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Meet Dave & Kylie of Desert Sparrow in Silver Lake/Echo Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave & Kylie.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We started jamming at house parties for fun, not taking it too seriously, but our friends kept encouraging us to put a band together. We’d both never been in bands before or even written songs at that point. Eventually, we gave it a shot and put out an EP titled Leave This Town the following year. We played mostly around the Sydney area for about a year before deciding to move to Los Angeles. Here, we recorded our 2nd EP titled City of Dreams at Station House Studio with Mark Rains who’s worked with bands that inspire us such as BRMC. It was a step in the right direction sonically for us because Leave This Town was chasing a sound we couldn’t quite get to. People assumed we were going for a country-pop vibe when actually we were aiming for a desert blues, southern rock sound. Our producer was fantastic, but really, it was our lack of studio experience that hindered us. Needless to say, it was a great learning curve and motivated us to learn more about engineering, preamps, EQ, and different guitar-amp-pedal combinations for the sounds we were chasing in our heads.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This is usually the longest answer in the interview for everyone, right? haha. Someone once told us “If you knew all the things you’d be faced with on this journey, you might not even begin at all.” Thus, we made the decision to take every single day as it comes. Getting people to take you seriously when you’re first starting out can be a challenge. When people ask “What’s your real job?” or “What’s your endgame with your music?” it feels strange because you explain to them you’re basically trying to do the same thing as anyone else: find something you love, work hard and hopefully make a living out of it. You only live once, so why not set out to fulfill your own dreams instead of someone else’s. It’s interesting to see when you begin to work for yourself how it becomes much more motivating to get out of bed in the morning.

Money and time are also challenging factors. “Why are musicians always broke?” Because they don’t always get paid, and if they do, it primarily goes towards gear, recording and other band expenses. It’s funny how people react when they find out how much a decent playing guitar, bass, amp, etc. costs altogether. On top of that, the cost of studio time, mixing, and mastering a song. You can see their heads explode, haha. We still have day jobs and balance work, paying bills and spending time with family & friends so we don’t go completely insane. Because there’s only two of us, it’s a little harder versus other bands that can delegate everything between four to five people. It’s challenging but more rewarding when you look back at all the things you’ve set out to do and accomplished along the way. Mad props to all solo artists out there grinding and getting it done.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Desert Sparrow – what should we know?
We’re an indie rock band that draws inspiration from 60’s rock n roll, surf, spaghetti western, folk, psych, blues. We love the classics like Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, CCR, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. For modern stuff… The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, The Growlers, Angus & Julia Stone, Florence.

One thing we’re proud of is our persistence. Music is not like a normal trade where you can go to school, acquire the skills and get a job after you graduate. There is no set path to follow. Everything is a risk and you constantly have to be creating while there’s no guarantee that people are going to like what you do.

What sets us apart from others? Well, there’s nothing we do deliberately to go out of our way to try and be different. We simply play the music we love and that all depends on what we’re listening to and inspired by at the moment. But if you had to ask, Kylie’s main influences are Stevie Nicks, Chrissie Hynde, Natalie Merchant, and Florence Welch. Dave’s guitar influences range from Johnny Marr, Peter Hayes, Marc Ribot’s work with Tom Waits, Mike Campbell and Ennio Morricone.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Drive (funnily enough, that’s the name of our new single). You can have all the technical skill in the world, but if you’re constantly making excuses for yourself, not showing up to practice and going on benders every weekend, then you’re in for a rude awakening. It’s important to stay open-minded, handle criticism and be willing to learn from people who have more experience. But above all, trust your instincts.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ian Maddox

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