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Feature Interview: Danny Harley of The Kite String Tangle

The Kite String Tangle

AAA's Hannah has a chat with Danny Harley of The Kite String Tangle about his upcoming solo tour, life on the road and his new single.

Most of us know you as being apart of the band Pigeon, is The Kite String Tangle a side project for you? How did it come about?

Yeah TKST is a side project that's about a year old however I've been rattling around this area of music for a while now. I've always liked evocative music and when I discovered how well it goes together with various electronic elements it became something that I would make quite regularly. I've only recently given it a name and started releasing music though.

Where did the name The Kite String Tangle come from?

The Kite String Tangle is a name that I've had for a while and it used to be the name of an ambient project of mine. Since then the music changed but the name stuck. For me it represents innocence, nostalgia and complication and these sorts of themes are themes that I hope people also feel when listening to my music. However, I also love to hear other people's interpretations.

How would you describe your sound?

I guess something vague and intriguing like down-tempo/electronic or alternative/electronic or even chillwave. I don't really mind how other people describe my music or categorise it. The important thing is to get people to listen to it and form an opinion. If that has happened then I'm a happy man.

So you’re about to embark on your first solo headlining tour of Australia, how does that feels?

It's a mixture of nerve racking and exciting and humbling. I think it's kind of nice to be able to travel and play your music for people when it's something that so many people want to do. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing though and to be honest I thrive off of the nerves. A good kind of anxious.

What can we expect from your new EP?

Well I'm hoping to drop my debut EP around january or february next year so it's an exciting time. I'm sitting on a lot of half done songs so I'm interested to find out which direction they'll go. Any release is sort of a time capsule of the particular time and place you were at when you wrote the music so I'm excited to release my first EP and be able to reflect on it in 6 months time.

I have read that your background is in production and composition, has that played a big part in the way you approach writing and recording?

For sure, I mean I didn't really know what electronic production was until I tried to record my various bands and that just opened up the entire production world and being a guitarist sort of drifted away but now production is just like a guitar for me in that it's the tool I use to write music. It's a great instrument with almost no limits and more people have access to a computer than to instruments so I think the next few years of production will be very interesting and innovative.

I have had a listen to your new single ‘Given The Chance’ and It’s a great track. I really enjoyed the way you have played with layers of sound. Its deep and atmospheric – was this a deliberate path you chose or did it just turn out that way?

I tend to accidentally fall into a trap in which I add layer upon layer during the writing process and then when I'm refining it later I find myself thinking 'what the hell, why is this part even in here' and generally trying to make the track a little less layered. So generally they just sort of turn out that way but I'm trying to focus more on writing songs with limitations.

Sampling is a big part of electronic music these days. Have you ever record samples live to use in your tracks?

Definitely. At the start of the year I travelled around europe (just for fun) and took my portable hand held microphone and gathered samples there. Over the years I've built a pretty big base of my own samples which I try to use as often as possible because they're heaps more fun to use.

With all the sampling, what does your set up look like when you perform live?

I have a MIDI keyboard, a laptop, a keyboard sampler (takes samples and pitches them across a keyboard), some pads and faders and knobs, some vocal effects and a drum sampler pad that I hit with sticks. I have to take a lot of cables on tour haha.

Do you have any plans to make you live show into a big production with a whole percussion section – like Gotye did on his last tour?

I have no visions as grande as that just yet but hey the year isn't over yet. I'd like to expand to create more energy on stage and make my set more dynamic but I don't think I'm about to be touring with strings or anything like that until I can afford to fly that many people around haha.

There has been a lot of buzz around you remix of Lorde’s single tennis court, why did you choose this track?

I really like this track because it's so focused on the composition. It's a very stripped back song and stands on it's own. I wanted to try and take that idea and somehow make it my own.

What types of music were you exposed to growing up?

My parents are big Beatles fans. Had a lot of that around the house. When I started making my own way in music I listened to a lot of pop punk, and heavier stuff. Then I moved on to being in rock bands and then I liked Jazz. There's really no rhyme or reason to it. I think I may be weird.

Do you feel that music has shaped the type of artist you are today?

Yeah definitely. In saying that though I've always been attracted to the acoustic song on the album or evocative music in general. I think it's a case of nature v.s nurture.

Recently you have been on tour with the likes of Gold Panda, RUFUS and Owl Eyes – What’s a bitch and a brag moment from touring with these acts?

Yikes. hmmm....Well I guess I could brag about getting to check out all of Gold Panda's gear when we played together. That was pretty cool to get a glimpse into the clockwork of an internationally renowned beatmaker. As for a bitch moment, I'm kind of stumped. I went out with Rufus one night and we went to different clubs and I could never find them again. But that's probably just because they were doing something awesome. I can't say anything bad about those guys because I love them and have known them for years haha.

So your heading on tour through out November, can we expect to see you on any festival stages this summer?

None have been confirmed yet but I'm hoping to grab a last minute slot at something over new years. We'll see. Otherwise I won't have anything to do over New Years. AAA backstage party perhaps?

If you haven't done so already, check out these new tracks from The Kite String Tangle:


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