This week, AjiSignal catches up with Aaron Kyle and Maria from Le Switch. One of the fastest growing local bands, in L.A.‘s east side music scene, Aaron and Maria sat down for a bit and discussed (among other things) their upcoming LP, Los Angeles and its various sub-sets, and their own Phil Specter ! (kinda)
AjiSignal: The past twelve months have seen a steady rise in all things related to Le Switch. How has this momentum felt as a band?
Aaron Kyle: It’s been great! We’ve just been trying to play a lot shows and get the word out.
Maria: It’s been nice to be getting positive feedback about the stuff we’ve been doing. I think we’ve been spending more time together working on newer songs.
AjiSignal: Has the Internet played much of a role thus far, or has the momentum been more on a local and/or live level?
Aaron Kyle: Well, it’s been a good mixture of both. I think the internet has played an instrumental role in the momentum..such as blogs and stuff supporting us locally; gets people talking.
Maria: It’s definitely made it easier to expand our fan base.
AjiSignal: Speaking of the Internets, what are your thoughts on the relative ease of accessing information? Do you think the access to MySpace, MP3s, etc has changed the landscape compared to a few years ago?
Maria: Definitely. But I personally hold more stock in a band’s ability to perform live than tunes that I hear on someone’s MySpace page.
AjiSignal: You guys are presently at work on your debut LP. How is that going?
Aaron Kyle: Going great; it’s been a lot of fun. We did the first round of vocals yesterday, and I must say, they sound awesome. Maria came by and brought beer to soothe my throat and mind. It was very nice.
Maria: I am a very nice person.
AjiSignal: Tell me, how is this recording different from the work on the Hello Today EP, the band recorded last year?
Maria: I think it’s going to have much fatter of a sound. Josh did some really awesome arrangements for string trio for a few songs, and and also arranged the horn parts for a few others.
Aaron Kyle: It’s a marathon as compared to a walk around the block. Fatter definitely.
AjiSignal: Has consistently playing live shows throughout the past year really paying off in the studio this go ‘round?
Aaron Kyle: Yeah definitely. We actually know the songs before going into recording sessions. They’re arranged beforehand and not on-the-spot like we did on the Hello Today ep.
AjiSignal: Your own Joe Napolitano is producing the album. What is Joe’s production style like?
Aaron Kyle: Joe is so drunk, he beats us up, throws shit at us.
Maria: Joe is great!
Aron Kyle: Last night he hit me with a mirror cause I couldn’t get the part right!!
AjiSignal: Ha, so he get s bit Phil Spector on you guys?
Aaron Kyle: He gives Phil a run for his money.
Maria: He did let me arrange a glockenspiel part for him, so I let him hit me now and then.
Aaron Kyle: You ever heard that song “He hit me (and it felt like a kiss)”? That’s what Joe’s production style is like.
Maria: Joe and I were talking about that song the other day. About how there are no songs anymore sung by girls that are just about how much they like some guy.
Aaron Kyle: Or about supporting your husband who beats you! (laughs)
AjiSignal: Let’s talk about roles within the group…Maria, do you see yourself singing at some point? A la Kin Deal when she was in The Pixies?
Aaron Kyle: She has a new song that we’re gonna try and get on this or the next record. It’s really sassy – jazzy and sassy.
Maria: Yeah I guess that one I would have to sing; Aaron would sound just too tall.
AjiSignal: Maria, what are some of your most obvious musical influences?
Maria: Hmm, I was was raised on classical music but rock wise I am a huge Johnny Cash fan. I’ve been revisiting my Elvis records lately. I love the coasters, a lot of all that good old fashioned stuff you can really dance to.
AjiSignal: Now that the band has been together for a couple of years, has there been a convergence of influences, etc amongst the members?
Aaron Kyle: Well, sorta, Joe and I have pretty similar influences; Josh listens to everything, and Chris and I agree on most music.
Maria: Josh and I used to write musicals together.
Aaron Kyle: Chris knows more about music than anyone I know. I can honestly say that every time I bring up someone he’s like ‘oh yeah that guy.’
AjiSignal: Aaron, as a former solo artist, has your songwriting style changed working in more of a collective atmosphere?
Aaron Kyle: Yeah, big time. I don’t have to work as hard; I just get to write sketches and then everyone else writes their own stuff. I don’t tell anyone what to play; it’s really a collaboration. It’s nice that way. Most of the time I don’t even know what I’m playing, or singing, so it helps to have people that DO know what they’re doing around.
Maria: Aaron is the only person I know who can make up lyrics on the spot, and make them sound like words that rhyme.
AjiSignal: Are most of you formerly trained musicians?
Maria: Josh is, and I started playing violin when i was 2.
Aaron Kyle: Chris has a degree in musicology, and Josh has a degree in composition…I have a degree in showing up.
AjiSignal: Let’s talk about Los Angeles. Do you feel like L.A., and/or the local east side scene, plays a role in your music?
Aaron Kyle: I think we’ve been accepted into the east side scene of bands and there’s a lot of great local acts around. But…I think if you believe in what you’re doing even if it isn’t “cool,” then it will find its way.
Maria: A lot of bands in LA have a definite Look to them – particularly bands on the east side. People have commented though that we don’t look like other bands – that we look, rather, like a bunch of clowns.
AjiSignal: Being that this is for the LA edition of AjiSignal, how would you define the current LA “indie sound” if pressed?
Aaron Kyle: Umm, that’s tough, because it’s in pockets. There is the ’60s pop stuff, then there are bands that are pretty rockin’ like the Happy Hollows and Silversun Pickups.
Maria: Slacker Pop.
Aaron Kyle: Ha ha, you know, that’s what I’d call it. I think LA will always have good lazy 60’s pop stuff, which is nice. The Parson Redheads and Broken West have figured it out a little. There also a lot of in between too.
AjiSignal: LA being so huge geographically, I am still surprised at the amount of micro sub-scenes. Highland Park, Eagle Rock, etc. etc.
Aaron Kyle: Yeah, well, then there is the west side. Which is a whole other world. It’s just a completely different thing.
Maria: Yeah i was nervous even just playing the Mint. It was totally out of our geographic norm. My jokes don’t go over as well over there.
Aaron Kyle: The east side reminds of people who fix their broken cars, and on the the west side people just buy new ones. Although is a little indie scene on the west side, it’s just different.
Maria: I feel like we can be dirty over here – I mean like we can sound dirty. We can look a little dirty over here and people don’t respond the same way on the west side.
AjiSignal: Then there is the whole Hotel Cafe scene.
Aaron Kyle: Which is rad. Our friend Emily Wells plays the hotel Cafe a lot — she is great. She’s playing on the new Switch record with Maria.
Maria: It was fun playing with her. We both studied the Suzuki method which is a method of learning to play string instruments that teaches you to learn to play by listening, before you can read music. So we were able to make up some stuff together on the song “Pristine.”
AjiSignal: What do you guys have going on in NYC this month?
Aaron Kyle: We’re going to to play some shows – our buddies Division Day are out there, and I was like…it’d be fun to do go an hang with the homies and play a show. It ended up working out and we got another gig on top of it, and we might play a party.
AjiSignal is a magazine
about new music in cities.