Q&A with Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident

UPDATE: Looks like the hiatus is over. We just received word that the String Cheese Incident will be playing three dates at Red Rocks this summer on July 23, 24 and 25. In honor of today's announcement, we're reposting this archived interview with Hollingsworth from this past December. Enjoy.

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While the monstrously successful String Cheese Incident is on hiatus, Kyle Hollingsworth has confidently grown into his new solo career. Following up on his debut solo release, Hollingsworth recently released his sophomore long player, Then There's Now, to nationwide acclaim and is likely to be listed on more than a few best of 2009 music lists.

Now blends honey smooth vocals with Hollingsworth's trademark funky keyboard lines, mixed with futuristic electronic synth textures, resulting in a few playful SCI-esque tracks such as "All I Need" and "Phat Cat." The rest of the stellar album reaches into modern adult contemporary territory, with emotion filled power ballads like the gorgeous, "Don't Wake Me" and "She." We recently caught up with Hollingsworth for a few questions in advance of his show this weekend at Cervantes'.

Westword (Dutch Seyfarth): The reviews and reception of your newest album have been overwhelmingly positive. How are you feeling about all of that?

Kyle Hollingsworth: I am psyched that it is being received so well. I feel that Then There's Now is a bit more mature than my first solo attempt, Never Odd or Even. It has been a growing experience for me, both as a songwriter and as a vocalist.

WW: The new record is, in some ways, a departure from the sound you're known for in String Cheese Incident. Can you talk about how you came to embrace the electronic-based soundscapes on songs such as "All Inside" and the vintage power-pop ballad flavor of "Don't Wake Me"?

KH: I have always enjoyed sonically interesting albums. From those early Brian Eno records to Beck's Odelay, I dig wide sonic landscapes. So for my record, I wanted to produce a disc that funky and accessible but also still interesting for listening. Since the SCI hiatus, I have been purposefully trying to reach out and connect with great songwriters and musicians. Through these contacts, I've been able to "stretch" my ears a bit and hear new ways of composing music; Then There's Now reflects these influences.

WW: How many songs did you sift through before settling on the final ten songs of the new album?

KH: Good question.. Well, we recorded about seventeen tunes, originally. Once I took them home and worked on the tracks in my studio for several months, I started to develop an image of how the disc was going to look and sound. Then I was able to slowly start making the difficult decisions of cutting songs that did not fit into that final picture.

WW: After so many years playing in the very successful String Cheese Incident, have there been any challenges in building your solo career?

KH: Yes, yes and yes. It can be hard to try to step outside of such an established group like SCI. The fans are wonderful and accepting of all my music, but it is difficult to start from the bottom and work your way up again. If I want to keep up the momentum, I will need to reach out beyond the SCI fan base... That will be the hard part.

WW: Can you tell us who is playing in your band for the upcoming run of shows?

KH: Basically I stole all the members of The Motet: Dave Watts on drums, Garrett Sayers on bass and Dan Schwindt on guitar. I have been so lucky to have these great musicians with me for the last three months.

Kyle Hollingsworth Band, with Euforquestra, 8 p.m. Saturday, December 12, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street, $15-$17, 303-297-1772.

[orig. posted: 12.09.09, 10:19:28]

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