by Harlin Anderson
While bellied up to the bar at local haunt Dan’s Silverleaf the other day, talk turned to the first single, “Notion," from the forthcoming Spooky Folk album, Youth is a Notion. As if on cue, the Miss Petra Kelly entered the building. It didn’t take long for her phone – containing said single – to get hooked up to the bar’s PA system. It took even less time for most of the crowd to stop what they were doing and start listening. We fell hard for the new track, so we fired up the interwebs for a remote chat with recently relocated Spooky front man, Kaleo Kaualoku, on music, getting old, and life in the mountains.
The new album – especially this first single – deals heavily with the concept
of youth. Is this something coming from your own life - or a response to a
trend you see in the world today?
Kaleo Kaualoku: It's definitely something that comes from me. I always carry a bit of self-doubt when it comes to my accomplishments, and the older I get, the less I feel I've done. Even though this is an irrational paranoia, I think the concept that time is running out is something that drives a lot of people to do more, be more, try more, etc... I'm basically trying to be a hopeful cynic, stressing that if you've squandered your time so far, there's nothing to be done but get up and do something about it. Time will not pity you.
The song also lets me approach youth from another perspective - it kind of sucks. Let's face it, we all did/said/thought stupid, inane things in our late teens/early twenties. I still do, but a bit of age and experience have severely reduced the frequency that said vapidity exits my mouth. A big part of me is glad that I won't ever be twenty one again.
The first line of "Notion" is fantastic kick in the teeth. How did you arrive such a crushing starting point?
KK: I like the idea of starting the song off with the bummer of a statement that your youth is not going to last forever, and you are going to get old and die. I know it's not revelatory by a long shot, but sometimes being blunt is pretty heavy and effective.
There is an unmistakable 90's vibe radiating from this single. Is that a conscious decision? How does that mesh with the prevailing theme of youth?
KK: It wasn't on purpose. It's really just the natural result of Spooky Folk becoming more of a rock band. I remember that while writing the music I thought that it kind of sounded like a Weezer song. Maybe that's a connection to youth, replicating my 9th grade playlist?
"It's true we're fighting to lose" is a fascinating line. It's got the potential to be bleak as hell, but it doesn't quite play out with the sense of resignation we'd expect. What's going on there?
KK: It's acknowledgement of the futility of our desire – while also affirming that we're still alive, fighting for something.
"I'm looking forward to the things that come to pass/ Even though they never really seem to last" is probably the most bizarrely upbeat/hopeful part of "Notion." Moments may be fleeting, but is it possible to carry over or hold on to the joy we get from them?
KK: It most definitely is! I'd say that the memory of the moment is better than the original event itself. It's all that we'll ever really have of that moment in time. But that's just half of the meaning. The flip-side is meant to be taken with a bit more pessimism. We have things to look forward to, but they'll just happen and be over, so why really care? I like to imagine that this song is being sung by a sarcastic Debbie Downer.
You recently moved to Colorado. How does that complicate the process of completing an album - or even simple things like practicing?
KK: Luckily we finished tracking the majority of the album before I left. This summer has been spent with the rest of the band wrapping up a few loose recording ends, a few still remaining. Me being out here has slowed us down a little bit in that I'm not able to give instant feedback on a take or what have you. But we're still on track to release this album by the end of the year.
What do you miss most about Denton?
KK: I miss my friends. I miss the feeling of community. I miss being able to walk into a club and find a friendly face. But most of all, I miss the tacos, particularly La Estrella. Please go give those wonderful people your patronage as often as you can!
Any plans to come back and visit - maybe even play a show - anytime soon?
KK: I'll definitely be back to visit soon! No Spooky Folk in Denton for the immediate future, but there are some exciting things happening and upcoming announcements. In the meantime, people should go check out the other bands that SF members are a part of! Jesse has Tiger, Tooth, and Paw; Scarlett is in New Science Projects and Fishboy; Petra is in all of the bands.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to give “Notion” a listen, we suggest you rectify that oversight with a quickness. It’s one of our favorite jams of the summer, and it’s sure to remind certain age demographics of that oh so sweet spot in life known as the 90’s. We think it’s the perfect soundtrack for a cold beer and a ramble down memory lane – however old or young you happen to be.
Spooky Folk Is: Kaleo Kaualoku, Jesse Clay Perry, Petra Kelly, Scarlett Wright, and Chris Brown
Get the lowdown on all things Spooky here.
Youth is a
notion that is crooked as crime
Death lies in waiting in these shadows of mine
Don't try to argue with aging or fate
The end is then hurried rather sooner than late
We're all just drowning in this passing time
The reasons burn but will not be defined
I'm looking forward to the things that come to pass
Even though they never really seem to last
It's true we're fighting to lose
It's hard to swallow the truth
The sun will stop burning when the day comes to end
Fires extinguish but then ignite again
Our time is stolen it was not meant to last so
Enjoy what we've taken 'cause the end's coming fast
Harlin Anderson is the underground BBQ champion of Denton, Texas. When he's not digging through crates of vinyl at Recycled Books or Mad World Records, he can be found manning the smoker on the back patio at Dan's Silver Leaf - or wherever there are hungry musicians. His lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three furry children: Earl, Jake, and Nanette the Pocket Beagle. He prefers to stay comfortably within the Denton city limits at all times.