Miles Wide is turning into a trio and making new music.
You might remember last summer when we interviewed Kyle Donovan, who was then touring solo under the moniker Miles Wide. Kyle was New York based at the time, but had lived in Boulder prior to trekking to the East Coast. Last fall, Donovan got an itch to be back in Colorado and returned to Denver to continue his musical pursuits full time. He reconnected with the original members of Miles Wide and recently, the group (with new members too) dropped an EP, The Kindness of Strangers. It was recorded with the talents of Kyle (vocals/guitar), Daniel Herman (pianist/sound engineer), Sam Sherman (drums/vocals), Owen Tharp (upright bass), and Nicholas Pappas (vocals). The EP has been very well received and we’d like to catch you up to speed on this new release and all other things Miles Wide. So keep on readin’:
Kyle- the last time we spoke you were riding around the country solo. What’s it been like getting back into the swing of a group project again?
By quitting my day job and touring around the country, I think I proved the viability of a musical project to the guys that I played with back when I lived in Boulder in 2012. Rather than asking, “Can we do this?” the conversation changed to “Kyle’s going to do this with or without us… Why not do it together?”
It's been a wild ride- in a lot of ways, things are still changing and evolving. Daniel coming into the fold and playing piano has been a huge inspiration on The Kindness of Strangers. I think we'll keep expanding.
Awesome! We know that the new EP was recorded at a church in Denver. Tell us about that.
When I returned to Colorado in October of 2015, Daniel and I had a few meetings over coffee. We traded headphones, listened to each others’ recordings, and started to come up with concepts for a new album. I wanted to make something really beautiful, simplistic, and reverberant. When Daniel showed me some examples of his recording work in the Wash Park UCC, I was sold on the idea almost immediately. It's a gorgeous, intimate space and we had a great time performing there for our EP release party last Sunday.
The EP definitely has the feel of your initial aims, and we love it! You mentioned Daniel- what was it like working with the man behind Mineral Sound?
Daniel was a dream to work with. He's got professional grade sound equipment that would make any roadie salivate, along with a pair of keen ears and a generous helping of patience. In order to get the sound we were looking for, Daniel spent a lot of time listening to different microphone configurations in the church and adjusting equipment.
When we were finally satisfied with the sound, we took some time to set an intention by meditating in silence. That style of mindfulness really made this whole project shine. I'm so proud to call Daniel a friend and a colleague, and I couldn't imagine a better sound engineer in the field of remote, intimate, acoustic recordings.
Nice. Now that the EP is out there, what are Miles Wide’s plans for the rest of the year?
We've been talking a lot about our goals as a group, and one thing we're looking forward to is a mountain town tour in early June. We're thinking about a trip through New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and the Western Slope of Colorado to explore some of the natural beauty in the west and see some new cities. None of us have played in Utah or New Mexico, and seeing Yellowstone is going to be a huge adventure.
Beyond that, we've got some ideas about recording singles and releasing some polished music videos to accompany them. After playing so much mellow, acoustic music, we're ready to rock out a little bit more, too.
That’s great you plan to hit the road! We know that touring was a big inspiration behind The Kindness of Strangers. Do you still keep in touch with anyone you met on the tour? Are any of the tracks specifically about people you met along the way?
Certain songs were reflections of experiences along the way: people like Omar from Hot Springs, AR and Jessica from Oakland added so much beauty to the journey. These were total strangers who agreed- on super short notice- to host me at their houses, to feed me and listen to my story, and to share theirs with me. Now, I feel like I've always known them; like we were meant to meet. Jessica and I still talk all the time, and I'd be surprised if Omar and I didn’t cross paths again down the line.
Watch a Miles Wide live-performance video by Front Range Explorer:
Cool- anything else you want to add to our chat?
We're excited to keep sharing our sound with our friends and fans- the outpouring of support and encouragement that I've seen from just releasing this album has been fantastic.
The other day I told Mike, Sam, and Daniel that Miles Wide isn't just us. As I'm looking back on my experiences and looking forward to new adventures, I'm actually realizing that Miles Wide is everyone. This project isn't about declaring allegiance to any one band, country, creed, or belief system. In fact, I'm a strong believer that nationalism, patriotism, and any form of prideful separation is really a distraction from the truth, which is that we're really all the same. As humans, we all want the same things: our health, our happiness, and the same for our friends and our families. We want to connect, to be seen, to love and to be loved.
I hope we can dedicate our efforts in 2016 to following through on these ideas, spreading happiness through our music, sharing important stories, making meaningful connections, and giving love openly to any and all who are open to it.
That’s a mission as beautiful as Miles Wide’s new release. Give it a listen for yourself: