Rarely do you have the chance to come across those artistic magicians that are tapped into the Universe as is Kimberly Perry, and then further have the humble opportunity to speak with them and receive the gift of them opening up and allowing you into their mystical world. Carving, honing, finding inspiration through environments and consistently seeking to create their most authentic sounds to please people is at the heart of renowned The Band Perry. Kimberly Perry and her siblings are gunning harder than ever with new songs rolling out this summer that have been inspired not only in their hearts while in places that bring such to life, from Malibu to Tennessee. Without further ado, Kimberly Perry...
Dane Kennedy: What has it been like to establish and build the overall sound of The Band Perry?
Kimberly Perry: We’ve always historically, from the moment we were an independent rock trio all the way through our time in country music, and now moving forward, we’ve always evolved very quickly and sometimes very dramatically when it comes to the sounds that we were in love with in the moment. One of the things that’s been so exciting and freeing is not really having any boundaries; if we want to put banjos in a song, we’ll do it because we want to. It’s just been such a freeing moment to really look inside our hearts and find “what are we doing 100%?” We have nothing to answer to but “what do we want to do in the studio today?” No rules, it’s been really such a joy.
DK: That must be very powerful when it comes to being able to walk into the studio and not having any strict restrictions or constraints so to speak.
KP: Yeah it’s been really cool. One of the things we talk about a lot that’s interesting is it really has caused us to double down on our instincts, and what I mean by that is because we like so many styles of music, there was so much music in the house [growing up], and because of that our taste is very chameleon like. We love a lot and we like to play around with a lot and so what happens and makes the challenge in the studio is even if we love it, what makes it 100% our band’s voice right now? It’s definitely refined our instincts...and to encourage each other, and double down and know that “this is definitely the right direction.” That’s been a cool evolution in the way that we work with each other.
DK: What have you learned from making such major changes to your sound and style? You personally, what have you learned from doing it?
KP: That’s a great question. For me personally it’s about really earning the courage to be my absolute self. There are certain sacrifices that come along with wanting to be yourself all the time. I’m a people pleaser so I always want people to be excited and in love with what I’m making and what I’m bringing to them. Authenticity and perspective, I think that’s really what art is. If you look through the threads of songwriting on a certain project...the songwriting perspective never really changes. We love language, we love poetry, but the sounds have changed as we’ve grown up. Having the courage and awareness to be your absolute self in the moment and share that with people, that’s probably the greatest lesson that I’ve learned.
DK: Along with that beautiful answer and taking it a step further, what also inspires you? What inspires you ultimately as you enter the studio or as you’re creating a new sound, or a new song, and you said ultimately for you it’s about pleasing people, so what is that within you that inspires you to do that?
KP: I think the one thing that I’m always considering when we’re in the studio, that we talk about is what is this feeling going to be like when it’s live? That’s one thing we focus a lot more on in this generation of our band. We want to build an environment, and there are environments that are determined based on the feelings that we want people to have. Mysticism, escapism, spiritualism, with a brutalist underground. It’s about creating an emotional environment. What also inspires me personally when we’re writing is a physical environment. Some of the new songs were written in Tennessee where we have a farm, some of them were written in Malibu at Shangri-La which is Rick Rubin’s studio...we try to put ourselves in an environment that feels like the sound of the music that we’re wanting to create.
DK: Of all the physical environments, which has been the most impactful for you, where you really connected with it and felt it coursing through you?
KP: I personally really love working out at Shangri-La in Malibu. I remember feeling like this a place that’s so inspiring. Everytime I step on the ground here it makes me feel like I can do anything, can accomplish anything. It’s been a really special thing to get back to Shangri-La over the past couple months. It’s a very child-like purity when I’m out there. It’s just so inspiring to be out there; that’s my favorite place. It’s just so interesting to get into different moods in a given location.
DK: What is most exciting about this next chapter in your life?
KP: These songs that we’ve built that we’re going to start rolling out over the summer, we’re gunning even harder, with the songwriting and the sounds that we’re building. It’s funny because even though it’s more subtle maybe than the revolution of a sound, I still feel the evolution happening very very quickly.
DK: When the three of you walk into the studio together, that moment you walk in and you’re truly looking to create that sound, that feeling, the music that is your most authentic, what is it like in those moments when you first begin doing that between the three of you? Does it all seamlessly flow, or does it take a little to navigate your way through it, or does it immediately come to life?
KP: It definitely takes a minute for us to carve the sound out. What flows the easiest is the song writing portion of it. We will always have an instrument in our hands when we’re writing, it’s the most fluid part of what we do. Then, it’s alright, we have this song, what mood are we setting with it...we try to set an atmosphere and a mood and then comes the time to really start carving. I feel like the songs have a little bit of a mind of their own, but also when we know we’ve landed on the right, the perfect bed for the song, it’s very exciting, and it then happens very quickly at that point, but sometimes it takes weeks to get to that point. It’s really interesting, it’s almost like archeology.