An important part of our culture here at IC is mastering the elusive work/life balance. It’s believed here that in order to be the most productive and creative, we need to strike that perfect mix of the two and strive for the best out of both. One such member of IC is pulling it off quite well. I’ll let Kyle tell you about it.
Kyle, you’ve got a pretty active life?
Oh, I do?
When I brought this interview up, you mentioned talking about your work/life balance. I think out of a lot of people, you balance it quite well.
Well, you’re not dying…
So, talk to me about that. But first, what do you do here at Intuitive?
I’m an Interaction Designer. Most of my background is in advertising and branding, so coming here last year was a little bit of a new thing for me, doing user-centered design.
You did advertising and branding, but not many experiences?
No, I mean I did digital experiences…most of what I worked on at previous jobs has been digital, especially my last job. [I was] building digital experiences for Smuckers, Crisco, and Pillsbury. You know, big brands, big consumer brands, and I built digital experiences for them. So, I was heavily involved with that in my last job, which kind of lead me here.
Let’s talk a little about your band.
The band I’m in, right. Cruiser. I guess I can say it’s my band. It’s not a band that I started though. Andy States, who had been writing songs over the last two years, started the band. Last year, he released a six song EP online that I loved. He had demoed all the songs in his loft in the city and eventually came across a producer named Jeremy Park’s blog. He produced the last Youth Lagoon record and was exposing all his recording processes online. Andy was in the middle of writing his own music and trying to record it himself, so naturally he was very interested and ended up sending Jeremy his demos. Jeremy loved the tracks and offered to produce them for Andy.
Jeremy brought in a session drummer to do the live drums, but all the rest of it is Andy and the recordings he did in his studio apartment. And then because Jeremy Park’s name is involved, you know, dropped on the project, it started to gain a little bit of notoriety on blogs. Then record labels and promoters started reaching out, “hey do you have a live act? Can you play this show?” And he didn’t. Andy was invited to play CMJ Festival in New York, two different showcases, and had no band. So, a month before CMJ, he just said yes to them…
I’ll figure it out later.
“I’ll figure it out,” right. So, Jon and Andy went to college together, I went to college with Andy’s girlfriend at the time, and also worked with Jon. So it was just like a circle of friends and acquaintances. Andy pulled me in on bass, Jon on drums, and then he reached out, actually over Facebook, and got this guy Josa to play guitar, who was another local musician.
So it’s four of you?
Four guys. Yeah.
And what do you play? You play bass in the band, but what else do you play?
Traditionally, I’m a guitarist. This is the first band I’ve ever played bass in.
I’d been looking to play bass on a project forever and this isn’t the music I would typically write on guitar. I would usually write much heavier music on guitar, but bass, I love playing this stuff on bass. It’s so light and poppy.
We linked a video of your guy’s song, Moving to Neptune on We See a few months ago.
Andy made that, and that’s my first exposure to the band, actually. Last spring when it was just him, he dropped that video out on Facebook, and I loved it. And then he released the other five songs shortly after for download, for free download, it’s always been free…
Yes, I partook. I paid, but I partook.
Oh, nice, thanks.
I paid $5 for it. It’s worth it.
It’s worth it. I’ll try to get you a 7” since you paid money. We charge $5 for them, so I’ll get you a physical copy.
I felt bad…other bands that I’ve done that with, like Matt Pond, an EP of his, I think “I’m going to buy your album, I’m taking this.” But, for you guys, it’s like, no. I’m going to pay for this.
It’s all self funded. This kind of gets into the work/play balance, you know, we have a show in NY next Friday [editor’s note – it already happened and it was glorious] at a place called Piano’s, and we’ve played there before. It’s in lower Manhattan, which is not the easiest place to get in and out of. The last time we played there was a Thursday night, and I came into work the next day. So, you drive up to NYC and play the show, and then drive back after the show at like 3 or 4 in the morning. Then I have to wake up and go to work. And I’ve done that multiple times.
Yeah, you’re more resilient than I could be. You must have a good time doing it?
Right, this isn’t a career for me. I just like to play music. Like, THIS [interaction design] is my career, you know. I never see myself quitting my day job to play music. It’s always going to be just like, as long as my girlfriend allows me to spend nighttime doing this shit.
Some people have fantasy football, you’ve got this…
Yeah, I don’t do fantasy sports and Kieran always sends out the emails to partake in any kind of fantasy and I just got my own things to worry about. [laughs]
So, the album I bought, you’re not on it, it’s all Andy?
It’s pretty much all Andy.
Have you guys done any original music since forming?
Yeah, well, that’s the thing. We started in October 2012, our first show. The first time I officially met Andy was like three weeks before our first show and since then we’ve just been playing lots shows. So we haven’t had a lot of time to write. Andy has some skeletons of a few songs completed, we just have to find the time between shows and careers to come together as a band and finish them as a group. We plan to have more for everyone this summer.
Anything else noteworthy going on?
Hmm… we got a song on 90210 and then it got cancelled that week.
Was it because of the song? Which song, actually?
“We single-handedly cancelled 90210, you’re welcome.”
Right. It was that week it got cancelled. A music director from the show reached out but we never found out where he heard our music. He just said, “We have one of your songs placed in an upcoming episode, here’s a contract to sign if you’re cool with it” which was like three weeks before the episode aired.
How long was it on, was it like a montage or just in the background?
It was in the background of a scene, you could barely even hear it because the people were talking but they paid us for it. It was there and they paid us for it, and then it got cancelled. I wonder if that check ever cleared if the show got cancelled?
I hope so. How awesome would it be if it was used during a terrible catfight or someone was getting dumped?
[Laughs] Nah, it was in the background of a boring scene, which is unfortunate.
Dammit! That would’ve been so cool if it was something ridiculous, like a “very special” after-school-style episode of 90210.
I guess the only other thing I’ll say, you know, in terms of work and life is that working here gives me flexibility to leave early and drive to New York to play a show. So, there’s just that respect.
I think they love what you do, too.
This place has a very awesome understanding of work/life balance and allows you to work really hard here, but still enjoy your time and want to come here. It’s where I like to go every day.
Very well said, sir. The rest of us will just sit and wait patiently for some new Cruiser music. For those that haven’t heard Cruiser yet, give it a listen. You can also support local musicians by checking them out live. For more info about shows and updates, like them on Facebook