THE Nashville-based Rock and Roll artist Kim Logan…
has brought us her newest double-sided release, Pseudoscience: Chapter 3. From it, we have the tracks Ladyboy and Hitch Your Wagon – Logan explains and talks about both tracks and how they fit together. The 'Pseudoscience' series has been going a while so I ask how the third volume came to be – and whether there is going to be a fourth. She tells me about her musical background and attending Berklee College of Music; spending a decade in a Classical/Opera setting and how her unique music – that sits in an intersection of past Rock and Roll with present Americana fetishisation – formulated.
Logan discusses Nashville and working with great local artists; the new tour dates she has coming up; whether she will come to Britain in the coming months – and what her live shows will entail.
Hi, Kim. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I’m well - and my week has been BUSY!
I’m about to take on the biggest show of my whole career in original music: a night at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works, producing and starring in a Hallowe’en-themed Rock and Roll circus with the Music City Burlesque.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Well. My name is Kim Logan and I’m a Florida-born songwriter and musician; raised on Opera and theatre, but now, on the road with my band playing our takes on Soul, Psych; Blues, Jazz - and many other genres fused into Rock and Roll. I am also the owner of my record label and publishing entity, Swamp Thing Records, and I’ve put out a pretty extensive - though, young - discography of my original recordings.
The double-sided Pseudoscience: Chapter 3 is here. Can you tell me what inspired the work and the themes it explores?
Ladyboy, the first track, was inspired by this relationship I was in, on-and-off, for the past three years with this androgynous being - who is also an intensively touring musician. I just tried to paint the image with words of what it feels like when we’re together…it was complicated, as all artist relationships are, but it was FUN and never feels quite over. He’s actually quite an archetype that I have watched myself be drawn to almost constantly.
I was explaining some of the poetic ideas I had about this guy to my guitar player and producer Gyasi, who is also this dynamic androgynous presence, and the song just kind of came out of that part of my mind - that’s living in the East Village of Manhattan in 1977. Gyasi’s riff was perfect. We go way back to the freshman dorms at Berklee together, so he just gets me.
Hitch Your Wagon - the B-side, if you will - was something I wrote a while ago - and breathed new life into when I paired it with this project with Gyasi. He played every instrument on the recording and, like Ladyboy, we laid it down on a 1984 Tascam 388 analog tape machine...so it just sounds warm and sparkly (and perfect). I wanted to take a Country song I had written in earlier times and give it the full and heavy psychedelic treatment - so we jumped into that space.
Ladyboy and Hitch Your Wagon are the new tracks. Will we see any more material in the coming months?
Yes! Chapter 4 is in-the-works for recording at the top of the New Year - and there will probably be one more after that (before Pseudoscience becomes an L.P.).
I’m hoping to have that all tied in a bow by the end of 2018.
I get a sense your work has got more ambitious and varied as your career has progressed. Have you felt yourself growing as an artist over the past few years?
It totally has.
I’ve always (just) been absolutely honest about what I put out. I can write and sing all over the map genre-wise but I only release what is speaking to me loudest at the time - what generally goes along with what I have been most interested in hearing, wearing and reading during the recording process. My first record was Southern-Psych./Rockabilly stuff. What I’m doing now is, essentially, from the same skeleton - but I’ve developed my songs, lyrically, into something closer to what I naturally write as poetry…so, that feels good.
My backing-band, whom I take on the road (‘The Hydramatic’) has been a huge inspiration for me on the technical side of playing and finding old records. They can play absolutely ANYTHING and have widened my scope into areas I had never gone deep enough into with Motown, Hip-Hop; Disco, Funk and Jazz. That came out in our-sort of impromptu E.P., Fresh Juice, which we put out earlier this year.
That’ll eventually be a full L.P., too...
Berklee College of Music is somewhere you must have learnt a lot. How important was your time there in regards your musical development and education?
Berklee has been a long road for me; one that has been difficult to officially wrap up because of my busy touring schedule - which has begun to include international trips and longer periods away from the normalcy of office-type work. But, I’ve learned skills and tools for almost every facet of my music career from Berklee - and have met some of the most extraordinary partners and connections through the larger community.
Whenever I think I would go back and do life over again, and not go to Berklee because of the RUINOUS student debt...I remember that just the sheer fact of meeting Gyasi, alone, was worth the price of admission.
How did you get from a Florida-raised classically trained singer to a Rock artist in Nashville? What was the decision behind embracing the city and genre?
Like many of us who built our careers here in Nashville, we came in a wave following Jack White, The Black Keys and the Kings of Leon. Country music and the Blues are the foundation blocks of Rock and Roll - and we all chased that to Music City. Even though Country music is still the most pervasive genre in the whole American South; Rock and Roll has more of a presence in Nashville than any other city I've visited - except, maybe, L.A.
It's hard to find a more solid Rock and Roll community than what we have in Nashville...and I'm proud of that.
Give me a flavour of the artists you grew up with. Whose music got in your heart at an early age?
I’ve always been surrounded with a super-worldly music education; being fortunate enough to have a large family that turned me onto different genres constantly but, of course, there were the standouts that really blew my mind: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles; Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin were my earliest consciousness of records, thanks to my parents.
Bonnie Raitt, Amy Winehouse; Jack White and Lady Gaga all played formative roles in how I began to see myself as an artist and songwriter at various times in my stages of life.
IN THIS PHOTO: Gyasi
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
My friends are my favourite bands - and some of the best Rock and Roll and songwriting in a very long time - and bubbling up in my haunts of Nashville, New York; Oxford, Atlanta and Chicago. Gyasi’s debut solo record is coming out this November. The JAG, Lucille Furs; Low Cut Connie, The Yeah Tones; Sara Rachele, Ron Gallo; Mojave Nomads and Loud Mountains are all buddies that make music I really believe in.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sara Rachele
What tour dates do you have coming up?
This huge show in Nashville is tomorrow night (20th October), and then, I’m headed down to my home state of Florida (and around Georgia, too!) for some dates over the holiday season - including a few Sofar Sounds events and an opening slot for John Prine in my hometown!
All dates are kept up-with on www.facebook.com/kimloganmusic!
Will you be coming to the U.K. soon?
I toured to the U.K. three times in the last year so I definitely think I will be returning in the near-future. I’m scheming a plan right now: to ride out my full allowance - of ninety days’ time - overseas with a massive solo, AND full band tour, of the U.K./E.U. in spring.
I can imagine your show would be quite an extravaganza! What could one expect if they came to our one your shows?!
Basically, a Rock and Roll Opera...
There are so many variety arts in the background of all of my band members and collaborators - and I definitely run the thing like a mixture of an Opera diva and a circus ringleader. It’s interdisciplinary, it’s multimedia: it’s weird and sexy; loud and really fun.
Come see us!
If you could select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
I think Back to Black by Amy Winehouse; Elephant by The White Stripes and Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones
That’s my desert island list - and I’m sticking to it.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Stop looking for a record deal. Get help from label services people who believe in you and help you on a case-by-case basis. Don’t sign away the art you extracted from your brain. It’s precious.
The music business is a free-for-all right now - and just do ‘you’ in the best way you can…
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already or will you be busy working?
I’ll be hiding in my hometown in Florida, like I always do.
It’s a surreal Christmas down there; resting somewhere around eighty-five/ninety-degrees-Fahrenheit with all the oranges and grapefruits ripe on the trees. Christmas, to me, means the beach; mimosas and time to myself - away from the world to write and sleep.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
I’ve been obsessed with the song Love Me Forever by The Black Angels for a long time. (Go ahead and give it to 'em).
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