Interview: Kyle Park Reflects on Experimenting, Rocking Out on ‘The Blue Roof Sessions’
On July 9, 2013 -- the day after his 28th birthday -- Texas country music artist Kyle Park and his band moved into a mansion on Lake Travis, just outside of Austin, Texas, to record a new album. They left the not-so-humble abode one month later, on Aug. 9, 2013, with a set of mostly complete tunes that, two years and two months later, is being released as Park's fifth studio record, The Blue Roof Sessions.
"It's not because I'm lazy and procrastinate," Park tells The Boot of the long stretch from the recording of the project to its release. "It's because I'm meticulous and picky, and I know exactly what I want."
The disc's 12 tracks, whittled down from the 19 tunes that Park and his band recorded during their stay in the Lake Travis mansion with a blue slate roof (hence the record's name), are "some songs that I had written years ago that were unfinished, and [I wanted to] try to make something out of them," Park explains.
Some of the songs were totally finished before the crew entered the house; some were finished during that month; and some weren't completely done until much more recently -- for example, "Work on Love," The Blue Roof Sessions' eighth track. Park wrote that song's chorus years ago, but it took until this album to find the right verses ... and even then, he didn't totally complete the lyrics until earlier this year.
"I always loved that song, but it used to have a completely different verse, it used to not have a bridge ...," Park notes. "That's why songwriting's so cool ... It was the hardest song to find, but I'm really proud of it."
The singer-songwriter is also proud of that fact that this album -- which he describes as "so uptempo and rockin' and [with] a driving attitude" -- is his third self-produced project. In the past, when producing his records, Park was concerned that he would "ruin the songs," but this time around, he didn't think twice about that.
"I love music so much, and it's a fun challenge," Park says of producing. "This record, I was so excited and anxious to make new music. I wasn't as scared about letting anybody down ... If I don't like it, I can always just start over."
He adds later, "I think that fans will enjoy this one more than the previous [album], just because it's different ... I could make the same record I did last time again, but I just really wanted to step out of my comfort zone. Every song on this record, I would not have recorded [for] my first record ... because I wouldn't have had the guts to branch out that way.
"I thought I had to please everybody ... Now, it's just, I want to be proud of my own record, and I want to do something different," Park concludes.
Still, going into a non-studio environment posed its own set of challenges: What would the acoustics be like? Would the equipment they had work well for recording in a house? How should they set things up to get the best sound?
"We just assumed we'd make it work," Park admits. "There's no right or wrong way to make music; it's all subjective, it's all what you want ... I really can't mess up as long as I like it."
On the upside, not paying by the day for a studio afforded Park and his band the opportunity to take their time and really perfect the songs -- or, conversely, try something for a while, then determine that it wasn't going to work and throw it away, so to speak, without feeling the pressure of losing studio time.
"I really -- I don't know [why I chose to record it]," Park says with a laugh. "It would never have happened if it wasn't this record."
When Park originally heard the '80s rock hit, about five years ago, he thought that it could be transformed into a solid country song by adding some fiddle, steel guitar and harmonies -- but when it came time to record the tune, he decided to instead do it "pretty much straight up."
"There's so much melody in that song. There's so many different parts," Park explains. "I just loved all that was going on."
Earlier this year, Park released "What Goes Around Comes Around," the fifth track on The Blue Roof Sessions, as the project's lead single.
"It's one of my favorites because of its simplicity," Park notes.
The Blue Roof Sessions is now available for download on iTunes.
To celebrate the release of The Blue Roof Sessions, The Boot is giving away a $300 gift certificate to Tony Lama Boots, a sponsor of Park's. Enter the contest below by completing the different entry options -- just be sure to read The Boot’s official contest rules before entering. One winner will be chosen out of all of the entries received after the contest ends at 11:59PM on Oct. 31.
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