Yesterday I spoke to Pierre de Reeder, bassist and founding member of Rilo Kiley, about Rkives (released via his record label Little Record Company).
After The Show: So Rkives came out last week — how’s the release going from both a label and band member perspective?
Pierre de Reeder: So far so good…It’s hard to separate those [perspectives] at this moment. It’s exciting that it’s out and people are buying it and liking it – people who have been fans of the band for a long time. There’s an overwhelming amount of good comments which is awesome to see.
I think you’ve set up Little Record Company as an admin label…how does it operate?
I’ve started more of an administration label. It’s more an artist funded label and I deal with everything a label would do otherwise to release stuff – hiring independent press and radio and putting everything through a distributor. This [RKives] is a more traditional release actually as far as handling everything.
I like the prominent bass on “I Remember You.” The songs on Rkives cover years and years. Is there a track you most connect with and one you least connect with?
Our opening track “Let Me Back In” is something that’s been endearing to all of us for a long time and one thing I’m glad we’re finally able to release. The second song “It’ll Get You There” has always been a favorite of mine as well that didn’t get put on any record. I relate least to “Dejalo” but it’s fun.
What’s a typical day for you –is most of your time taken up by running the label?
The label for this release has been one of my full time jobs for sure that’s taken up a lot of time. I also own a recording studio and produce and record a lot of records so that is another very time consuming endeavor. I’m also a family man and I have kids – my priority. My days are very long and packed full of stuff in various directions.
Artists can love the process of creating their work, and then they have to promote it and do Twitter and be a salesman, which is an entirely different skillset than creating the original art. What’s your perspective on that?
Certainly you become a peddler at that point. You’ve got your coat open, watches dangling on each side and you just do your best. There’s people that know a lot more than I on the business side…this release is the most engulfing. But it’s interesting – I can’t say I’m a businessman first – never was, never will be – but I think I fake it pretty good and get everything done. I do get engrossed in trying to be a peddler. I did major in business and marketing in college so I do try to apply that. With my label, I just try and give friends and people I like an outlet to release their music.
You have a recording studio — what qualities make a good sound engineer or producer?
Interesting question – I guess it’s such a subjective thing because there’s the technical side…you need to know what you’re doing from a technical perspective but then there’s the subjective ears and taste. From the producer perspective, it’s completely subjective. What you bring to the table is your experience in music, [they’re] hiring you for your opinion and what you can bring to the music based on your taste.
You and Jason Boesel have both released solo albums and can obviously sing – why did you guys never sing lead vocals on a Rilo Kiley song?
The band is established as Jenny as a singer and Blake as a singer…it’s already plenty of singing cooks in the kitchen. We love the dynamic between them. It’d be too schizophrenic and just not appropriate for that band. We have other musical outlets.
Will you release a follow-up to The Way That It Was?
I think so, yeah. I’m slowly writing new things and then recording them eventually. It’s funny and ironic having a complete, robust studio at your fingerprints and not utilizing it for yourself. That record took me 5 years of thinking about it and recording it to finally release.
At what point in Rilo Kiley did you realize you could support yourself just by playing music – was there a specific turning point or was it more gradual?
It was always a gradual process, at some point yes we were able to be a working class band able to make a living, between sales and touring.
If you could be a musician in any time period in history when would you choose?
Hmm I have thought about this…I guess I relate sort of to the late 60s early 70s era…I could see myself there. I don’t know if I would prefer that to my own period. I kind of like my own period of time.
There’s mystery and conflicting reports about the origin of the name Rilo Kiley – a dream about being chased by a sports almanac, an Australian football player from the 19th century, a character who predicted the date of Jenny Lewis’ death…do you want to clear that up?
I can totally confirm that all of those stories are true.
Thank you Pierre!