Kendall Miles is the multi-instrumentalist and producer with musical output that belies his years. Sounds of legends like George Benson proliferate his cultured productive creations which blend a future jazz type vibes, ambient, Italian lounge music with ease.
In this his first interview, #itchysilk talk to Kendall hailing from North Carolina about his burgeoning career, his previous ep the delectable Daydreams, that forth coming new ep Cosmic Love and his musical aspirations.
First we have to ask…we could hear some George Benson like energy on those guitar riffs explain?
I loved old-school music as a kid and George Benson is one of my favorite jazz guitarists. When I was listening to music as a kid, usually it was from older artists that my father showed me, or it was artists that I happened to find on my own. One of my hobbies as a child was buying vinyl records from my teacher with my lunch/class money. People thought it was silly because I didn’t even have a record player but I knew that once I got old enough to afford one, I would play them all.
We know musically you play guitar and keys so which came first and how did a love for these two instruments come about?
My dad has been making and recording music for a very long time and I would stay up late sometimes watching him make music with a variety of instruments. I knew that one day I would do that too. I am a fast visual learner and almost everything I have learned has been through watching, as opposed to teaching. I was lucky enough to see the entire process of how an album is made at a very early age.
Your compositions seem to use the piano or guitar as the central focus-why?
They are the central focus because it is easy for me to evoke emotion through those instruments. I believe it is a combination of the natural dynamic range of those instruments and personal preference. I have been playing instruments for a long time but never knew how to record my ideas properly. When composing a song, playing an instrument is natural to me since I am able to find the key relatively easily and apply what I know to different instruments.
From a production point of view technically what are you using and is it a bedroom vibe of production?
The main software I use is Logic Pro X but I use plugins from a variety of companies. I also have a solid body, hollow body, and classical guitar that I use in some of my songs. I use a Roland JC120 when I need an analog amp recording but I also like a couple of the amp sims in logic for ambience.
You create moods that would be best described as laid back, occasionally dreamy-we wanted to close our eyes and just float on your beats-explain the emotional spectrums/journeys you want your listeners to go on?
That is exactly the vibe I am going for and what I would like the listeners to experience. I love making dreamy chill songs that people can drift away and get lost in. I put a lot of time into trying to set a different atmosphere for each song I make.
We wanted to ask about the samples you use particularly in Daydreams love the energy they evoke. Talk about some of them, where you found them and why you used them?
Many samples were found when I was researching Italian lounge music from the 60’s and 70’s. I feel like I have been searching for this type of music for a long time. I heard it when I was younger, but never knew what it was called. Naturally they are very easy tempo and chill but if you flip them a certain way they can evoke a super-dreamy feeling.
So let’s talk that forth coming Cosmic Love regarding what you want to do, the sound you want to achieve and of course how you will create the songs?
The Cosmic Love ep is a spiritual successor to the Daydreams ep and I drop many very subtle hints to that throughout the ep. For this tape, I am using a more futuristic type of sound, and I have chosen ambient music as the genre I am infusing it with this time. Ambient is known to give off a dreamy feeling as well but I am still using jazz, and chill-hop elements. I am playing even more instruments (most notably keys) on this tape, than the last.
We love independent artists-where do you see yourself taking this music thing-we assume far?
As long as I am able to bring something different to the table with my music, and there is some demand for me to make it, I will continue to make music.
What would be your biggest fear in terms of your music aside from not making music?
My biggest fear is time. I may not have enough time in the future to keep making music. As you get older, your time has to be spent with other things. It is an unavoidable part of life.
Name three vinyls (you can think of at this moment) from your collection that are your most prized possessions and why?
Kid Cudi – Satellite Flight (2014), CHON Newborn Sun (2013) and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles- Special Occasion (1968)-I love all of these records because they have an interesting sound that stands out from the rest.
Last time you heard a piece of music that made you stop, listen and then feel deeply moved?
The last time this happened I was listening to Force of Nature – Same Old Thing. It is my favorite Chill-hop song. When the violins come in at 1min 30sec it always moves me, and to top it off, it plays during the best scene (sky fight) of Samurai Champloo (2004-2005).