Interview: Kyle Duke & The Brown Bag Boys

Published on 6 September 2021 at 13:02

1: What inspires you to create?

All sorts of things. I get bored if I go too long without doing something creative. Whether that’s my own music, producing other artists, or just some totally unrelated writing or visual art, I just need to be making stuff to not lose my mind.

2: Who was the first band/artist that became your favorite band?

It had to be Green Day. My dad used to play a bunch of tunes from Dookie, Insomniac, and Nimrod in the car growing up. My mom didn't love that he did that. I really did. As a young kid who could barely play guitar yet and didn't understand what any of the words in the songs meant, I was drawn to the undeniable attitude in Billie Joe Armstrong's vocals and the complimentary vibe of his rhythm guitar playing, which I still think is tight as fuck. Green Day was my foot in the door for all things punk. When he could tell I was into them, my dad went on to show me his own favorite band The Ramones and from there I set off on a lifelong quest to find shit that was faster, heavier, and more abrasive than the last.

3: If you could go open a show for any artist, who would it be?

Damn there’s too many. Miley Cyrus? She probably sells a lot of tickets.

4: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a creative profession? 

I think it’s important to have an unbreakable confidence in yourself without letting your ego take over. That can be really bad for personal relationships and in a creative industry, the line between personal and professional is forever blurred. You also gotta be adaptable as hell. If you enter your career with a really narrow, specific idea of exactly what success is to you, chances are you might not hit all the marks. Keep yourself open to what comes your way and take it all one gig at a time.

5: Do you feel open minded about what you listen to? Do you like going out of your comfort zone?

Absolutely. It gets boring hearing the same vibe all the time without variation. My friends all have great tastes in music and know plenty of artists that I’ve never heard of. Sharing music is one of my favorite ways to socialize.

6: What outlets do you find out about music from? (Record stores, magazines, samplers, etc.)

Talking to friends, going to shows, Spotify, sometimes even Instagram. I’ll even get into bands and artists if I see a cool T-shirt at a thrift store or something once in a while.

7: How do you feel the internet has impacted the music business?

I think it's done a lot of good and a lot of harm at the same time, but for the most part I'm really grateful to have the internet as a resource in the industry today. Between platforms like DistroKid opening the floodgates for independent artists releasing their work on major streaming sites to social media sites allowing those same artists to network with peers and book DIY tours, I've pretty much relied on the internet (like anyone else today) to cultivate my own career as an artist in a publicity sense, while also expanding my horizons as a music listener.

8: What was the inspiration for your song "Inbred"?

I started writing "Inbred" back in 2018 between tours of all the bands I was playing with at the time. There were a couple years there where I was doing mostly DIY runs that would last maybe a week or two, coming home to New York for a couple weeks at a time to catch up on school work and play local gigs, and then going out on the road again. "Inbred" had started out as a couple of guitar parts that I was kicking around during sound checks or if we stopped into a guitar store. Eventually, after a tour my band did with another band that I also played in called Upright Man, I came back home and wrote the verse lyrics, inspired by how wiped out and not myself I felt after returning from 2 weeks of playing 2 sets every night doing the DIY grind thing.

To be honest it took a really long time to finish the song after I had those verses written, partially because my touring schedule really picked up after another band I play in, BRKN Love, got signed. It was about another year and a half of that song existing as a draft in my journal before I put a lyric to the chorus, which ended up being similarly inspired by feeling absolutely wrecked and not myself after returning from tours, which just kept getting longer and longer. And then 2020 hit and everything sucked even more because it all got taken away, and it was a bummer but at the same time I would feel really guilty and hate myself for being depressed over tour cancelations when so many more people in the world obviously had it so much worse. So, that felt like a good time to record and publish the song.

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