Local Musician Check-in: Kyle Woolard

Posted on September 25, 2013 by

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kyle woolard 1If you’re familiar with local post-pop band The Anatomy of Frank, then you are already familiar with frontman Kyle Woolard. Under his leadership and songwriting prowess, this young band has already toured the country and much of Europe and released their first LP Pangaea.

I recently caught up with Kyle to discuss what makes him tick, what inspires him, and what is in store for The Anatomy of Frank in the future. (Hint: It looks like some new music is already in the works.)

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not Cville, when did you come here?

I am from a small, economically ravaged town called Martinsville in southern Virginia. It’s a place I wrote about on Pangaea‘s fourth track, “Hey SATAN! (I know where you live).” I came to Charlottesville in 2006 for college and have lived here ever since.

When and why did you start playing music/singing? What instruments do you play?

I recall always being interested in music, though it was my older brother, Grant Woolard, who really inspired me to stop listening to bands like Sum 41 and get into more alternative artists. When I was 14, after several years of not playing music at all, I found his electric guitar sitting in the basement. I picked it up, began tinkering, and 4 hours later I was still sitting there with it. The clock just stopped somehow. I’ll never know why guitar clicked while piano, viola, and cello did not, but here I am 12 years later, still craving a guitar in my hands.

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Most influential artist as a child? Teen? Adult?

As a child, I remember harboring a lasting grudge against a friend’s mother who remarked that all Billy Joel wrote about was New York. I was obsessed with Billy Joel, Queen, and the Beatles. The next phase came when I listened to the album Lawn Boy by Phish. It’s not hip to admit to being a fan of Phish, but I think they’re great; there was so much musicality and subtlety in it. The latest phase spawned from an obsession with Radiohead and Elliott Smith.

When did you write your first song? What was it about?

I was 14, and I think it was something humiliating like “The Call of the Evergreens.” It was about a hunter being lured into the forest by the silence of evergreen trees and never being seen again, which served as retribution for hunting. It was absolutely abysmal, but I remember feeling like I had just given virgin birth to a unicorn.

What influences your writing?

I feel nostalgia, longing, and wanderlust pretty strongly, and those things find their way into my songs a lot. Sometimes I go 5 months without writing a word, and sometimes it happens every day; I really haven’t figured it out yet.

What aspects of life excite you and stir your affections, fuel your passions?

All of the above. I’m really inspired by people living normal lives in strange places like Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, etc. Songwriting really has no limits.

When did you play your first gig? What emotions and thoughts ran through your head after finishing?

I think it was at a middle school open mic night, and I performed “Californication”. I was so excited. It was the first time I played guitar in front of a crowd, and there were girls there who I imagined might go out with me afterwards. Of course, I had to change the lyrics to “California vacation” because I was in middle school, and I remained single long thereafter.

Do you get pumped or nervous pre-show?

That depends on the show. Before hometown shows I get jittery, nervous, and then very sleepy. Otherwise I’m pretty calm and collected. I do genuinely love performing, which helps with nerves.

What does a day in the life of a modern-day songwriter look like from your perspective?

It’s a great life, but songwriting can really take a chunk out of me from time to time. I occasionally feel very inadequate, usually when I’m writing songs I’m not happy with, or when I’m writing none at all. I try to counter this by doing exactly what I want: I travel, I build mountain bike trails, I read a lot. A lot of people think that songwriting has to be this romantic thing where you isolate yourself in a cabin and write music for a month, but it’s really more like getting hungry. It happens a few times a day and I have to force myself to stop what I’m doing and let myself play guitar for a while; having a clear mind helps a lot, and doing the things I love puts me in that state.

What do you want people to take from hearing your music? As a fan, what do you also want people to take from experiencing your live show?

I have been so enriched and permanently changed by the music I love. What a lot of people describe as a religious experience I would use to describe my experience with music. I hope that, to both listeners and concertgoers, I can inspire that feeling in others. We are not lazy about our live shows, and I hope that pays off.

What does the not-so-distant future hold for you and The Anatomy of Frank?

We are going to tour Europe in the Fall as an acoustic act, then it’s time to start recording our North America album. That is something that we’ve been ready for for quite some time, so now it’s just time to dive in and make it as good as we can. Then, you know, more touring and whatnot.

Lastly…Describe yourself in 10 words.

Someone who is really bad at planning ahead, especially when

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