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Early Blues Interview
Kyla Brox, singer/songwriter/flautist
and husband Danny Blomeley, guitarist/songwriter,
The Kyla Brox Band

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I met up with Kyla Brox and husband Danny Blomeley after their two sets (as a duo and with the full band) at the Great Rhythm & Blues Festival, Colne.   For the interview they were assisted by Sadie, Kyla's baby daughter and Ocea, Kyla's niece.

Kyla Brox © Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:     What are your first musical memories?

Kyla:      I remember listening to music with my family, singing and dancing all the time.  I come from a really musical family who were all really into performing and stuff like that.  The first time I asked for anything for Christmas it was apparently the voice, clothes and hair of Chaka Khan when I was three.

Danny:   My mum played folk guitar and sang but I think I was a bit mean to her about her singing.  My best friendís dad played guitar as well so guitars were just always around.

Alan:     Did you always want to become a singer/musician?

Kyla:      Always, always.  I think I wanted to be a singer or a bank manager at one time and I've always wanted to be a mum.

Danny:   Yeah, definitely.   Always wanted to play guitar. As soon as I learnt what it was, that was it.

Alan:     Itís great to be able to do what youíve always wanted to.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Kyla:      Itís just amazing. My brother used to tell me I couldnít sing so I used to think, ďOh, Iím never going to fulfil my dreamsĒ, but eventually I realised he was wrong!

Alan:     So how old were you when you got started in music?

Kyla:      I did my first gig with my Dad when I was 12 but prior to that I think I did my first solo performance on stage when I was 5 or 6.  I used to do singing and dancing lessons and I think my first gig was ďPut on a Happy Face, do do do...!Ē  So I've always been involved in music.

Danny:   I did my first gig at the leaving assembly at primary school, and that was my one and only performance with guitar and vocal.

Alan:     So what first attracted you to the blues?

Kyla:      Well, I just grew up surrounded by it and the fact that I had the opportunity to get up and sing with my Dad meant all I wanted to do was perform.  Iíd always been around blues but what I realised very quickly was that itís a brilliant vehicle to express yourself completely, especially emotionally.  Having sung classically in choirs, itís just a completely different thing.  Itís just a brilliant form of expression.

Alan:     Who are your favourite artists?

Kyla:      Iíve got tonnes but Nina Simone, Etta James and I also love Stevie Wonder and more contemporary stuff, people like Fiona Apple.  But I think Iíve been probably influenced by everything Iíve ever heard but Iíd never really try and emulate anyone.  I just love music. Iíll listen to anything really, lyrical songs, anything.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Danny:   Tommy Emmanuel, he's my acoustic guitar hero at the moment.

Alan:     So whoís influence you most in your music writing?

Kyla:      Writing??  Danny Ė because I write songs about him!  I donít know but I have written more songs about Danny than about anyone else so in that way he has definitely influenced my writing.  No,  Iíve never thought about it, I donít really know. 

Danny:   Youíll have to put a ditto there for me too.

Kyla:      Itís a really good question that.  I aspire to write like all the greats obviously but I wouldnít say that I do.

Danny:   Thereís lots of different inspirations for all the songs really, just soak it all in.

Alan:     When did you first meet?

Kyla:      We met when we were 12 on stage in my Dadís band. 

Alan:     Iíve got a note that you were nicknamed the Child Slavery Band.

Kyla:      Itís true.  There was me and Danny, we were 12 or 13, my brother Sam who was 15 or 16, Phil, our drummer now, who was maybe 18 or 19, and then my Dad who sort of like late 50s or early 60s.

Danny:   We might have met then but it did take me a couple of years to pluck up the courage to talk to Kyla.  We really met when we were 15 or 16.

Kyla:      Thatís rubbish!  That's not true at all. It was funny though because he always looked about 8 and I looked about 25.

Danny:   It goes down a year every time you tell this story!

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     Danny, I believe you toured the world for a couple of years with guitar in hand.

Danny:   Yes, I did.  I set off with some friends for Nepal, guitar in hand, met lots of musicians there. Then went to Thailand for a couple of years and got stuck there and ended up in a blues band.

Kyla:      He can speak fluent Thai

Danny:   Yeah, I learnt to speak Thai and did some teaching and playing in a bar in the evening.  Finally made it to Australia where I saw the opportunity to bring Victor and Kyla over, so did that.  I was in Australia for a year, with Victor and Kyla for 3 months of that.  Weíre going back there soon, with a tour.

Alan:     You obviously enjoyed it.

Danny:   Both of us love travelling, any opportunity and music takes you all over the world.

Alan:     So it was a good experience musically as well?

Danny:   Yeah, fantastic.  Even though there wasnít much opportunity to make money I had a really good time.  When I travelled back from Australia I had a bass guitar, an acoustic guitar, a mandolin and something else as well.

Kyla:      But no clothes or money!

Alan:     Tell me about the band, when did you all get together?

Kyla:      It was actually when Danny got back from Australia.  It was 2001 and heíd been away for 3 years or so.  Iíd been writing songs and I started playing them to him and eventually he said we should start doing a few gigs.  So we nicked all my Dadís youngest and best musicians at the time, as you do, and started doing some gigs, although the line-up has changed slightly since then.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Danny:   Weíll have to start our own child slavery band as soon as possible as weíre getting older and weíve got our daughter Sadie here, and Kyla's niece Ocea here, a fantastic drummer.  How old are you Ocea?

Ocea: Ten.

Danny:   Perfect for playing drums.  Whatís your fee per gig?

Kyla:      We used to get £2.50.

Ocea  Twenty pounds!

Alan:     You clearly need to negotiate this!    Kyla, during your, err, I think confinement is the word, you wrote a lot of stuff for Grey Sky Blue Ė tell me about that.

Kyla:      It was great actually.  I had really bad morning sickness so a lot of the songs were written literally lying in bed. Danny used to bring the guitar to bed, go to sleep so in the morning the guitar was there and we could just start playing.  But the funny thing was that he started writing these songs and playing them on the guitar in this relaxed position but when we got into the studio, he couldnít play them!

Danny:   Iíd like to say that we brought a bed into the recording studio but it was less glamorous than that.

Alan:     The bedroom blues!

Kyla:      I was all up for calling the album Undressed Rehearsal because it was true but Danny wouldnít go for it.

Danny:   Because I knew that weíd both have to be undressed on the cover, so we went for Grey Sky Blue not that it has grey or blue on the cover.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     You married on 13th September 2008 and have had a baby girl, Sadie, which meant some time out of the blues scene.  Are you now returning with the band or as a duo or both?

Kyla:      We are doing both.  We love to do both and itís important for us to do both because Dan plays guitar and bass so we will concentrate on the duo and doing more gigs because it goes down well and itís easier to travel.

Danny:   Gives a bit of a split personality though.

Kyla:      Yes, sometimes people get confused with who we are.

Danny:   It was nice today, at Colne, when we did a 40 minute acoustic session before the full band set

Alan:     What do you think of Colne as a festival?

Kyla:      I think itís great and I think itís getting better and better.  This yearís line-up is fantastic and the other thing Iím really pleased about is the amount of women who are on the bill this year.  Iím always going to be slightly biased because itís my local festival so we always get to spend more time here and we get to watch other bands.  Itís important as an artist to keep up with what other people are doing if you can but it can be difficult if you are on the road gigging all the time and you donít get to go to that many gigs.  So when Iím at a festival I always try and watch whatever else is on.

Danny:   As Manchester artists as well, Colne has helped us raise our profile through the years weíve been playing here -  from 2002 weíve played at least six times.

Kyla:      When Gary Hood put us on here back in 2002 weíd only really played in pubs before, we hadnít done anything and he put us on second to last on the British stage on the Saturday night and thatís what helped us start getting proper gigs. 

Danny:   There are so many people here running really great blues clubs, they all come here. They pick their bands for the next 12 months from here so we all get an opportunity to get more work from Colne because it's got such a good reputation.

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     When are we going to see a song dedicated to Sadie?

Kyla:      Sheís got hundreds of ditties that we sing to her all the time, but I am actually in the process of writing one but itís going to take time, although itís coming.  Danny actually made me a guitar for my birthday last June and itís just amazing so Iím determined to play guitar more now.  In fact, as soon as I picked it up I started playing this song thatís in my head for Sadie.

Alan:     And how is your Dad?

Kyla:      Heís very well.  Heís in France today doing a gig although heís started to say that heís going to retire next year but I donít believe it myself.

Danny:   As soon as somebody offers him a gig, heíll be off.

Alan:     How do you see the future of blues music?

Kyla:      I donít believe it when people say that blues is going to disappear.  I think itís always relevant, itís always reinventing itself.  As a specific example my sister and her daughter have just got back from four weeks in Montenegro where theyíve got a little house.  Anna said thereís a dance club down the street and they could hear all this dance music and every so often there would be a break and a blues band would go on.  In deepest darkest Montenegro!  Itís everywhere, blues is everywhere and itís always going to influence people.

Danny:   It just comes in and out of fashion a bit and then people realise again that itís the foundation of everything.

© Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     And what about future plans?

Danny:   Weíve got a new website coming out soon.  And a new acoustic live album which we recorded in Holland which will be out soon.

Kyla:      This gig was just amazing.  It was a composer and studio owner who was doing the gig and the venue was at one end of this huge building and the studio was at the other.  Basically we did the gig in this sound proofed venue and straight after the gig we went into the studio and this incredible engineer was just mixing it all down; it sounds fantastic. 

Alan:     Got a title for it?

Kyla:      No, we donít know yet. 

Alan:     When is it coming out?

Danny:   Not sure yet.  When the website goes live we are hoping to have a really big push next year

Kyla:      Yes, weíll be doing more gigs and getting up to speed again.

Alan:     Iíve got a quote here urging you to ď....get you to return with the band and take your rightful crown as Britainís No 1 female blues singer!Ē

Kyla:      Thank you!!

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

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Kyla Brox, Chris Farlow, Herbie Goins with the Norman Beaker Band
sing Stormy Monday Blues at the Colne R&B Festival, 30th August 2010

TRACKS

1  All Breaking Down
2  Say You Do
3  Kasbah
4  Cramp Your Style
5  Since I Fell For You
6  Like the Sky
7  Grey Sky Blue
8  Get Ready
9  Shaken & Stirred
10  Why So Cold?
11  Rest Assured
12  Feel My Pain

http://www.myspace.com/kylabrox

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