

What artists are you listening to these days? Any New York faves we should know about?

So many good people!  Our keyboard player/vocalist Aviva Jaye is amazing.  Mackenzie Shivers is fantastic.  I was really into the most recent Waxahatchee record.  In terms of old stuff, I just discovered Bobbie Gentry, and she’s amazing.

What’s next for Echo Bloom? More touring? Perhaps the Midwest?

We’d love to come out to the Midwest!  We’ve done a ton of touring overseas over the past few years, and we’re focusing more on the U.S. right now.  We’ll be playing shows throughout the rest of 2018, and will hopefully hop into the studio in June to start recording the follow up to Green.

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