With lockdown still on the go, many of us will have had the same jeans on, for four days now….
Fans of Dyrburgh’s rebellious rockers The View will recognise the lyrics above from one of the band’s most famous tracks from their smash-hit debut, Hats Off to the Buskers.
Fourteen years on, with four further albums with The View, a solo EP and an album, as well as two children, Kyle has certainly changed from his hedonistic early days as the 20-year-old frontman of one of Britain’s most popular bands.
In July 2018, Kyle released his debut solo album No Thank You.
The album reached number one in the Record Store Chart within days of its release, and entered the top 40 in the UK Album Chart, with a sell-out tour in venues in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, and, of course, Dundee.
The record went on to win Best Solo Album at the Scottish Music Awards.
Kyle, 32, sat down for an online interview, discussing his time with The View, his latest release – a five-track EP featuring covers of songs by Fleetwood Mac, Shania Twain, Tina Turner and others – and life on lockdown.
Explaining his process to writing songs, he said: “I’m always working on music. I’m actually doing more stuff now than I would normally do.
“Normally I wait for the new chapter and for the right time and go away and just write a bunch of songs, but I’ve just been getting a lot of time to write.”
Kyle said he had also used the time off the road to learn more about the software used to produce music.
He said: “I mean, I write all the time anyway but I’ve been learning more about using my computer and stuff. Normally I just find someone who can do that for me and I just do the crazy stuff.
“I’ve been FaceTiming with my pal (musician Stevie Anderson) Stevie Ando, who plays guitar for me, and he’s been doing some stuff, it’s pretty cool, just learning how to operate stuff.
“For years I was like, ‘I’ll never be able to do that, you need to go to college to learn all this’, but I’ve kind of learned how to use the programmes and stuff so it’s OK.
“So I’m getting more into that, but at the same time it’s not really a thing for me, I’m only doing it right now because I have to, it bores me to tears…(at times) I’m throwing mics off walls!”
Kyle said that writing and producing the 2018 solo album No Thank You was a unique experience for him.
“It was a self-release, which I’ve never done before,” he said.
“It was a cool time, it was the first time I’ve solely produced on my own so that was cool. It was like a concept album – with The View stuff we never really had a consistent sound because there’s so many opinions in the band.
“That’s why we were quite radical and had noisy sets – it was outrageous, some of the stuff, which I love, but (on No Thank You) just me playing the instruments and keeping on my own, we kind of got a consistent sound.
“By the end of it, touring it, I kind of got bored because I missed The View. It was good to get away for a bit but I missed the boys and I missed the craziness on stage, and I missed the crowds. The crowds are just crazy – I miss all that.
“So it was more chilled. Well, I wouldn’t say chilled, but it was more ‘loosey-goosey’ rather than erratic noise with 20 amps behind you!”
On his former bandmates, he said, fondly: “We still speak, everyone is doing their own thing. I think, with The View, we never really took a break when we were supposed to, because we always lived day-by-day, and then we were like, ‘Oh we need to do another tour now’.
“So even when we were supposed to have time off we did this greatest hits thing once we got back into America, and we were touring there – we shouldn’t really have been touring there, we were just non-stop.
“Because we had so many different managers, every time we had a new manager they were like, ‘right, we’re going to make it, we need to tour’, so we never really had a consistent plan, so I think we needed that wee break. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Discussing lockdown, Kyle said the restrictions had given him a chance to enjoy home life.
He said: “It’s not bad. It’s kind of good being in a routine and not having to worry about touring, or rehearsing. Normally I’m looking for my next scheme or what I’m going to do next…so I’ve had a lot of time to write and spend time with my kids.
“I was in America (when coronavirus became a pandemic), I was planning on staying out there for a bit so I had to come home which was a bit of a downer, but it makes you appreciate Scotland and how beautiful it is, the great weather – its been class.
“It was a bit scary to start with, all this lockdown stuff, but once time goes on, everyone’s a bit more chilled about the whole thing. But at the start, we had to get home ASAP, it was quite scary.”
Almost Pleasant, the five-track EP released last year, features covers of some of Kyle’s favourite tracks, including songs he sings to his family.
So what makes a male vocalist from Dundee try and tackle songs by Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks and Shania Twain?
“It was done in Thailand, which is always enjoyable,” said Kyle.
“It was just me and Stevie Ando that went across, and the only (track) I had was What’s Love Got To Do With It.
“It was funny, telling Stevie, he said, ‘We can’t sing it in the same key’, and I said, ‘Why not?’.
“He said, ‘Because it’s too high – we’ll never be able to do it’.
“I was determined to get it in one take, no drinking or anything before it, and I did it. Stevie said, ‘You won’t be able to do that live’, and I said, ‘I can sing that live nae bother’.
“It was funny, when I was doing stuff in The View, the more that The View went on I started showing off my voice a bit more, because I was brought up with singers, our whole household sung and did harmonies.
“So, especially in the first View record, there were no harmonies in that, and I gradually eased them in, record-by-record, and started singing a bit more soulfully.
“That’s my thing, I like singing, but when The View were first out, it was more a rock/punk thing. Then I was like, ‘Actually I’m a pretty-good singer, I need to appreciate that more’.
“But all those songs from the EP…I love Shania Twain.
“You’ve Got A Friend in Me – I always sing that to my daughter – when I was over (in Thailand), those were the ones I came up with on the spot, and ones I was always doing at parties and stuff.”
Regarding future projects, Kyle remained tight-lipped but said there was “loads of stuff going on” and fans would “need to wait and see what comes next”.
After performing part of indie classic Live Forever by Oasis on the ukulele, and a surprise cameo from his young daughter, Kyle ended the interview by saying: “I’d like to say thanks to all the NHS workers, (including) my sister and my niece who are always on the frontline, which is class, everyone is doing a great job.
“And the ambulance service, who I’ve been trying to get a message to for ages on Twitter but it hasn’t been working. But thanks very much to everyone, and hopefully we’ll get out of this soon.”
Support the Tele today.
The Tele is Dundee Born and Read, and is committed to providing news to our communities. Right now that’s more important than ever, which is why our key content is free. You can chose to support us and access premium content by subscribing to the Evening Telegraph from just £5.99 a month.Subscribe