Welcome back to our weekly series, A Chat With, where you get a small peak into the minds of some of your favourite local artists! This week we went and interviewed…our founder, Kyle Stumpo. Kyle is an experimental musician who hasn’t quite stuck with one style of music, he’s involved in a number of other projects that vary in style as well.
1. How would you describe your sound
I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I guess it depends what project you’re asking about, for my solo project I would say that it’s an amalgamation of improvisation, blues, hip-hop, electronic, metal and punk. I don’t want to fit into any specific genre. I feel like genre labels are outdated and with all the sub genres of sub genres we have now, that it’s too convoluted. For Carissa, I would say we sound like Being As An Ocean meets Rise Against with a little Worthwhile thrown in there, at least on my end (vocals). For Good Friends Music Box, we just make whatever we want.
2. Who are your influences?
If you have met me in person you would know that Enter Shikari is my biggest influence. They don’t just influence me musically either. They are all about inclusiveness and community and I strive to live by that. I also get musical influence from City And Colour, Rise Against, Manchester Orchestra, Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits and BB King.
3. What’s on the horizon for you in 2019/2020? Anything exciting happening?
A lot of stuff. I’m working on EPs with GFMB and Carissa. I’m hoping to book a tour in 2020 and I am working on my third studio album for my solo project. I’m also booking a crapload of shows. My next for sure shows are June 9th and July 6th at both Askapunk.
4. How do you make your music? What’s your creative process?
I usually sit down, throw on some City and Colour or Manchester Orchestra and just write. If I’m working on instrumental pieces I put on YouTube videos and just jam while I watch. For Good Friends Music Box I sit down with Johnny and he tells me if he likes the beats I’m creating. That project has a lot of teamwork involved in it which I honestly think makes the music more creative.
5. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Life. I have suffered a lot of loss in the last 3 years and I draw on my feelings of grief and nostalgia quite often. My latest album, The Weight Of Grief, was entirely based off of the passing of my cousin and the start of my relationship with my girlfriend, which both happened in April 2016.
6. How do you deal with those pesky pre-show jitters?
I just embrace them. It sounds weird but I just anticipate them happening and prepare myself for their inevitable arrival and that usually prevents them from being too bad. I also have a very specific pre-show routine. I wake up at 8:00am, eat, do the morning routine, then I spend the day listening to Take To The Skies by Enter Shikari. That album is my favourite album of all time and it really helps me get in the right head space. I arrive at the venue and then I brace myself. I never expect a show to go 100% perfectly, and that helps me calm down as well.
7. What is your favourite venue in Ottawa?
Askapunk and House Of Targ. Askapunk is such a fun place to play because of the cool vibe and intimacy with the crowd, and Targ is well…Targ.
8. Craziest thing you’ve seen at a show?
I have a couple of stories. I was at a Martyrs show and there was this kid, looked to be like 12 years old, just absolutely having the time of his life, I turned around for 2 seconds, looked back and he had been rocked in the pit, he got up like nothing happened and jumped into a picture I was taking. Went to the Shikari show in Ottawa back in 2016, and the crowd was rocking out so hard the venue was entirely filled with steam from the sweat. My friend got Tea Bagged by Chris Batten and Rou Reynolds was literally 2 inches away from me, standing right beside where I was sitting. Wild. Night.
9. If you could tour with any artist, past or present, living or dead, who would it be?
Shikari, Dance Gavin Dance, Silverstein, and Oceans Ate Alaska. Or, Robert Johnson, BB King and Eric Clapton (but I’m nowhere talented enough to be on stage, I’d just watch the magic happen)
10. Do you have any advice for people just beginning their music careers?
Plenty of advice. Don’t let people get you down. Just because someone says your music sucks, doesn’t mean it’s true. Music is art, and enjoyment of art is subjective. What one person loves, another hates. But, you need to take criticism into account when working on music as well. Find that one friend who will tell you what works and what doesn’t and utilize them as much as possible.
Mistakes happen, no show will ever go according to plan. My first show with my old band, our guitarist’s guitar stopped working partway through our second song, so we had to stop and find duct tape and fix it.
Don’t expect sell out crowds at every gig, most of the time at the start of your journey you will be playing to less than 10 people, but don’t let that discourage you, keep plugging away. I have a lot more advice to give so feel free to ask me, I’ll answer you if you message my page.
11. Any shout outs you want to make?
The biggest one is to my aunt Marion. She just recently passed away and she was the most encouraging person in my family when it came to my music career. My beautiful girlfriend Karri for basically forcing me to start making music again, Erik for being one of my best friends and helping me get to where I am, our music careers started out together and I hope we will end them on stage together years from now. Mike Byron for being a dope friend and one of the most under-rated drummers in Ottawa. Johnny boi for helping me out with GFMB and I can’t leave out Noah, Eric, Mike Wood, Lou Di Millo, Dick Cooper and Noi Ya. My Mum for being there for me whenever I need her, and my Dad for being supportive. There are many I’m leaving out because the list goes on forever. But anyone who has ever come to a show I want you to know I appreciate you!
12. Gimme those links!
Bandcamp: https://stumpo.bandcamp.com (my music is on all major streaming sites)