Snack Time with Kyle Duke

With music that's perfect parts moody and psychedelic, Kyle Duke is a young, burgeoning force on the New York DIY scene. While attending NYU, Kyle has managed to record and release his first album, Snack Time, a guitar-drenched dream reminiscent of The Beatles. Hoping to continue along the 60's, homegrown path paved by his first album, Kyle will be releasing his second album Aquatic Pop in May, with his first single "She's Your Queen" out now. Read my interview with Kyle below, and get to know him before he gets too big/cool for the rest of us:


HER CAMPUS: Can you recall a defining moment that made music important to you?

KYLE DUKE: I don’t think I could pinpoint just one moment. Music has always been so present in my life. Both of my parents are huge music fans, and my dad has an insane record collection. As far back as I can remember, there was always really cool music playing in our house. The Cars, B-52’s, and Blondie were some of the first things I ever remember hearing, so I think that had a huge impact on my identity and is probably why I got super into alternative and punk stuff. My brother and I started playing instruments when we were pretty young. We would jam every day and make these bands together in middle school and high school. It gradually took over both of our lives.

HC: What’s the hardest part of writing lyrics? Easiest?

KD: The hardest thing I found with this batch of songs was revising them to cut down on time and really make every word matter. It’s so hard sometimes to cut whole lines or even verses from a song after writing it, but it’s also so important, especially if those lines don’t live up to the rest of the song. Lyrics were my main focus on this record, which is a way different approach than I had with Snack Time, so there was a lot of pretty monotonous nit-picking. But it was also really fun. I’m not sure that I would say anything in particular is consistently the easiest part. Sometimes great lines will just sort of fall out and other time’s finding just one word to finish a stanza is straight up impossible. But it’s always so much fun.

HC: As someone not originally from New York City, would you say the environment has changed how you view or make music?

KD: I’m so much more productive here. It’s a way more supportive environment. Where I grew up, there was pretty much no music scene, so I always kind of had to create opportunities for myself to perform. And it kind of sucked because after putting in all of the work to rehearse, find a venue, and put on a show, only like 2 or 3 people would actually come out. It was super frustrating. Once I moved to New York, I got super into the DIY scene. It was the same stuff that I was doing in high school, but people actually came out, and there were so many other people just as passionate about it as I always was. Life is also way more fast-paced here, so I feel like I’ve had a lot more experiences that have led to me writing a lot more songs. I guess New York can be super depressing sometimes, too, but I work a lot better here, and people actually respond to it.

HC: Who are your influences? Should an artist even have influences, or is better to focus solely on what you’re making?

KD: Influences are super important. I think it’s especially important to have a lot of them. Taking little bits of inspiration from a really eclectic mix of other artists and genres is how you really stumble across something cool and unique. Personally, my biggest influence is probably The Beatles. I go through cycles of getting super into one or two Beatles albums at a time, and when I was writing and recording this record, those albums were Help and Rubber Soul. The songwriting on those records especially really resonates with me. The National are a huge influence lyrically. There’s something so elegant and vivid about Matt Berninger’s songwriting that I really strive for in my own lyrics. There’s so many more, too. David Bowie’s records from the 70’s have always had a big influence on how I produce and mix my songs, particularly the vocals. Nirvana is probably the biggest influence on the sort of energy that I try to bring to my live set. I like a lot of stuff and I think it’s good to draw specific things from the stuff you like.

HC: What was the best show you’ve played?

KD: My band and I played a show at Shea Stadium a few months ago that was pretty wild. I’ve wanted to play there since high school and it was one of the biggest and most engaged crowds ever, so that kind of felt like a dream. We had a really cool show this past weekend, too. We played at this place in Park Slope called Halyards. It’s this bar that just opened a DIY venue in their basement, kind of like Alphaville. It was, like, the second show put on there, but the room had such a vibe and the crowd was super fun, so hopefully it’ll become kind of a happening place.

HC: Is Donald Trump a lizard person? Probably, right? 

KD: Absolutely.


Find Kyle online: 

Spotify: Kyle Duke and The Brown Bag Boys


Instagram: urboykyleduke

Twitter: urboykyleduke