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Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Wednesday 13th February, 2013 12:56PM

Cemeteries is the New York-based solo project of musician Kyle Reigle. Inspired by horror films and eerie situations his output is appropriately whispy, off-putting even. UTR caught up with Reigle to discuss the Cemeteries project to date, the importance on the visual output of the project and what he hopes to achieve in 2013.

Before Cemeteries you were in a band Mutiny on the Belafonte, yeah? Tell us about the end of this project and your decision to start Cemeteries.

Mutiny on the Belafonte was my high school band. We were pretty bad but it was a lot of fun. I think there's a few terrible demos drifting around the internet that I hope nobody ever hears. It basically ended because we all graduated and were doing different things. I stopped working on music altogether because I wanted to be a filmmaker but I was eventually inspired to start recording again and The Wilderness came out of that.

Did you know the kind of sound you wanted to explore when you started Cemeteries, or was it more organic than that?

I wrote most of my songs on an acoustic guitar and it started as more of a folk project. Once I started recording the tracks, I experimented with synthesizers and realized that I wanted to go in a completely different direction. The album ended up completely different than I had originally planned and the songs are still changing as we figure out live arrangements.

Are there any ongoing sources of inspiration or influences in the Cemeteries project? Musically or otherwise?

Musically, I'm inspired by too many musicians to even begin listing. I'm heavily influenced by old horror films, dreams and weird stuff in general. Some of those influences are carrying over and will always be ongoing but I'm discovering new ones every day.

You're working as a solo artist now when you were previously in a band: tell us about the differences and what you're enjoying about being a solo artist.

It's a completely different experience. When I was in Mutiny on the Belafonte, I'd write a song and bring it to the rest of the band and we'd figure out how to play it. Now, I write a song, record it how I want and then we figure out the arrangements after the fact. It's a lot more exciting this way because on record, the tracks are my brain-children but live, it's a much more collaborative situation.

You released your album The Wilderness at the end of last year. Tell us a little bit about writing and recording that one - was there a particular direction / sound / theme you wanted to explore?

I started writing new songs after I watched the show Twin Peaks. I recorded a quick album called Speaking Horrors that got decent exposure but wasn't completely satisfied so I started working on something new. I wanted to explore what I was feeling which was isolation and homesickness. Almost every description about my album that I've read has used the word 'wandering' which is exactly what I was going for. A sense of feeling lost.

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now I'm writing a lot of stuff. I've been working on screenplays which I haven't done since 2009. I tried writing some short stories but found out I'm pretty terrible at it. On top of that, I've been writing the new album and some songs for a side-project.

You're based in Buffalo, NY, and from what I've been reading about you the natural landscape has provided a lot of inspiration for your work? Tell us a little bit about where you come from, what is inspiring about it, and whether there's a music scene or community there.

I was born in Medina, NY which is about 45 minutes away from Buffalo. I moved there a few years ago. The area I lived in was actually pretty nice, it was almost a suburb but there are a lot of industrial/eerie areas in the city. It almost feels like the film Eraserhead. There's a music scene and there's a lot of great musicians creating stuff right now. When I made The Wilderness I kept to myself so I don't really feel like I'm part of that community. While a lot of musicians in the area get out and play as much as they can, I tried to get out there on the internet and the live shows were an afterthought.

There seems to be an emphasis placed on the visual accompaniment to your music output: tell us a little bit about the visual element, why it's important to you and the kind of work / mood / atmosphere you're trying to evoke with it.

I think every album should put you in some place, visually. If it doesn't take you away or make you feel anything, then it's not for you. I wanted my album to feel desolate. Pessimistic and optimistic at the same time. I wrote and recorded most of it before I knew it'd be released through Lefse Records so it was mostly made for myself as a sort of meditation and I'm really glad people have been responding well to it. The next album has an even more visual component and I can't wait to start recording it.

The video for 'Young Blood' is awesome: tell us a little bit about that.

The 'Young Blood' video went through a lot. It started as a different concept completely. Alessandra Hoshor kept working on it more and more until it evolved into the final product. I loved watching her experiment with different ideas and I love the video. I think the three videos for my songs this year were all really great and different. 'Summer Smoke' was very straight-forward and it's the only one I actually co-wrote with the director. 'The Wilderness' really spoke well to my album and captured its feeling extremely well which is strange because he made it as a short film way before the album was created. At this point, I'd love to work with those three directors for the rest of my musical career.

Looking ahead to 2013: what are you hoping to achieve with the Cemeteries project?

I hope to release the new album by the end of the year but I'm not putting any pressure on myself. We might do SXSW and we'll hopefully start touring a bit more extensively but I have no idea where things are heading right now. Either way, I'm really excited.


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