G: What 3 albums have influenced your writing the most? Why?
WK: 1. Nick Drake – Pink Moon. This was Nick’s last record, it’s all solo acoustic. It is packed with raw performance, intricate songwriting, and extremely honest emotion. I think it gives a rare chance to just hear one the greatest singer-songwriters at his rawest (guitar & voice), letting the melodies, lyrics and harmonies speak for themselves. Jose Gonzalez’ ‘Veneer’ is a similar record in that respect, though very different in its context.
2. Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker. Not only do Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings play on this record, but every song is a gem. It flows seamlessly, track after track – your finger never thinks about pushing the ‘next’ button. Faultless writing, faultless performances, beautiful sounds.
3. I’m torn between Elliott Smith -Figure 8, and Tracy Chapman’s debut record. Such different records! But they both have an uncanny way of making you connect with them. Such unique voices and trademark songwriting. I suppose what ties all these records is raw emotion. For me that’s what separates the greats from the not so greats.
G: What guitars do you own? What other gear(s) do you use?
WK: I own a steel string, acoustic Collings SJ, a Fender Telecaster, a Gibson Les Paul Custom 1957 Re-Issue, and a steel string acoustic Fender Malibu. I just bought a Kala Tenor Ukulele too! It pains me to say I rarely pick up my electric guitars.. the closest I get to amplification is plugging my Collings in to a Fishman Loudbox 100 (great acoustic amp). The closest I get to gear/pedals is my Boss Tuner!
G: Can you share one tip each on the following with young musicians:
– Never be arrogant/rude to your engineer. Sometimes it takes a while to fix a problem/get a good sound.
– Carry around a notebook everywhere – I like to write on trains a lot.. there’s nothing else to do but observe and think.
– Do it a lot! It’s the only way to get rid of over-nervousness.