Hi Kirby, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hey!! It’s been a weird year but we’re living with it!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Winds Of Change” and the cool, psychedelic and surreal video that accompanies it?
I started writing it after some jam sessions with the band I play in Mo Lowda and the Humble. Jordan Caiola (of Mo Lowda) and I finished it while we were on tour in Austin, TX. It came together really organically and we wanted to talk about change and its effect on our lives. The video was directed by a friend of mine who I went to high school with, Noah Dickinson. I had sent Noah an early version of my record and he really connected with this tune and came up with the concept. He was like “you’ll be walking around your neighborhood and our hometown and then at some point you fly through Philadelphia” I was sold. We shot it in a few days over the past summer and were sitting on it until the record came out. I’m stoked on it and the left turn of me flying through the city, I think it catches people off guard in the best way.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Jordan and I just wanted to talk about change and how it’s the only constant in our lives. We had been getting together a lot after going out in our neighborhood and jamming on songs we grew up with and harmonizing together, which is one of our favorite things to do together. I had started singing what became the chorus and we were like, we should write this into something, and Winds of Change was born.
The single comes off your new album Happy People Make Happy Things – what’s the story behind the title?
I was showing some friends in Charlotte, NC the record sometime last year while we were on the road. My buddies Byron McClenndon and Jake Rothwell were really into the tracks and we were joking about how happy it seemed while containing some dark undertones. Jake had said something about Happy People Making Things, and we started riffing on that idea and Happy People Make Happy Things came out of it. I thought it was a perfect way to sum up this batch of tunes.
You’ve also released the single “Ease Fulfillment” wiith a stripped down video featuring you playing guitar and singing solo. How does that song fit into the overarching theme of the album?
I feel like it’s the best way to kick off the record. It sets the mood of where the rest of the songs go. There’s levity, there’s depth, it’s sparse and full at the same time. There’s a lot of dichotomy in this record and Ease Fulfillment has that vibe throughout the whole song. The song is really trying to go back to my roots of making songs because I have to, not because I’m trying to make them sound cool. Writing from the heart really. Since I’ve embraced that approach the songs I’ve been putting out truly resonate with who I am, they truly feel like me, and Ease Fulfillment was the beginning of that approach.
How was the recording and writing process for the record?
I had been in the studio working on other things and really felt like I wasn’t creating things that resonated with me, so I resorted to recording things on my own in my bedroom. “Ease Fulfillment” was the first track of me trying it on my own. I showed that to some people that I trusted musically and they gave me the boost to really continue recording and writing. So I got back to recording on my own way more, it took me back to my younger days where I’d make music on garageband in my college dorm, this time it felt more serious because I was like, “man maybe I could put out a record that I recorded all on my own”. As time went on I wanted to beef the songs up more so I hit up a long time collaborator, Joshua Aaron Friedman (The Lawsuits, Low Cut Connie, Cosmic Guilt) and we got into the studio and did a lot of reamping to what I had already recorded. We also started “My Maker” and “Without You” just the two of us on drums and guitar. A lot of the record worked that way except for “Winds of Change” in which I recorded that with Mo Lowda and the Humble in our studio.
How would you say the domestic, closed nature you were in while recording portions of this album in your bedroom influenced the sound and writing on this album?
Yeah absolutely. It really gave me the time and space to explore themes and recording processes that you don’t normally get when you’re on the clock and budget of an actual studio. Thank God for technology cause I was able to produce things that sounded good without all of the crazy expensive gear. That time alone and the freedom of exploring things musically was really what helped me create something that truly felt me.
What role does Philly play in your music?
A huge role. I lived in NYC before and there was no real community that I fit into. So being in Philly I feel like I’ve been able to carve out a community that’s supportive and always down to collaborate. A true creative family, which has helped my music and art flourish.
What aspect of change did you get to explore on this record?
How change is the only constant and embracing it rather than trying to push away from it. This record has given me the confidence as a songwriter, engineer, and collaborator, and giving me fuel to continue to pursue this artistic life.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I love Blake Mills and Dawes and they’ve been huge inspirations. A good friend of mine Kieran Garvey, a musician based in NYC, and I had a conversation about writing truth and writing from the heart after he had heard some songs I was working on a few years ago. It really changed the way I write and this record is a perfect example from that conversation.
What else is happening next in Kirby Sybert’s world?
I’m doing a stream every Tuesday at 9:30pm EST where I live loop and make songs up on the spot from people who call in on my hotline at 888-910-5362. I’m working on some stuff with Mo Lowda and the Humble, and working on the follow up record of Happy People. Just trying to continue to create because right now people need now more than ever. If you follow me on the socials I try to keep everybody up to speed on what I do.