Joel Kachel releases 'Sounds of Crow' tonight at the Fine Line
His songs on the new album, Sounds of Crow, sound like collaborations with themselves -- two halves not quite in accordance with each other as you'd expect -- yet still sounding curious and beguiling.
Gimme Noise talked with Joel before his EP release at the Fine Line.
Gimme Noise: I hear a lot of bluesy country influence, especially G Love/Jack Johnson, in your music; what did you grow up listening to? Who do you admire as an artist?
Joel Kachel: When people ask what my music sounds like I give them the old, "I grew up on Jack Johnson, a little Jason Mraz, a little John Mayer, and I love Dave Matthews." I would have to say Jack Johnson is the roots of the foundation of my music. I remember being a young kid rolling around in Florida on vacation with my family and Jack Johnson came out with Brushfire Fairytales. I remember listening to it non-stop for the entire vacation; every time we were in the car or on the road we were listening to it. At that point it had been imprinted in my brain and I loved it.
However, I never really sat and learned a lot of his music. I was always busy writing my own music, and I feel like it gave me an advantage in not learning the music. I play by ear and I am self taught, so if I start learning a bunch of Jack Johnson songs, I would probably use a lot of the same chords keys and styles that he uses. I like to think I bring my own style by incorporating multiple styles of multiple artist I like.
How did you approach writing new pieces for the new album Sounds of Crow? Where did the title for the album come from?
The funny story behind my song "Crow" on my Sounds of Crow EP is I remember being 20 years old and playing a blues jam in Stillwater at a place called St. Croix Live. I remember a bunch of the guys that ran the jam were giving me a hard time because I played a bunch of love songs. The next day I went home and wrote a song about a crow. Today it is one of my favorite songs for me to play and my favorite song of my new EP! Thanks, guys!
Sounds of Crow stemmed off of "Crow" and music is "Sound"..."Sounds of Crow."
What is a song that you've written that you are extremely proud of?
At this point I am extremely proud of "Crow." I think the new recording on my CD has a good vibe to it; it is a fun song to cruise down the road in. Within the first month of releasing my EP to the public, "Crow" took first place for a Texas Songwriters Cruise, Song Contest and got some spotlight on on NBC after Saturday Night Live in Alaska.
You say you write songs to which today's young people can easily relate. Can you elaborate on this?
For me and my songs, I write from personal experience. It's love and life, and it's all understandable music. You can hear the lyrics well and understand the meanings. It's fun, laid back music. The lyrics make sense and are not too complicated -- something that is easy to follow.
What was your touring experience like in Alaska? Why Alaska?
I love going to Alaska, and I think everyone should go to Alaska at least once in their life.
My connection with Alaska came through my older brother; he and his wife lived up in Anchorage while she was stationed at the Air Force base. My brother met a guy by the name of Chris Snyder who is very active in the Alaska music scene, and started an organization called Third Wheel Project. Third Wheel Project reached out to me and invited me up to play some shows.
This group of musicians supports the work of peers and provides guidance for new artists arriving on the scene. Third Wheel Project invited me to give five performances over a fourteen day period. I wound up playing twelve of the fourteen days, enjoyed air time on four radio stations, and a spot on a local TV show called The Venue.
It looks like you are touring a lot. Does it seem disheartening to hear that many artists do not make money while on the road? What keeps you going?
At this point my tour to Alaska is paid for by the shows I play and shows that I set up with Chris. As far as my tour to Nashville and Germany, I really am not trying to make money; just trying to put a system in place.
The way I see it, I have to play my first show to play my second show. If I am not there and I don't show up, then I won't meet anyone...I wont find new places to play...places that pay money. A good friend of mine always says to me, "If you're going to show up, participate."
Besides that, music to me is an excuse to travel; not everyone can just pick up their bags and go on a two week tour, sleeping at night in their van. I think it is bad ass that I get to have the opportunity and that I am blessed with the gift of music -- I might as well go out an share it. One thing that keeps me going with the music is I have a landscaping company I start 4 years ago. I work hard in the summer, so I can play in the winter. It is a nice balance and it really helps me focus on my music in the winter.
You are holding a video premiere party at the Fineline. What video are you premiering? How did this video come about and what song is included in the video?
I have been writing music for over 6 years now and for the last few years a good friend of mine, Joe Carlini, has always been saying how he wanted to help make my first music video. Two to three years later, here we are -- not just talking about it -- but doing it. The music video is to my song "Crow" and has come together very well!
What can we expect at the show at the Fine Line?
Wednesday night at the Fineline is night of celebration for the release of Sounds of Crow and my new "Crow" music video. You can expect a great crowd, great people, great times, and great music.
Joel Kachel will release Sounds of Crow at the Fineline Music Cafe on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 with Matthew Griswold and Nici Peper. 18+ $7, 21+ $5, 7 pm.