Stepping away from the drawing board for a brief moment, Jeff Kitselman from pop-punk All From Nothing sits down with Nicole Mendes from The Old School Project. Here is what this talented guy from Kansas had to say.
NM: Hi there. I hope you're well and ready for a chat. The questions aren't too prying, so shall we begin?
JK: Yes, let’s do this!
NM: Let's get all of the introductory questions out of the way. First thing, who am I speaking with and what part do you play in the band?
JK: This is Jeff Kitselman, lead singer and rhythm guitarist.
NM: How did All From Nothing come together?
JK: I started the band about two years ago calling it All Or Nothing, but we were notified that the name was already taken a few months into it, and decided to stick close to the original name and still had meaning to us. We've had several members come and go, as I think most bands experience. Sage Thurston, our drummer, has been with me the longest, coming up on about a year and a half. The other guys joined early last summer, and our current group has been very committed and solid with common goals moving forward.
NM: I'm guessing your band name expresses your approach to music, but am I correct?
JK: It does. The process of building anything from the ground up is a grind, and you have to start somewhere; so, it has meaning to us as we continue to push forward. It all starts with an idea and then hard work from there!
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NM: You are releasing a new single called 'Actions Speak' soon. What can you tell us about the track?
JK: We are excited for the release. It is all but done now at the studio; just needs some mixing and then deciding how we want to release it! The song was written, taken from a previous relationship that ended not that long ago. I still feel the pain from the relationship when playing it.
NM: 'Actions Speak' is part of an EP you are currently working on. What can you tell us about the EP, if anything?
JK: We are excited about this new release. We started with the idea of another five or six-song EP, but we are now maybe looking at a full album as we have about nine songs that we are working on!
NM: Using 'Actions Speak' as an example, could you tell me about your songwriting process?
JK: We typically start a song by the melody, something that we like the sound of. After coming up with some musical parts and the structure of the song, I then decide what to write about and fit it within the structure so that it hopefully flows well. I personally write most of my music on the acoustic guitar first before moving it over to an electric. 'Actions Speak' was written by Sage Thurston for the most part regarding musically, and then I wrote most of the lyrics to it.
NM: What about the recording process?
JK: The recording process is evolving as our first EP was almost completely recorded by Sage. He played guitar, bass and drums, and even some backing vocals; then I went in and recorded all of the main vocals at a studio in the Kansas City area. With Pav, our bassist, and Gabriel Molina, lead guitarist, really stepping up their roles in the band. They are now becoming more involved in the recording process, and this will create an interesting dynamic moving forward with the songwriting process as well.
NM: What is the inspiration for 'Actions Speak'?
JK: Both Sage and I went through recent breakups this past year that were hard, and the best therapy for myself is to turn it into a song. I often do when something is bothering me or conflicting within.
NM: You released a single a couple of months ago, so do you find it easier to keep recording and releasing material as compared to breaks between releases?
JK: We just wish there was more time in the day! I would love to get all of the songs we have done and completed out for the public; I'm excited for what is coming! We have so many new song ideas on top of the nine or ten songs we are recording at the moment. For myself, I like to keep putting new material out versus a long break in music, especially with all of the material we have. As of now, we are not experiencing any kind of writer's block! :)
NM: Do you think releasing content regularly is important and why?
JK: We do feel it is very important as to stay in our fans' minds and ears in the hope of continuing to grow as a band. Our goal is to put out an EP or album every 12 to 18 months; promoting and marketing the album for that timeframe.
NM: In your Facebook biography, you say there are too many musical influences to mention, but do you have one or two artists that seem to have a greater influence on your sound? Who are they, and why are they up there?
JK: For myself, my greatest influences would have been when I was a young teenager and really falling in love with rock and roll. I grew up listening to what my parents listened to; as there was no internet, you only had the radio, cassettes and CDs! That being said, I was a fan of Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Guns 'N Roses, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Poison in the late 80s, and then Nirvana hit. It had a huge impact on me and the many other grunge bands from the 90s. Blink 182, Green Day and Offspring, along with Social Distortion helped carve out my own punk influences.
When a certain song hits you, it is such a natural high with the release of endorphins. I know it is different for everyone, but for me, it's the way a vocalist sings/screams, the energy from the guitars and the way it empowers you. I was sold on rock from the day I heard it and can't see that ever changing.
NM: Do you have any future tours planned to promote the single and upcoming EP?
JK: As of now we don’t have any tours planned. We would love to do something this summer but haven’t made all of the contacts yet to put something like that together. With the band also all working, and school as well, any tours as of now definitely have to be strategic. We hope to set up a couple of two-week tours soon with the right connections to make that happen.
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NM: You released a music video for your single 'Down On Me' last month. What was filming like for the video?
JK: We had so much fun doing this video. It was a day where we had a few inches of snow, and Gabe and Sage brought up doing a video on a whim! Gabriel is also a very talented cameraman/videographer, and he shot the whole thing.
NM: Most people say filming a music video is a treat, but did you experience any challenges?
JK: The biggest challenges are the time and energy it takes in doing videos. It takes a full day, plus all of the planning, and when hiring someone else, it can be expensive. The percentage of people that watch video content though versus just listening to our songs, I have been told, is over 100%; so, it is a must do!
We do definitely enjoy them, but it's hard to do them, hit the recording studio and play shows all at once. Again, we just need more hours in the day to get everything done that we want to accomplish or get to the point that we are making a living doing this.
NM: Who developed the concept for the video and was the final result in line with this?
JK: The concept of 'Down On Me' was mostly put together by Gabe and Sage, with input from both Pav and myself.
NM: People have favourite established acts, but who is your favourite independent act at the moment and why that musician?
JK: That is a tough one. There are some great local bands that are independent making great music! From some of the locals that I have recently heard in the KC area, I really like Stories Through Storms, Champagne Campaign, Sweet Ascent and From the Ashes. All four bands are pushing hard to make a name for themselves; they are all very talented and inspire me to continue improving on my own songwriting. They have been an influence on me, helping me learn each step in moving forward in taking the band to the next level.
NM: That's it! Thanks so much for speaking with me. Good luck for the EP, tours and any other musical endeavours. :)
JK: Thank you so much for the interview; we truly appreciate your interest in All From Nothing!
Written by Nicole Mendes / Germany - Norden
My name is Nicole and I am a South African-born music writer currently based in Norden, Germany. For several years I have worked with award-winning indie music blogs conducting reviews, reported on breaking festival news, but my specialism is interviewing. I currently work as editor-in-chief for an indie music blog I founded where I specialise in interviews with independent artists.
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