Monday, October 6, 2008

Kid Mud EP Out Tomorrow

On October 7, New and Used Records will release Birds Will Move In, the debut EP from San Francisco's Kid Mud, who mixes live instrumentation and computer production to powerful effect. A veteran of indie rock bands Fiver and American Holidays, Kid Mud mastermind Sean Duncan creates each song himself, combining deeply personal lyrics with lush instrumentation. The resulting songs recall the work of Badly Drawn Boy, Sparklehorse and the Postal Service. His CD release party is at the Hotel Utah on November 11, opening for Tom McRae and Steve Reynolds.

Duncan spends most of his time recording at home to his Mac, building the pieces from the instruments he's taught himself how to play. "I taught myself drums in the 7th grade after my mom bought me a kit," he recalls. "In 9th grade, I started playing the guitar and teaching myself chords from books. I started recording a lot on a shitty little 4-track, figuring out other instruments as I went along. Whatever the song would call for, I would try and figure it out." The process hasn't changed much today.

When indie rockers Fiver needed a keyboard player in 2002, Duncan jumped at the chance. "Before Fiver, I'd never really traveled much," he recalls of the experience that saw him open for Frank Black of the Pixies in the UK, while sharing the stage with Death Cab For Cutie and Grandaddy. Despite the band's early success, Duncan left in 2004, and found himself dealing with some major changes, both emotional and geographical.

"It was a big change coming to the Bay Area after growing up in a town of 18,000 people," he says. "I felt like I was starting with nothing, trying to accomplish everything, but I think I had to hit rock bottom to make myself better than before."

Part of the process for pulling himself back up involved buying a computer and setting out to record the songs he had been composing. The results of those early sessions and Duncan's continued progression find their way to Birds Will Move In, a collection of five songs that convey those feelings of isolation and change. While he just has the EP to his name, Duncan remains prolific, devoting as much time to recording as often as possible. While the songs all sound different from one another, the process of recording each stays the same.

"The drums must come first," he says. "Then I just sit there with all my instruments handy. I like to wprk in sections, rather than laying down one full track of an instrument all at once. Then I break out my pop screen made out of a coathanger and panty hose to lay down the vocals. I add any bleeps and blurps that the song might call for last."

While he is still getting his fit wet as a solo artist, Kid Mud can claim at least one notable gig, opening for Calvin Johnson in 2007. "Opening up for Calvin Johnson was awesome, Duncan recalls. "I was already planning to go when the booker asked me to open. The show was just him and I, and it was set up in a theater lobby. Everyone sat down and really listened."

1 comment:

Allison said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this EP. I was traveling for the weekend, so had a good chance to listen to it numerous times and let it sink in. Loved what I heard! I shall be posting on it later in the week. :)