By the Fire, Jackanory, Music

Taller Younger Brother: I Know

Lyrics:

She called me late
One Friday night
Said she was finally happy
But she knew that she had to go

I said “Yeah,
I know”
I wrote about it
In a song a few weeks ago

And I’m not growin up
I’m just growing old
I’m not trying to be mean
I’m just getting bold

And all my friends
Are having kids
But I’ll never be
An uncle to them

I’m the one
Who disappeared
I’m that story
That they hear once a year

And I’m not growing up
I’m just growing old
I’m not trying to be mean
I’m just getting bold

I know
I know
I know
I know

Rowan Spiers-Floyd (RSF):

Tell me a bit about “Taller Younger Brother” and how it came to be.

Kyle Glenn (KG):

“I started Taller Younger Brother as a singer/songwriter project while playing with my other band Fennec. About a year ago I was planning on leaving the Bay Area to go on a cross-country road trip, and possibly find a new place to root down. For this reason, Fennec disbanded and I recorded an EP as Taller Younger Brother.”

“I played a few open mics as TYB out on the road in Joshua Tree and Austin and busked a few times in New Orleans. By week six of my trip, I knew I planned on returning to the bay. I wanted to continue to grow TYB and the song I had written on the road so I enlisted the help of my former bandmates who had engineered and recorded drums for the EP.”

“Shortly after we started jamming, our drummer moved to So-Cal, so we picked up a new drummer and a bassist, filling out our current line-up.”

“At the core, TYB songs are a memoir. They are my way of processing thoughts, and events in my life. But they are always approximations and reflections, and often hold many ideas and perspectives at once.”

RSF:

Can you tell us a bit about “I know”?

(KG):

“‘I Know’ is a song about growing up I guess. Those feelings where people start to follow the routines you saw your parents play out. It’s about changing and moving on. And the frustration that it’s inevitable no matter how much we want to fight it.”

“It’s inevitable, but we can work with it and embrace it.”

RSF:

“You mentioned that the songs are a bit like memoirs. Was this song inspired by a singular event? Or is it an amalgamation of things?”

KG:

“It’s an amalgamation of things. I did receive that phone call from a friend of mine, and that was what she said. It’s funny because I had written about a similar situation in a song about New Orleans about a month before. That’s where the second part of the first verse comes from.

“The chorus is just my reflection on growing up and the changes I’ve gone through. I never feel like I’m figuring it out or growing wiser, and I am content to grow closer to the child I was. But I am getting older at the same time, I’m growing stronger in myself, my wants and desires, and stronger at voicing those things.”

“The second verse is speaking to my friends who are having kids, and the tearing/frustration I feel because I want to be in their lives, but I also have this need to go out and see the world. I had people in my life called Uncle this and that, that were friends of my parents. I also had people that were just characters in stories about my dad’s young adulthood.”

“I often feel like I maybe the latter to a lot of people.”

RSF:

“You’ve practiced storytelling in different forms for a while and music has always been something you’ve been drawn to. What do you see in music and its ability to tell stories?”

KG:

“Music has such a powerful ability to transport people to a feeling, to a memory, to a place, to a time. It’s also so flexible and challenging. Storytelling can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be, and they will both be effective.”

“There is a long line of accessible stories that have come before that you can access for reference, both in lyrics and arranging. I love playing with the ability to share my memories and memoirs with people through song, to take them with me, to illicit a feeling in them.”

“Live music is fun because you are engaging with a person, with a venue, with your bandmates. Together you weave a new story as you sit there. You have the ability to contextualize or hide the meaning of your song. The ability to grow mystery and intrigue or to grow authenticity.”

“It’s also cool because so many have come before, but it’s still new to me. Someone may have used the 1,4,5 structure, many people really, but it’s still new to me. I am still reinventing the wheel while standing on the shoulders of giants. It’s a great reminder that mastery isn’t a destination, it’s a process.”

“And it’s been a great exercise it taking people off pedestals. It took me a long time to claim the mantle of a musician, but once I did, I allowed myself to occupy that space and interact with people in that way, you quickly learn that they are just like you. You’re all nerds, music and story nerds, technique nerds, gear nerds…”

RSF:

“You’ve been exploring music for most of your life at this point. Whose music has inspired you and what sort of changes have you seen in your own music and style?”

KG:

“The music that has been most inspirational of late is Built to Spill, The Mountain Goats, Neutral Milk Hotel, Manchester Orchestra, All Get Out, and Brand New. A lot of story driven stuff, where the lyrics are important to the whole thing. When I was growing up it was The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, The Chieftains.”

“I’ve definitely moved towards a great appreciation of the electric guitar and tweaking the sounds you can get from it. My hero there is Doug Martsch from Built to Spill right now.”

“When we were writing songs for Quagmyre, we stayed away from a lot of personal stuff. We were high school guys writing novelty songs. Sure they touched on intimate things here and there or personal experience, but overall they were fun songs, novelty rock.”

“Since picking up the guitar again in earnest my songs have definitely become more personal – reflection and processing of what’s going on. Sharing a piece of myself. Every time I play a song I try to reconnect to what it means to me and pass that on to the audience.”

RSF:

“I imagine that could be quite a transition. Did you find any challenges moving into more personal territory?”

KG:

“It’s hard to look back and see that. I feel like there was a time where I just played for fun, drunk singalongs late at night, then all of a sudden I had a desire to change some of my frustrations into a song or sing my feelings so that a certain someone might hear them and pick up my hints. That’s where it began I think, frustrations with expressing myself to someone, so I expressed myself.”

“It can still be a difficult thing to tap into. But generally I rely on my subconscious, that as I play and sing these words that come out, something will stick, and that thing will have meaning to me that I can build off of.Then I can really hone the song from there. As I move forward, I do want to approach songwriting with a bit more of a plan.”

“I have ideas, thoughts, and feelings I want to explore through the process. A lot of my songs over the past four years have been about leaving or coming back to places. So it’s time to put some work into exploring these other ideas I have bouncing around in my head.”

RSF:

“Any insight into what sort of ideas you might explore down the line?”

KG:

“I am in a very loving and caring relationship right now, so I think there will be more tapping into that positivity and joy. Another is authority and context…those are separate ideas, But they constantly fascinate me. I would like to explore politics a bit more.”

“I really love the work of Conor Oberst in Desaparecidos. And I would like to continue to explore religion and its impacts on the individual and society. I love The Thermals’ ‘The Body, The Blood, The Machine’ for that.”

RSF:

“Wow, quite the pot of ideas stirring there. I look forward to hearing or seeing what those come out to be. Thanks for sharing your music, and your time!”

KG:

My pleasure!

Taller Younger Brother

An indie Garage-Folk band out of Oakland, CA. TYB comes in many shapes and sizes, but at it’s core is singer-songwriter, Kyle Glenn. Filling out the current line-up is long time collaborator Steven Sarmiento, and new friends Riki Newton and Connor Bennette.

TYB serves up crunchy indie rock, that was born of classic rock, raised by the diy sounds of the Pacific Northwest, and tempered in the echoes of punk, metal, and emo.

Connection, collaboration, and community are the central tenants to TYB, and the band strives to bring all three of them, gale-force, where ever they go.

Check out their website: http://talleryoungerbrother.com/

Taller Younger Brother is going on tour!
Catch them in the pacific northwest this summer.

Like Kyle and Taller Younger Brothers sound? Pick up their latest album!

iTunes  Amazon  Spotify  Bandcamp

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