Kyp Malone and TV on the Radio are playing shows despite the fact that it’s been well over four years since their last album Seeds. Luckily, this is a band with impeccable pedigree with Kyp Malone, Tunde Adebimpe, David Sitek as well as an extremely deep discography, making it easy to pull out enthralling hour long sets of awe inspiring musicianship and stage presence. The band has been working on new music, so the possibility of a new TV on the Radio record in the next year could be something within the realm of possibilities. We spoke with guitarist and singer Kyp Malone about a special anniversary for Dear Science, looking back on the band’s older material, new TV on the Radio, playing with Ice Balloons and more.
Photo Credit: Brett Padelford
mxdwn: Dear Science turns 10 this month and you’re capping the anniversary off with a show at the Knockdown Center in New York. Why do you think that record still resonates with fans after a decade?
Kyp Malone: I mean, I can’t really speak for whatever collective people that it’s resonating with, what it means to them, but I feel like for a lot of people in this country that was, 10 years ago, that was in retrospect, right before the economic collapse. The beginning of the Obama presidency and it was a very promising moment. Anything that you like in that moment might stick and resonate. For me, it’s the last record we did entirely in New York City and it was intense. New York is constantly changing and even though I still have a lot of community here and I love New York City, the neighborhood as it was is not as it was 10 years ago versus…we had it, our folks were kind of almost all still here. The community was really strong, and everyone hadn’t been pushed out due to rent increases and the like.
And there was a huge community of musicians that were very easily accessible and that was like…even though it’s not a free-for-all on the record, there’s still spirit and the voices of so many people that were around at that time. And so many of the people that I love who have died were still alive when that record was made, so it’s kind of like haunted by them and their presence and thinking about what my infractions were with them around the time of making that record. So it resonates with me in that way. We’ve been working on it, rehearsing it, which means I’ve had to listen to it more thoroughly and critically than I have in a number of years, and I think it’s good. I think it’s a good one.
Photo Credit: Shane Lopes
mxdwn: Do you feel differently about that record now that you’re a little older? Does it approach you differently now than it did 10 years ago?
KP: I mean, it definitely feels less…I feel some detachment, which is letting me hear, like be more forgiving of myself on things that I felt were maybe a little bit “eh” of my contributions. And also more open-minded and having a better ear in listening to it. Working on a song that Adebimpe wrote, and in his absence were some other band members. So I was singing his lyrics the whole time and I’d never really had to pay that close attention to them at any point ’cause that was kind of a view of listening. So that’s what this song’s about, this is a really good song. And I always liked the song. “Family Tree” is the one I’m talking about. I’ve always liked it and thought it was beautiful, but in the past couple weeks working on it, having to sing it in its entirety, I’m like oh, it just has added poignancy.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat
mxdwn: You are also playing the Beat the Odds Benefit Show on November 8th. Is that a benefit that you hold close to your heart?
KP: Yeah well you know, on the broadest, without being able to speak definitively about the Beat the Odds organization, but more broadly, I’ve been trying not to succumb to what I think…when it comes to that stuff, I hate that we kind of couch it politely. There’s a pessimism that every black person in America [has]; every Native person in America. I’m a brown person in America. We’ve earned the right to be pessimistic.
Because there’s been so much evidence of the recalcitrant nature of white supremacist ideas, ideology institution. That being the case, it doesn’t serve anyone to succumb to pessimism in my opinion. Whatever can be done on this side of the table to increase the chances of survival of thriving of black kids and brown kids is something that yeah, I’m fucking totally behind. I’m totally behind it. I know from America’s brief history and all the examples again that it’s gonna require a consciousness shift with the rest of the country. The people that identify themselves with a white majority. And there’s fucking room for all of us to grow, and I’m not coming at it from some reactionary place, but also anyone that is has earned the right to. So yeah, in so many words, totally, totally important to me, yeah.
Photo Credit: Shane Lopes
mxdwn: I heard a rumor that TV on the Radio is working on new music, is there anything on the horizon?
KP: It’s true, we’ve been writing for a while now. I hope it’s soon. I mean, it’s that or like become an electrician or something, I don’t know. It’s kind of late in life to become an electrician. Yeah, I mean we’re all busy doing different things, and I’m very happy to be able to be playing with Ice Balloons and collaborating with different people, but yeah. And when the time…when we get done with a record, it’ll come out. I just don’t know when that’s gonna be.
mxdwn: Are you prepping any new releases under the Rain Machine moniker?
KP: Yeah, I’ve got a bunch of stuff. I’ve got hard drives of stuff. I just figure the right person comes along that wants to help me put it out, because otherwise it’s just like, you know, I can only make music. I don’t know how to put it out.
mxdwn: You worked with David Bowie on the song “Province” from the album Return to Cookie Mountain. What was the experience like working with him in the studio?
KP: He’s a fucking king. He’s the fucking raddest dude. One of the raddest dudes of the last century in my opinion. Super humble, no attitude, no ego, just like, a graceful, generous dude. And he’s dearly, dearly missed. I feel very lucky.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Brett Padelford