Kailynn West of Tiny Stills Opens Up About Writing "Laughing Into the Void": "I Wasn't Afraid to Get Loud and Angry This Time"
Power pop band, Tiny Stills are gearing up for an incredibly busy 2018, kicking off with the release of their sophomore album, Laughing Into the Void on June 1st. The follow-up to their 2014 debut release, Falling Is Like Flying, Tiny Stills' newest release finds front woman, Kailynn West bearing her soul on songs like "When I'm With You" (which can be heard below) and experimenting with new sounds on others. The result is a release that was well worth waiting for (and worth the challenges West faced while writing it).
In celebration of the album's release, Tiny Stills will be playing a short run of shows in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and San Diego, followed by a full national tour (dates TBA) and even a performance at this year's FEST in Gainesville. With a busy year ahead of them, Tiny Stills are showing no signs of slowing down. Get to know them (and listen to some new music) below before they come to your city this summer.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Tiny Stills for any readers who might not be familiar?
Tiny Stills is a project that I started after being held up at gunpoint in 2013. It's been a revolving cast of musicians around me since then, but we've settled into a consistent band now (Tony Thaxton on drums, Harry Foster on Bass, and Zach Comtois on guitar). All of the songs I've released have helped me deal with the fallout of one bad situation or another and come from a really personal place. The name comes from the idea that each song captures a small moment in my life in a really raw and honest way. I might not feel that way anymore, but at one point I did.
What goals did you have in mind for this when you were first starting out as Tiny Stills? How do you feel they’ve evolved a few years down the road?
When I did my first Kickstarter in 2013, my goal was to just finish the record. In 2015 I was touring as a keyboard player for What's Eating Gilbert (Chad Gilbert's band) when they had to drop off the tour because of a family emergency. The headliner for the tour, Anthony Raneri, and I had been talking and sharing music in the van already and he asked if I wanted to finish the three week tour. He had heard music from the first record and liked it and so I said yes with no merch and no guitar. A.W. was also on the tour and let me borrow their guitar for every set for the tour, and I sold Thank you cards at the merch table and handed out napkins with my social media info on it. I really owe a lot to the both of them for inspiring me to tour with this project. Those three weeks inspired me to make a second record and really try to get back out there and tour. I owe a lot of that to A.W and Anthony Raneri for helping me.
You’re getting ready to release your new album, Laughing Into The Void this summer! What are you the most excited for listeners to hear on this release?
The bridge on "Let's Fall in Love" is one of my favorite moments of the record, It's already inspiring thoughts for third record. "Small Talk" is another favorite because it perfectly summarizes how I feel almost every day. "My Skin" has Sara Watkins on violin on it and she was fantastic to work with. Steve Soboslai (Punchline) and Anthony Raneri (Bayside) cowrote "Colorblind" with me. I'm eternally grateful for the people who lended their talents to this and I have a lot of favorite songs on it.
It being your sophomore album, was there anything you wanted to accomplish with Laughing Into The Void that you haven’t had the chance to do before?
Originally I wanted to work with a producer. Andy Freeman produced two of the songs (La La and Colorblind) but because of conflicting schedules I had to finish the record by myself. I got the chance to self produce and that was challenging and fun. I also wanted to make a pop/rock record and I think we did.
How do you feel you’ve grown between Falling Is Like Flying and Laughing Into The Void? What changes can fans expect?
Falling is Like Flying is less aggressive. The first record is more indie/pop, but I think Laughing into The Void is a pop/rock record. I wasn't afraid to get loud and angry this time.
Were there any challenges you came across when working on the album? If so, how did you overcome them?
Scheduling was an issue. Andy Freeman moved to Nashville after we had started the process, and the studio we were originally going to track in was having delays in building so we had to find a new studio and I had to self produce a lot of it.
You recently released “When I’m With You” from the album, which has a great backstory. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired the song?
I really wanted (my now husband and drummer in the band) Tony Thaxton to like me! We were friends and I had a crush on him and I wrote a song about it. I originally wasn't even going to show it to anyone, but eventually when I found out he liked me too I sent him this song like "actually I wrote a song about you once do you want to hear it?" and he liked the song (He doesn't always) and then I got the guts to play it at a show and people came up to me specifically to tell me that they felt that way about their significant others, so I decided that I would keep playing it.
With the album out soon, do you guys have any shows coming up or tour dates in the works?
Our record release show is May 31st at the Hi Hat in Los Angeles, and we're doing some shows in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and San Diego with our friends Sundressed and Crooked Teeth (depending on the show.) We are doing a full national tour in August/September and are currently booking it! We're probably coming to your city or close to it so follow Tiny Stills on Bandsintown if you want to get an alert when we are coming through, or sign up for our newsletter at Tinystills.com. We always post tour dates as soon as we have the info and I'm really excited to be out there again playing shows.
Do you have any other big plans or goals for 2018?
We're playing FEST in Gainesville in October and we're doing a short week tour of the east coast then too so we're really excited to be doing our first festival.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I'm super proud of this new record so I hope you all like it. I also do Patreon, so if you want to connect with me there I make videos and do journals and stuff there too. Having Patreon helps me to be able to tour and travel too. You can find me at Patreon.com/TinyStills and you can find me @tinystills on all social media. Thanks for having me!