Jammin' In The Ham with Kyle Holly & Charlie Thornton of Modern Measure June 02, 2016 23:23
Photo by Taylor Wallace: iWally Photography
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
As we prepare for the upcoming weekend at Jam In The Ham at Zydeco in Birmingham, we are sitting down with several of this year's performers to learn a little more about this year's lineup. Next up is Kyle Holly and Charlie Thornton of Modern Measure, a wildly talented electronic duo you don't want to miss out on. Modern Measure is scheduled to perform on Friday night at 1:00 AM.
Modern Measure is a hybrid electronic project like none other. Infusing live organic instrumentation with artfully crafted music production is what sets them apart. Modern Measure was formed in the musical hotbed of Atlanta, GA in 2013. Coming off of sold out performances at Terminal West in ATL, to touring nationally all across the United States, Modern Measure stays true to art and music. Kyle Holly (Live Drums/Music Production) and Charlie Thornton (Bass Guitar, Music Production) keep the party up at all times. Taking inspiration from around the world, along with Electronica, Hip Hop, Rap, Funk, and Rock influences, it all blends meticulously.
In just a short time, Modern Measure has shared the stage with friends and renowned artists such as STS9, Big Gigantic, The Disco Biscuits, ZOOGMA, Manic Focus, The Floozies, The New Deal, and Turbo Suit. With the help of their label, 1320Records, they continue to push the bar releasing original material, alongside remixes from very respected artists that continually inspire the band.
Modern Measure has performed at music festivals across the country such as Camp Bisco, Suwannee Hulaween, North Coast Music Festival, Summer Camp Music Festival, Summer Set Music Festival, Counterpoint Music Festival, and Euphoria Music Festival just to name a few. Get familiar, get comfortable, and lock yourselves in. Modern Measure is a name you will continue to see in music for years to come.
Much has happened since the formation of Modern Measure in Atlanta in 2013. Your sound continues to evolve, with a tremendous amount of music coming from just two guys. How do you guys go about creating original music in such a unique way?
Kyle: We really are inspired by everything. We take influences from different points in our lives and translate it into what we're producing. Charlie will start a track, or I will start a track, and we'll just go with it. As time has progressed, we have collected a lot of instruments and samples that's helping the production grow tremendously.
Charlie: We tend to start tracks individually in Ableton and bounce ideas back and forth. After working in the studio on the last record, the approach to our production is changing and growing. We are trying to start doing more in studio production and conceptualize the next album.
Let's talk about the first full-length Modern Measure album, Epicenter, due out this Friday (June 3rd). How long has this collection of songs been in the works, and how has the recording process differed from your past experiences in the studio?
Kyle: We started producing the tracks really in depth fall of 2015. We got Montage and Riddle about 80% done in November, and started to test them out in the sets at our live shows. We were on tour with STS9 at that point in time, so those crowds really dug the melodic elements of those particular tracks. We decided in January of this year to go Muscle Shoals to record at the old Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, now known as Cypress Moon Productions. It was a 3 day long affair and we spent the night inside Studio A doing as much work as we could. We hadn't really done anything like that until that point. It was a total lock in. It was a lot of fun.
Charlie: Everything before now has been produced from home or from one our practice spaces that we have had. These are the first tracks we had help recording and producing the acoustic drums. Behind The Light had drums but we produced them ourselves. We also added bass guitar this time around. We plan to keep expanding these live elements. We will be adding saxophone to some of the newest stuff as I have brought that to the stage for almost a year now.
Watch Modern Measure's official music video for "Riddle" here:
As the Modern Measure's demand continues to grow, the schedule will only get busier. Have your touring plans been any different thus far in 2016? How do you go about finding that balance between life on the road and life at home?
Kyle: The balance for me is just music. If we're on the road, we're playing music live. If we're at home, we're working on music. I enjoy being home because it allows me to be able to work on new things. I also enjoy being on the road playing shows and us connecting with people. That's really what it's all about.
Charlie: We are playing some of the same festivals but many different ones than last summer. Sometimes the balance can be tough. Most of my production is done from home or in our studio, so I'm making moves to get my mobile set up optimized so I can produce more on the road. This way we will be able to work on and put out more new material.
We're coming up on this weekend's Jam In The Ham in Birmingham. This two-day festival showcases a great deal of young talent from across Alabama and beyond. While Atlanta is home, you certainly have deep roots in Alabama. What do you feel this lineup says about the current music scene in this region?
Kyle: Alabama is very much home for us as well. Birmingham is one of our favorite cities to play to be completely honest. There's an energy there right now, and we've felt it the last three or four times we've played. I think the lineup is great, and showcases multiple genres that kind of quenches everyone's thirst musically. I'm excited to catch Daily Bread again. He's a great producer.
Charlie: Birmingham is still like a home to me as I went to school there and have many friends in the area. Many of the artists on this lineup I have personally seen become producers over the last few years. Many on the line up are bands that I have seen for years, even before I was a part of Modern Measure. There is definitely a solid music scene in Alabama that will continue to grow.
While many fans of Modern Measure will be on hand this weekend, many may be seeing you perform for the first time. How would you best describe what those an attendance can expect from you guys on Friday night?
Kyle: There will definitely be some new songs, and get ready for a healthy dose of saxophone. Our dude Seth Hanna will be in the house on lights too. He adds so much to the show.
Charlie: We are going to bring numerous elements to the stage. I will be bringing sax, bass, and keys and Kyle will be playing drums. We will be playing many genres of electronic music like future bass, jamtronica, and drum n bass. We plan on keeping the energy levels as high as possible. Don't forget to bring your dancing shoes!
In addition to the upstairs and downstairs stages, Jam In The Ham will also provide a special collaboration stage this weekend. Will you guys have a chance to take part in any collaboration with other artists performing?
Kyle: If there's time, we love collaborating with other artists. One of our favorite guitarists, David Wright, lives in Birmingham so you may see him with us this weekend.
Charlie: I would be surprised if we didn't take the time to hit the collab stage for a couple jams with friends.
Before we wrap things up, is there anything coming up in the second half of 2016 that has you guys particularly excited?
Kyle: We have some announcements that haven't been made yet that we're really excited about. We also have some stuff in the works this fall with some amazing artists that we really look up to and respect. There will also be more new music coming this fall.
Charlie: Without saying too much, I am looking forward to hitting some water slides again this summer. We definitely have a bunch of songs on reserve that I am excited to be releasing the second half of this year too.