Catch up with MIKLO's Kyle Setter and listen to the Los Angeles-based alt-rock band's single "P.E.O.P.L.E." off their EP, Note to Self, out now.
What brought you all together?
Kyle: What happened was, I moved out to Nashville and I moved out there knowing nobody; I left my job at the fire department, I sold my home, packed up a trailer behind my truck and took my dog and went to Nashville. I started meeting some really great people out there and doing a lot writing and Chris eventually moved out there to meet me and we were writing and doing the whole Nashville music scene and then we came to the point where we wanted to create something that we felt we could represent it and that we felt was organic and something we could back. We started doing some writes and MIKLO just came about. We took it to a studio and ended up recording our EP there in Nashville.
Where does your name MIKLO come from?
It comes from the movie Blood In Blood Out. It's an old classic movie. It's awesome. It definitely has a cult following. In today's day and age for music, it's so hard to find a name that's original, that's cool, and this and that and we just stumbled upon it and were like, "this is so cool, we have to use this name, it's awesome".
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
That's a hard question because I listen to everything and maybe that's why we sound a bit different. Chris and I listen to everything. Growing up, The Eagles were always a big influence and Pink Floyd. But also, at the same time growing up, Tupac was an influence. It's difficult. I guess I just take interest in things we get from all around, from everywhere.
Is there anyone that you're hooked on now?
I guess for me, I like Sigur Rós a lot, Depeche Mode, The Eagles, obviously, Pink Floyd. It's a hard question to answer.
Which words would you use to describe your sound?
We've been getting a lot of reviews and a lot of press and we're so thankful for that and I've seen some very interesting phrases with people trying to describe our music. I just call it alternative. I think the music industry right now doesn't really know what's going on at all and it's just so scattered and there's so many different influences and blends, neo this and that. I don't know, I just call it alternative.
What were your inspirations behind your single "P.E.O.P.L.E."?
It's actually a funny story. At the end of 2015, we found ourselves in a situation where we were just starting to record and we were really stoked on meeting this producer, Christian Fiore, and our lease was heading up and we weren't so stoked on living in Nashville, so we were going to move back but then, after meeting Christian, we were like, "you know what, let's stay two more months, let's finish this EP out, this is someone really good". Through a friend I worked with, we were promised a place to stay for 2 months while we record so that I wouldn't have to drive home, drop all my stuff off in California, and then fly back and just couch surf for 2 months so that was cool of him. And then, about 2 days prior to us doing that, that person bailed out on us and it left us in this situation of, it's either we move back home and we're done with music for awhile or we just stick through it for the next 2 or 3 months. At that time, I had a van I used for music and we put all our stuff in storage, built beds in the van, and we just lived in the van for 2 months, sleeping in Walmart parking lots. It came to the point too where it would snow and it was an old van, we couldn't leave it on, so I would park next to bars and we would just get super wasted just to stay warm at night.
That song "P.E.O.P.L.E." comes from, we had a so-called friend let us stay at their place for the weekend and another person in the house, I guess, found out and didn't know we were supposed to be there or whatever, but she ended up just flipping out for no reason and it was just a really shitty situation; and with being homeless for 2 months pursuing this dream and just all these things, it was just a crazy roller coaster. We came up with this song "P.E.O.P.L.E." because sometimes people just don't have a heart for others. They're selfish and it's a shitty situation sometimes, so that's where the song came from [laughs]. It comes from real talk, it's not just like, we got in this writing room and decided, "oh, let's write a song that says 'fuck people'", it came from a real place of hardship.
Could you tell us more about your EP, Note to Self?
"Note to Self" - that's the title song on the EP - sometimes people cross you, sometimes you gotta learn your lesson, sometimes you'll do something and you just make that mental note in your head like, 'alright, note to self, I'm not going to trust you again,' that's what that song's about, in a sense; and I just feel like that record, in general, if you just look at yourself, as far as the song itself and trusting people. Another song, "Losing My Mind", where it's the feeling of you're going crazy and just giving yourself a check. It's just life and it's real talk. It's music with actual substance to it. There's real lyrics, there's real issues, and it's what we wanted to convey to the listener, not just something fake, plastic, or something they can't relate to, what would be the point?
Is there a track off the EP you were most excited to share?
I like "P.E.O.P.L.E." because it's pretty straight to the point and I think everyone has that feeling sometimes, even if you're sitting in traffic [laughs] or you just look at your Facebook feed and you see all those crazy messages and feeds and stories and you're just like, man - like this election brought out the worst in a lot of people. But also, during the holidays when people were just buying stuff and buying stuff and you see homeless people with barely a newspaper over them when it's freezing out: the selfishness. I like that song, it's pretty cool. I think "Dope Girl" is a pretty cool song. It's pretty pop-y, but I think if someone's in love they can relate to that song pretty well.
How would you sum up Note to Self in one sentence?
That record talks from the subject of suicide to humanity to falling in love; it's just life.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
To be able to relate. That they're not alone, that maybe feeling empty or depressed or frustrated with civilization or even those brief encounters of having a romantic relationship or whatever, they're normal and they can relate to us; there's something that they can lean against.
Is there anything you want to add?
We put a lot of effort into this EP, we sacrificed a lot, and I just hope that the person reading this article just gives the record a chance, gives it a listen and, if they like it, to share it and listen to it as much as they can.