ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kyle Kenowski
Linneman’s Riverwest Inn have their open mic every Wednesday, and this week their featured artist was singer-songwriter Kyle Kenowski, who has been playing there for a number of years now. Known for his whimsical artistry, Kenowski’s eccentric musical style contains elements of psychedelia, classical, folk, and pop.
He released the album “Need Disease” last November, which was accompanied by an animated music video for the second track “Trustwormy.” The video premiered on Adult Swim.
“I started recording it in 2016; it took a long time because I played all the instruments and I’m not like trained in production or recording and all that so it was very much a trial-and-error process, which is true about all of my projects. I came into this one feeling like I had enough experience where I knew I would really take my time with it and wait until everything feels right. It took about two years to make. I feel very proud of it; I think it’s very detailed and I put everything I had into it. Once I finished it in 2018 I just held onto it and started working on the animation for “Trustwormy.” That animation was another thing where I was just good enough at animation where I knew that if I really took my time with this, I can do something that I won’t cringe at. When you’re making your first projects, sometimes it’s bound to be amateurish, and the naivety of that can be charming, but it’s hard to sell that to people that aren’t really into the music. I’m really proud of that as well. And then fortunately, even though everything came out during coronavirus and I couldn’t play any shows behind it, I was able to sell that animation to Adult Swim.”
He explains why he chose the title.
“I had this old song called “Deedle Eet” and that was just an onomatopoeia thing. It was a really important song to me at the time…I haven’t played it live in years. Then I wrote the song “Needle Deeds” and I sort of on a whim decided to use the cadence of that title and then the entire album was written to circle around the themes of that song, and then when I got done I thought I should name it something that sounds like “Needle Deeds” and then I thought “Need Disease” fit. A lot of people read it like “I need this disease” but the way it’s actually supposed to be is like “a disease of need” and that’s why I named it that.”
Kenowski was on a hiatus from playing shows for some time prior to the pandemic. He explains why, as well as how he’s been re-establishing himself as a performer in the last few months.
“I stopped performing in 2018 because I was so desperate to finish the project…I knew that any performance I play, until I have these things out, I can’t really point to anything on Spotify for people to listen to. So I stopped playing, and then when things got released it was coronavirus. Once the vaccines came out and things slowly started opening up, I started going to the Bremen open mic, Linneman’s open mic, and just talking to people and saying that I will playing any shows they have. It’s the first time in my whole journey where I feel like I’m so ready to play – I have CDs to sell, I have artwork online, and I do a little bit of busking in addition to trying to play as many shows as possible.”
Finally, he shares what people can expect in the coming months.
“I’m working on this album called “Ourugorus Garden” and it’s a Patreon album…the idea there is that for every two songs that I release on Patreon I’ll push one out into the public. Right now I’m actually lagging behind on my output; I have eight songs done on this new album – and they’re all on Patreon (for $1 a month) – but I wanted to be intentional for at least the first couple tracks I release. Even though I’ve had seven songs done for it for a long time and I’d like to have four songs out in public, I just finished the track that I know I want to be track two, so I’m putting that out on September 19th – it’s called “A Transient Thing.” I’m really excited to be working on this album because “Need Disease” was this long, arduous concept album where everything had to be woven together. This new album is more like “The White Album” where each track is totally self-contained…short, colorful, dynamic and expressive but not woven together into a narrative.”
Kyle Kenowski plays Cactus Club tonight for Mr. Nice Guy Presents.