October 2014 (e-mail)
Kirra is a rock band out of Oklahoma City with a style described as "straight up rock & roll". Whatever that might mean to the listener, it's a fact they've been experiencing straight up growth. In their short life they've already opened 3 Doors Down, Saving Abel, Icon for Hire, Primer 55, Screaming for Silence & Kill Devil Hill, while gigging at such venues as the the Harley Davidson Show, Dallas Music Festival & the famous Whisky A Go-Go. In 2014 they released the 4 song EP Sounds From An Empty Room, while a 4 song demo is also available for listening on Sound Cloud. Members of Kirra include Jesse Williamson on vocals/rhythm guitar, Ryne McNeill on bass/backing vocals, Daxton Page on lead guitar & Zach Stafford on drums.l
I remember when I had the chance to go to my first high school reunion. I was fascinated by where my alumni might have gone versus where we expected they would go or what they proposed. That attitude has been with me for many other things including my extensive work promoting up & coming bands like Kirra. I love seeing potential grow & develop & surprise everyone. While a band like Kirra doesn't make you wait long to surprise as in their short history their resume has grown exponentially longer. Thus it's a pleasure to have been able to find out about the energy & experiences behind Kirra with their lead guitarist Daxton Page.
Special thanks to the band's manager Randy Page for making this interview possible & helping bring the band to my attention.
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AJ: KIRRA has been around for a little over a year. What's the band's history?
DAX: Well, KIRRA started out with Zach & I. We were looking for a bass player & a vocalist & had literally turned everywhere to find one. Believe it or not, we found Ryne on Craig's List. He answered our ad & told us his best friend was a vocalist who could play guitar, which was Jesse. KIRRA was literally forged our first rehearsal together. We even just jammed a song that later became a song off our EP titled "Drown" at our first rehearsal. We've been writing & trying to gig ever since!
AJ: You've opened for 3 DOORS DOWN, SAVING ABEL, ICON FOR HIRE, PRIMER 50, SCREAMING FOR SILENCE & KILL DEVIL HILL. Any highlight or story from one of these concert encounters that you can share?
DAX: I think just hanging around with the bands has been amazing! It's good to know famous known acts have humility even through fame. One thing that stands out was the crowd at the 3 DOORS DOWN show! Casino crowds are hard to please & they were with us from the get go. Definitely an unforgettable experience!
AJ: 3 DOORS DOWN is a Billboard Top 10 selling band. Any advice you would tell a band looking for the same type of gigging opportunities?
DAX: Getting that gig was a great opportunity. It helps to talk to & get to know as many people in the industry as possible. You never know who knows who & this is a who you know industry. Luckily we knew somebody in the casino circuit & they needed a band! Right place, right time, right people to know kinda thing.
AJ: Your new 4 song EP Sounds From An Empty Room, with its John Cage-esque title, is laced with deceptively depressing song titles (i.e. "Downfall", "Drown", "Lies", "Forgive Me"), yet the chorus to "Downfall" ("be my fall/be my downfall/I have nothing without you") demonstrates what I call the negative love song - love being described with a negative motif such as loss - which gives the EP to my ears a surprise outcome. Tell me about the writing side of KIRRA. Who does the composing, who does the lyrics & what's your process of creation?
DAX: How we write songs is done a couple ways. We mostly stumble upon riffs or chorus ideas & develop it in rehearsal. Every member of the band throws in their little touch to it. Lyrically Jesse writes 99% of them. The only track that's been recorded that I wrote lyrics for is "Forgive Me". Ryne has also came to me with some lyrical ideas that will be songs sometime soon! So really anybody with an idea comes to the table & we try to expand on it.
AJ: As you are currently work on your new full length album Run Away what can fans expect to hear and how does it differ from Sounds From An Empty Room?
DAX: Run Away is like our equivalent of Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? record. Now when I say that I'm not saying by any means that this record is as legendary as Jimi's but that the way it was recorded. Jimi's first record was very raw & to the point. We tried to be as raw & as us as we could be. It will include songs from the EP & demo, but more updated. That way people can hear the evolution of some of the songs. This record we advise people listen too start to finish. We go through many styles of rock, even threw in a little blues-rock song.
AJ: On Soundcloud is a 4 demo that is much heavier sounding than your EP, on some level. In the year plus you've been together, how has the band grown musically? How have you grown as composers/songwriters?
DAX: Through the past year or so we have kind of come into our own style. We like to keep listeners guessing when listening to songs. You'll notice all our songs are very melody-based but once some sort of breakdown happens it gets very heavy & almost metal in some songs.
AJ: Your demo was posted online only after KIRRA was a few months old. Why did you decide to post recordings up so early, versus waiting longer to hone your band chops?
DAX: Well, basically, once we got those songs down we wanted to get them out so our fans could hear our music somehow & try to spread our music as early as possible.
AJ: Lastly, where does the band name come from?
DAX: The name comes from a beach in Australia. Surfers sometimes say when you're on the board & riding the waves it's easy to get lost in the moment & become one with the ocean. The music is our ocean.