Meet Dallas Garage Rockers Kyoto Lo-Fi
June 7, 2018
In a day and age like today, it is easy to stumble across artists and musicians online. It is a regular occurrence for the youth of today. Yet, even with the overly saturated environment that the Internet can provide with music and art – pure talent and energy can be uncovered. That is exactly the case with how I came across Dallas-based band Kyoto Lo-Fi.
Kyoto Lo-Fi exude sounds meshing between Garage, Punk and Blues Rock with their song “Sabotage” showcasing this blend exceptionally. “Sabotage” is featured on the band’s 2016 EP “Black Rainbow”. Overall, Kyoto Lo-Fi pull together a mass of influences and sounds that cooperate and contradict. Allowing for gritty, pulsating execution and slick, refined rhythms.
The group is made up of Nehuen on drums, Paul on bass, Gabriel on guitar and Nico on guitar and vocals. All of whom I had the privilege of conversing with after a practice session earlier this Spring. We conversed about influences, the formation of the band, struggles and things to look forward to.
Maxwell: To start it off… how’d you all meet and come to form the band?
Paul: Gabe and I met at a bar in Arlington, Texas.
Gabe: Essentially, I was hanging out with some of my friends and seeing another band at this place and I ended up conversing with Paul and he told me he played bass and it kind of went on from there. For a while, we had another bassist that was on his way out for a lack of better terms. So, that’s how Gabe joined and the first show we played with him was at SXSW.
Maxwell: So, where did the name Kyoto Lo-Fi come from?
Nico: We were struggling with some names for a while. We originally decided on “Modern Fuzz” but came to find out that name was taken like a week later. Kyoto Lo-Fi was the name of an album via a solo project of mine. So, we ended up opting for that name. In the beginning, nobody really liked it… but I guess it created its own image in a way.
Maxwell: Right on. Now, I had been talking to Nico prior to the interview about the house show scene… specifically in Denton, can you guys elaborate on your experiences a little bit? Has that grown in the last handful of years? Or since you guys have become a band?
Nehuen: I mean for Denton… it is definitely a part of the culture there. The house show scene has been around forever. The DIY scene is more prominent in Denton than it is in Dallas. I think we can all agree and say that Denton is more fun to play, overall. It’s definitely a “music” city. Dallas is more of an “everything” kind of city. In Denton… you go out there to check out bands and it’s a college town too. So, people are more inclined to go to house shows.
Maxwell: Sounds similar to Bloomington here in Indiana. It’s a college town. There are lots of artists and bands stationed down there. A handful of record labels too. The scene is really growing.
Nehuen: Yes, we have heard of Bloomington. For sure.
Maxwell: So, what have been some overall… inspirations for you guys as a band? What do you find yourselves listening to and taking into your own music?
Gabe: As far as personal tastes for me I like a lot of English stuff. Classic rock. The Smiths, The Beatles, David Bowie. I typically listen to a lot of older stuff. I gravitate towards anything from Motown to Country to R&B. I’m influenced by a wide range of sounds.
Nehuen: Well, Bloc Party’s former drummer Matt Tong has been a big inspiration… for my drumming. He plays really fast and has really good fills. I was never really into The Strokes as much. I was more into Interpol. But… Nico loves The Strokes so I dove into them more. I’ve been appreciating more pops type beats. Simple beats. That can be really really good. It gives the song taste. Phoenix is one of my favorite bands too. We have a large range of inspirations.
Maxwell: I understand. It’s good to listen to as much as you can. Take inspiration from whatever you can. There are so many sounds out there.
So, to kind of jump into the next one… what have been some of the biggest struggles you guys have encountered as a band? Whether it be from playing live or recording or writing new material.
Nehuen: I think one of the biggest ones was the whole bassist situation.
Nico: We were working our way up in the local scene and every so often whatever bassist we had at the time would drop out. So it was definitely a hindrance.
Nehuen: But… we would spend 3 months trying finding a bassist, teach him the parts… then start gigging again and the same thing would happen. Boom. Back to it again. It was a lot of personal stuff at times.
Gabe: There were a number of things. Just with past bassists… whether they didn’t see the musical vision, or we didn’t get along with them the best, or the level of dedication wasn’t there. Things like that.
Nico: However; when Paul came in it all started to click. We all vibed well together. We started to really get moving with this lineup.
Maxwell: At any point through all of this was there a time when you guys had doubts? Thinking that you should maybe give up on the idea of this band?
Gabe: I think… at times when you get lost in the back of your mind, everyone has doubts about things. As an artist… when you get into your head with crippling self-doubt it can be pretty hard. Though, you really have to think positively. Keeping up the inspiration versus the self-doubt.
Maxwell: You guys are doing it for the love of the music. It isn’t always going to be so easy. It’s not an easy path to go down. At least not all the time.
Paul: We have definitely all had to give each other pep talks. It just comes down to supporting each other and loving each other. Making it through.
Maxwell: Well said… and what is next for you guys?
Nico: Hopefully before the year ends… we should have a new project out. New material. Handful of things coming up this summer gig wise. Whenever the new project comes out we are planning on touring as much as possible.
Be sure to check out Kyoto Lo-Fi’s “Black Rainbows” – EP on all streaming services.