Interview: Kyla Tilley

How are you today?
I’m doing very well today thank you!

For those who may not yet be acquainted with your work, could you elaborate on the essence of your sound and elucidate upon the prominent influencers that have shaped your artistic journey thus far?

I’m a singer-songwriter and guitar player and I call what I do prog-folk. My songs tend to tell stories, with melodies influenced by celtic folk rock, and structures influenced by progressive rock. My big influences are bands like Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, but also singers like John Prine and Judy Collins, and composers such as JS Bach. Mostly I perform solo with classical guitar and voice, but on my albums I will often add bass, drums, and touches of other instruments depending on the song.

In what ways has your geographical surroundings served as a muse for your creative endeavors? Have you observed any discernible impact of your locale on the evolution of your musical expression?

Yes, I’d say my geographical surroundings play a big part in my creative endeavors. I live on the island of Newfoundland, which sits in the North Atlantic ocean on Canada’s east coast. This is a very rugged and harsh, but beautiful landscape. I’m surrounded by wildlife and forests, and there is a real sense of isolation here, but also a strong music community with a strong songwriting tradition. I’m sure I would write very different songs if I lived anywhere else, and indeed, perhaps I would not write songs at all.

Your recent single release has garnered attention. Could you provide insight into the genesis of this record and expound upon the narrative that informs its creation?

I was working with a songwriting prompt that was simply a list of words. I knew enough about the subject to recognize that all the words had to do with skateboarding, but not enough to feel confident writing a song about it. My mind very quickly went to skate, the fish, which we have off our shores here in Newfoundland. Skates have spikes along their spines like a punk has spikes on their clothes, and they are tough, but very graceful creatures.

While reading about their mating practices I very quickly found myself writing from the point of view of a lady skate who is sick and tired of all the posturing and bullying that goes on every year in the skate mating grounds. She finds herself wishing for a mate who makes the most of their underwater environment, riding the rip tide and doing mad tricks on the ocean waves.

How does your latest single distinguish itself within the context of your discography? Furthermore, could you delve into the significance it holds for you personally?

I do a lot of live performances, online and in person, and this became a fan favourite so I knew I wanted to record it. As a narrative, it doesn’t fit in exactly with any of the longer projects I have in mind, so I thought I would release it as a stand alone single instead. It does mark the beginning of a long thread of nature themed songs and EPs that I will be releasing. Personally, I just have fun performing this song so I wanted to get it out there.

What aspirations do you harbor regarding the impression you wish your latest project to leave upon its audience?

I’m hoping that this song will help bring in some new listeners. It’s got a catchy chorus, it’s fun and upbeat, and nothing too weird happens musically, which might appeal to a new audience, but it has my usual wordy storytelling style and slightly odd subject matter so it’s still very much a Kyla Tilley song.

Can we anticipate the emergence of a new EP or, perhaps, an album from your artistic repertoire in the foreseeable future?

Oh yes. This year I’m putting out a series of EPs and singles that will highlight both my more proggy side, and my more traditional singer-songwriter side. Many of the songs have a strong nature theme, (one of the EP’s current working titles is simply ‘Nature.’ ) and one of the EPs is about day to day life, but my day to day life involves a lot of interactions with nature, so it fits that theme.

Looking ahead, what milestones do you envision accomplishing within the forthcoming five years, both artistically and personally?

Artistically, within the next 5 years I’ll put out my 3rd full length album (and maybe also my 4th) and begin touring internationally. On a personal note, I would say running a marathon in the next 5 years is something on my plate.