Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Seattle’s Adam Kimball. Together we discussed making music in their home studio, their influences, their EP “Chest Full of Dying Stars”, and their most recent single “Tell Me.”
1. Mustard is thankful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
Thank you for having me. I’m doing pretty good today, the sandwich restaurant I ate at earlier messed up my order and overcharged me, so that sucks. But overall my day has been fine.
2. You make music in your home studio. When did you begin making music?
I started making music when I was about 14 I think. I had a mic, some cheap crappy guitars, and an old casio synth. My old stuff from back then was all recorded on audacity because I didn’t have the gear, money, or knowledge to record a song properly. It was all very primitive and basic, and it all sounded terrible, believe me. But I wanted so badly to do it because I had started listening to all these indie artists like Mac DeMarco who recorded everything from home. And I thought to myself “I could do this”. Eventually I got some proper recording gear and a DAW and I started releasing some music.
3. What song (or album) had an impact on you growing up? Do you revisit this album (or song) now?
Growing up, the album “Travellers in Space and Time” by The Apples In Stereo had a huge impact on me. I must’ve been about 5 when my older siblings first played it for me. My older siblings were always listening to music and showing me music, but something about this album just clicked with me, and I think that’s when I started getting into music. I still go back and listen to this album pretty frequently, it’s still an amazing album.
4. You’ve cited The Beatles as one of your inspirations. Could you elaborate more on how they’ve inspired you? What is your favorite Beatles album?
The Beatles were really who got me into playing instruments and got me obsessed with music. I was about 11 when I first started playing the guitar and bass so I’d always just try and teach myself Beatles songs and I’d try to learn as many as possible. I became really obsessive about it, up to the point where I’d listen to Beatles isolated bass tracks on repeat just so I could sound like them as much as possible. I think a lot of my music is still very much influenced by the Beatles, they’re part of who I am. My favorite Beatles album is definitely Revolver. It’s a very different sounding album from the rest of their discography. The way the album was produced and recorded was very fascinating, the Beatles had started spending more time in the studio at this time, so the techniques they developed and used for this album were so interesting to me.
5. Who (or what) influences you?
A lot of people and things have influenced me, but definitely Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse is who has influenced me the most. He was just a guy that lived out in the middle of nowhere in Virginia and the Smoky Mountains, but he made these amazingly beautiful sounding albums. He was really a pioneer for the whole DIY music scene, he recorded most of his stuff in his home studio. There’s so many people who you can tell have been influenced by Sparklehorse, but nothing will ever come close to how unique and beautiful his music is. Ever since I started listening to Sparklehorse I’ve become more appreciative and aware of nature and the little things around me. I’m able to see the beauty of the world more clearly.
6. What is your songwriting process?
When I write a song usually the instrumental part comes first and I tweak it until it sounds how I want it to, and then I write and record vocals. I kinda just listen to it over and over again until I can come up with some lyrics, and even after that I’ll go back and change some stuff. I’ve been told that the way I do it is not how you’re “supposed” to write music, but it works for me.
7. In 2020 you released “So Easily Mine.” What was the inspiration behind this single?
This was the first song I ever wrote lyrics to, before that it was all just instrumental. I sat down and was about to record some music and some words started coming to mind that I thought sounded good together, so I made a song out of it. I was pretty depressed during this time, so that song is just about my sleepless nights and depression in general. Looking back on it I think subconsciously the song Future Boy by Makeout Videotape inspired the song.
8. Earlier this year you released an EP “Chest Full of Dying Stars.” Could you share what it was like to put this EP together?
The first song on that EP “Devils Of His Heart” I really like, I recorded it at my older brother’s home studio on his Tascam 388. On that track my brother mixed and tracked all the instruments as well as played the tambourine, our friend Danny played the lap steel and lead guitar, and I played guitar and bass. The second song “Marigold” is actually a Sparklehorse song which I had always loved, so I did a cover of it. The third song “Wish You Were Gone” was actually done with Mac DeMarco on the drums. Me and Mac had been friends for a while and I had always wanted him on one of my songs, so I just asked him if he wanted to play drums or something and he agreed. The last 2 songs on the EP “It’ll Never Stop” and “Chest Full Of Dying Stars” I recorded at home by myself.
9. “Tell Me” is your most recent single. What would you like your fellow humans to tell you? What inspired this single?
I want my fellow humans to tell me they love me, but also they need to tell everyone else that they love them too. I guess that’s kinda what inspired this song, my need for love and acceptance but also my selfish want for it too. I wanted to try and write something that people could relate to and put their own meaning in. It’s my favorite song I’ve written, I probably worked on it for at least a couple months before it was completed and I was happy with it.
10. What does an Adam Kimball show look like?
An Adam Kimball show is mellow and light, I want it to be like I’m visiting with someone and I’m playing guitar for them. I don’t want my concerts to be huge or crazy, just calm, mellow, good vibes. I’ve only played a few shows, but I’m eager to play more and share my music with people.
11. What is on the horizon for Adam Kimball?
I’m starting work on a new album, like a good proper album that I’m going to be putting a lot of TLC into. I’ve been lucky enough to get some new higher end gear recently, so I’m excited to put that all to use, it’s going to sound great. I also have the pleasure of working with some really talented people on this upcoming album. I’m hopeful about it, and I think people will like it.
12. Where can readers listen to your music?
You can find my music on any music streaming platform! I encourage everyone to listen and join me in my musical journey.