Tiny Stills is a fifth wave emo rock band from Los Angeles, California made of friends who actually like each other; Kailynn West, Chris Clark, Mike Diggs, & AJ Peacox. They say, “you can call us Bubblegrunge, but in our hearts we know the only genre title that resonates with us truly: vomit pop.”
We caught Kailynn West on her way to load in at Tower Bar on the band’s last stop of their May tour with Devon Kay & the Solutions and Matamoska!
Photo: John “Corgi” Lafirira
1. Growing up did you have a favorite musician that you looked up to?
Growing up, the musician that I probably looked up to the most was my guitar teacher. He taught me how to play rock music. He played outlaw country, and I liked punk, and he taught me how to do both. He wanted me to play really aggressively. He taught me how to do that and not be afraid to play loud. It was awesome.
2. What was it like starting your musical journey in Hershey, PA that musicians who started on the West Coast wouldn’t expect?
What was cool about Hershey is that I had a community of musicians that I liked because I went to an art school in Harrisburg. We played a lot of shows together at youth centers and coffee shops. I don’t know if that’s what musicians on the West Coast do, but on the East Coast it was youth centers, coffee shops, hall shows, and a lot of those musicians are still playing today. I run into them on tour and it’s be really cool.
3. You can play lots of different styles, including classical guitar, but what is it about punk rock and emo that makes it special to you?
I feel like growing up in the 00’s listening to punk rock and emo, I always wanted to be like those musicians. It always resonated with me the most, and I think it’s because I grew up as a teenager listening to that music, so I always wanted to make that music because that’s what resonated with me when I was a kid.
4. Tiny Stills released two new singles this year with accompanying music videos: Bleeding Out and Bury the Hatchet. What were some of your favorite moments shooting those videos?
I think watching John (Lafirira) and Justin (Nelson) make the videos, as they were shooting all the other band members. Watching them work and communicate was really fun because they have a way of making things and being creative that is really funny, the way they work together. It’s not unlike working in a studio or making music, but watching the behind-the-scenes creative people on the video was what was so much fun about making those. And also watching all my band members die and getting blood everywhere. That was awesome, too.
5. This year Tiny Stills has started touring again. What did you miss the most about touring?
I think the thing that I missed the most about touring was the rides in the car in between the different venues because there’s a lot of laughing and joking and sharing music that happens that’s very fun. When you don’t have time to do that, and you don’t get to do that, especially during Covid, it felt really isolating. So that camaraderie and getting to feel that again was a really big deal.
6. And what’s something about touring that you didn’t miss?
I really didn’t miss the feeling of not drinking enough water and feeling dehydrated. I don’t drink enough water on tour and I didn’t miss that. I was very hydrated during the pandemic.
7. What’s the top city on your bucket list that you want to play someday?
It’d be really cool to go to my hometown. Hershey is not on a huge touring circuit, ya know? People play in Harrisburg sometimes, but a lot of times it’s Pittsburgh or Philly, and Hershey’s a little bit in the middle. It would be really cool to play my hometown because I haven’t been back in a really long time.
8. You’re also a talented audio producer. What advice do you have for women seeking careers in professional audio?
Oh my gosh. I could go on for days about advice to give women getting into audio. I’m trying to think of what I would tell myself.
In like many professions, you will always be underestimated. And finding ways to deal with that professionally will always be the biggest hurdle of any career path, but especially in audio. The only advice I have for feeling completely underestimated, or belittled, or talked over, or not listened to, is to not take it personally, even though it is personal. It just does not serve you to let it get into your bones in that way that’ll stop you from continuing to do your best work. It doesn’t serve you. You can’t let it get to you. You can fight it in other ways, but just do your best and make the things you want to make, and tell the stories you want to tell, and don’t let anybody get in between you and doing that job because it’s more important.
9. The band has a full year of touring and writing new music. What are you most excited for right now?
What I’m most excited for right now is to schedule the writing sessions that are going to make the next record the best record that we are going to make in our career as a band because I know, and I can feel that we have so much energy pent up from Covid and the pandemic that these next songs we’re going to be making together as a group are going to be the best ones. So I’m really feeding off that energy and want to keep that momentum, and I’m looking forward to writing it because I know it’s in there, I know it’s in us, and I know it’s gonna be good.