5 Under 5000: Tiny Stills Refreshingly Bright Power Pop During Incredibly Dark Times
5 Under 5000 is a series highlighting artists with under 5000 likes on their official Facebook pages. These are artists we believe are worthy of your “likes” and deserve a listen. Follow along weekly to discover some new artists.
Tiny Stills is a Los Angeles-based power pop band founded by Kailynn West. The band recently released their second album Laughing Into the Void out on June 1st, which is filled with tattoo-worthy lyrics, brutal honesty, crunchy guitars and catchy melodies. In this feature, Kailynn shares a bit of her creative inspiration, the message behind the new album and a playlist of songs she listened to as she wrote Laughing Into the Void.
Be sure to keep up with Tiny Stills, check out their latest release Laughing into the Void and go give their page a like!
Tell us a little about who you are and how you got to where you are now.
I’m Kailynn West and my band is called Tiny Stills. This project is the byproduct of dealing with the fallout of bad times and a desire to turn them into songs that made me feel better. My origin story involves being held up at gunpoint, struggling to feel normal, my life falling apart and having to rebuild it. That rebuilding involved creating this project – Tiny Stills.
Can you describe your music to us in just three words?
Cathartic power pop.
Which artists or groups are you currently listening to? Who or what is your greatest musical inspiration?
I’m currently listening to a lot of Charly Bliss, Tancred, The Unlovables, Bad Cop Bad Cop. I draw a lot of inspiration from The Weakerthans, Weezer, The Rentals and early 00’s pop/rock.
How do you draw the inspiration to create music?
It usually comes when I’m feeling really bad about myself. Making music makes me feel better. I tend to hibernate and write until I feel good again.
Where do you find ideas?
I almost always write the lyrics first, so my ideas start with an idea I want to convey or feeling I need to get out that I feel people will relate to. Usually, when I feel like it’s too personal, that’s when I dig in deeper.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I read a lot of books, and lyrics are always where I go first so that helps stir up some ideas, and then I remove any expectation and just make something without judgment. I don’t have to show anyone, I just have to make it.
You released a new album called Laughing Into the Void, what did you aim to say in this body of work?
The idea behind this album is that even when things feel hopeless you have to try to keep going and make the best out of bad situations and find your laughter again. Just keep going.
How would you describe your music-making process for this album?
Each song on this record happened a little differently. I wrote and flushed out comprehensive demos for most of these songs in one sitting. “Don’t Call Me A Catch” took a year in between the verses and finding the right chorus.
What has been your biggest challenge or conflict in making the album?
Scheduling was difficult. Andy Freeman produced and engineered two songs, and then we had some scheduling issues and I ended up self-producing the rest of the record, which was fun and challenging. We also switched studios in the middle. Lots of scheduling.
What would you like new listeners to know about you?
I love a good lyric and a good hook. I tend to meld complex or sad ideas with catchy happy songs. I’m also an engineer and producer, but this was my first time officially doing it for Tiny Stills.
What is your most important message for your fans?
Its ok to be ok with yourself, even if you’re not always ok. You’re not alone.
Lastly, tell us a little bit more about the songs or theme you chose for your playlist?
These were the songs that I was listening to a lot when I was writing Laughing Into the Void and I love them so so so much.