Interview: Michael Kenzik

Michael Kenzik is a singer-songwriter out of Los Angeles, CA. His debut album, Death Of A Chain Smoker, was released in May 2010 and is a collection of heart felt songs recorded  by himself by layering guitars and utilizing his unique vocals. Check out the Q & A about the album, his influences, and more…

How did you start playing music?

I started playing music and taking it seriously at around 13 -14 years old. I had taken piano lessons before that,  which I hated,  but around that time I switched to drums and then started playing in bands and became a little punk rocker etc. ; I started playing guitar at 18 so I could write songs and not be at the mercy of the guitar players in the band to hopefully write some good songs. I never had any ambition beyond that on guitar but it soon became addictive…

What is the process of recording your songs for the album “Death of a Chain Smoker” ?

Well pretty simple really.  I’d work on one track at a time until it was finished; seemed like it had what it needed and then do the next one.  And this is also where you have the meeting point between the desire to do something, the limitations, the external limitations that is, and the sort of necessity being the mother of invention thing, all colliding. It’s the same sort of spirit that drives Korduroy TV. You can either wait for this or that or make excuses not to do  something or you just find a way to make it happen. I decided to just make a record by myself without a band or anything and use what was around; some guitars and microphones and stuff and try to make something interesting out of it. So instead of a drum set or a bass or horns or something to make a song complete I’d instead go the other way with it and try to flesh it out with a lot of layered guitars instead. Mother of invention thing again; I think it’s always good to confront limitations and try to do something in spite of it. It’s worth a shot anyway.

Describe an average day for you.

Coffee and music, unfortunately maybe some work, and then beer and music! I’m working on some new tracks so lately I’ve been focused on that.

What does playing music do for you?

Playing music is a lot of work and dedication versus writing music which is more instantly gratifying. It’s the mystery of it and not knowing what’s going to come next that’s the fun part.

Is there a theme to this album? What’s the message or focus?

The song “Death of a Chain Smoker” sums it up basically. It’s not about smoking, it’s really a metaphor for the the things people do all the time in all aspects of life that ultimately do them in. It could be a relationship you’re in or something.  The sword you live by is the sword you’ll die by.

What are your musical and artistic influences?

They change all the time really, but there’s always a few constants. Two of my favorite records of all time are definitely “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young and “Hunky Dory” by David Bowie.


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