Today we are sharing an interview with Kirk Farmer: singer-songwriter in Raleigh NC. As a soloist and with The Kirk Farmer Band, he continues to write, perform and entertain crowds from coast to coast. His distinctly bluesy vocals, rhythmical guitar style and free-flowing guitar leads are unmistakable to his fans.
1. First of all, tell us about how did you start your music career?
- My father is a musician back home in Richmond, VA. He plays sax, mostly jazz now. The first time I was on stage was with one of his bands. I sang Johnny Be Goode at about 10 years old. I was hooked after that.
I guess I was about 17 when I joined my first band had my first paying gigs. I was singing in a Grateful Dead cover band at the time. We played parties and a few restaurants here and there. We even recorded a single at a local producer's studio that I had written. After high school, everyone graduated and went their separate ways. I started learning guitar and playing solo shows. It was a couple of years before I joined another band. But ever since then, music has been what I do. Everything else is just a side job.
2. Who are your music inspirations?
- I have a lot of them. Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir were huge influences on me in the beginning. That Grateful Dead cover band I was in taught me how to study music instead of just listen to it. I learned that is was ok to blend genres and make things up on the fly. But before that, I was into Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles. Later on, I started listening to a lot of grunge and hard rock. Then I mellowed out again to Ray Lamontagne and John Mayer. I think you can really hear that progression in my performances now. There's a lot of roots rock and blues in my singing and guitar playing but I also like powerful dynamics and heavy beats. It's a blend that I've tried to cultivate.
3. Our readers would like to know more about your new music. Any interesting facts?
- My latest EP is called Red Eyed Nights. It has three songs that I've been performing live for a while but had never recorded before. The fourth is a new one called My Sweet Karolyn. It's actually a bit country. It's also the first songs I've ever written for an album. Everything else I've ever recorded has had plenty of stage time to grow and become unique. My Sweet Karolyn was written in about an hour then recorded the same day. I definitely made some revisions, but the final version It's pretty much the way I wrote it.
The funny thing is that it's only now beginning to get some stage time and develop its own life. I played this real slow soulful version of it the other night that really felt good. You wouldn't even recognize it from the recorded track.
4. What opinions have you recieved about your music?
- It's always been positive. At least the stuff that's made it to the stage or studio. I'm lucky that I have people around me that will tell me in a heartbeat if something sucks or not. It saves me the time of having to figure it out myself later on after I've invested too much into something. I think that's an important tool to have.
5. What do you like to do more: songwriting or performing?
- Definitely performing. I really love being on stage. In all honesty, I've never really felt at home in a studio environment like I do on the stage. I mean I really like performing live. I love the energy on a good night when everything is falling in to place. On a bad night it can be torturous, but luckily there aren't too many of those.
I've always played in jam bands. The Kirk Farmer band is a jam band, so it's important that we communicate with each other on stage. But its just as important to communicate with the audience. Those nights when everything is clicking, the music becomes like a train. It's moving in a certain direction whether you want to or not and you're just along for the ride. And when the audience decides to get on board too, that's when the magic really happens. Those are the moments I live for.
6. Which countries do you want to visit with tour?
- I'd like to see more of Europe, but honestly, there's just so much to see here in the U.S. There are a lot of venues around the country I'd like to play and cities I'd like to visit. There's a lot of scenery I haven't seen yet. I think people forget just how big America really is.
7. How do you deal with haters?
- I've never really had to deal with haters when it comes to my music. I don't really think that the scene that congregates at our shows is a good breeding ground for haters. Our fans are just good people. Plus, there's not a lot of egos or pretentiousness coming from the stage when we play. I think that makes people feel more comfortable with us. They seem to let their guard down pretty easily. Fans approach us like we're old friends. I think that's pretty cool.
8. What would you tell to your fans?
- Thanks for all the support and we hope to see you at the next show.