Two years ago, Stevie Moonboots woke up completely deaf in his left ear. An impairment like this would put an end to some music careers, but this Vancouver artist took it on as a challenge. Stevie decided to release a single each month for all of 2016 under a new project, The Orange Kyte, refusing to let hearing loss slow him down.
“There is just this ringing in my ear constantly that’s never gone away. It’s kind of just something that I’ve had to learn to deal with,” Stevie said during a Skype interview from his home country of Ireland. “People quit music because of going deaf, but no, I decide to make more music because I go deaf. Figure that one out! That’s just what I’m like I suppose. I’m just stubborn, so I’m trying to make music despite my hearing loss. I’m trying to stick it to deafness.”
Beginning as a side project, The Orange Kyte quickly took over Stevie’s life. He was frustrated with the methodical pace of a four-piece band, craving something more
“I was in another band at the time [The Orange Kyte was created]. I just felt that everything was moving so slowly that I needed something on the side just to keep me productive, because I just get bored very easily. I’m used to just going in and rehearsing the same old set for two years and it just kind of gets a bit irritating,” he said. But of course, as is the nature of this stubbornly ambitious musician, the hearing loss and single each month challenge were not enough. On top of losing his hearing and taking on an already herculean project, Stevie initially wanted to do all of the recording, writing and producing himself.
Although Stevie had wanted to do all production and engineering himself, he recruited some friends to assist throughout the year. Twelve independent songs emerged. It was a learning process for the musician, and not always a smooth one. Some tracks, Stevie said, ended up being released in an unfinished state at the deadline, but he sees this as part of the appeal: “Sometimes I think that’s what people like about [The Orange Kyte], is the somewhat scattered, perhaps slightly unpolished feel. I wonder whether that will work for or against the music.”
It seems to working for the music so far. Since the conception of the project, a host of musicians have collaborated with The Orange Kyte on each track. Tracks conceived by Stevie would be sent off to collaborators so they could lay their music over the original, and add on to the pre-recorded base track. Often times, this led to all-nighters in the studio and down-to-the-wire production.
“Definitely, this year has been flying by the seat of my pants, mixing songs on the day they’re being released and all that sort of stupid shit. It gets a bit goofy sometimes,” Stevie explained.
Goofy is good way to describe this musician. He does not take himself or The Orange Kyte too seriously, only concerned with pushing the boundaries of his creative capabilities. The psychedelic-ethereal-pop-rock that has come out of The Orange Kyte thus far reflects this ebb and flow personna, with just the right amount of organized chaos to make it work.
“A friend told me that maybe I need chaos or disorder to function,” he laughed, continuing on to say that he hopes this isn’t always the case. So far, however, it has seemed to work in his favour. “I enjoy trying to pull off the impossible sometimes, and failing and learning something. But it’s all just about having fun anyway.”
Now a four-piece band consisting of Dave Molvanie of Cheap Freaks, Robin Schroffel from Fashionism, and Mat Durie of Summering, The Orange Kyte hopes to record two albums this year, with plans for a tour. Stevie also wants to release the 2016 recordings on vinyl, and maybe fly a little bit less by the seat of his pants.
You can listen to all of The Orange Kyte’s 2016 recordings and see accompanying visuals at theorangekyte.bandcamp.com.