Steeped in psychedelic garage rock sensibilities, The Orange Kyte’s Stevie Moonboots has become a beloved voice in Vancouver’s diverse music scene since leaving his hometown ofDublin behind in 2012.
For the Orange Kyte’s new album, Masquerade, Moonboots has drawn inspiration through reflective observation of Vancouver, unearthing his curious take on the duality of the human experience.
“I’m very interested in psychology and sociology,” says Moonboots. “I’m just interested in what lurks beneath the façade of everyday life. You know when you’re having a bad day and you see somebody who looks like they haven’t got a care in the world, but you know they’re looking at you thinking the same. The masks we wear and how we present ourselves from a societal point of view has always fascinated me.”
The Orange Kyte’ssongwriting process conjures cascading kaleidoscopic visions of orange hues, and dreamy rock psychedelia that hits the aesthetic core of what Moonboots refers to as a growing — most certainly an orange coloured and hallucinogenic patterned — “umbrella” of genres.
“I try to keep a theme in my head then join the dots and make it cohesive. I’m very standoffish when it comes to dictating parts to everyone in the band. One of us starts playing and then we all join in. The focus is on creating the best possible songs I can write. We never limit ourselves and our sound is an ever-expanding umbrella of musical influences.”
The lenses in which the band got its name is multifaceted, being an interesting homage to the past, with a surprisingly potent metaphor of rocks subversive power.
“I didn’t have a name for the band before I released the first single so I asked my girlfriend at the time what her favourite colour was, and it just happened to be Orange,” Moonboots says with a laugh. “Kyte is prison slang for contraband communication. People think I’m doing a playful version of kite but that’s actually not the case. Contraband communication you can relate that to music, and sometimes rock and roll can be that.”
Avoiding any form of contrivance has been one of The Orange Kyte’s most cherished values. Comfortability as an artist can lead to a weakening of the messages found in the songs, losing its “humanity.”
According to Moonboots this is something many artists of the past have strived to avoid as it can dampen originality. Aware of this trap, this new offering feels truly vital and informed coming from a place of exciting inventiveness. Impressive for a genre of music that has existed for many decades.
“You want to create a body of work, like Guided by Voices for example, that leaves a legacy. Contentment is the death of your art. David Bowie said to never let your feet touch the bottom of the pool,” Moonboots says.
Masquerade is available now via Little Cloud Records. The Orange Kyte perform Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Astoria with Howlin‘ Rain.