BEAR
After a Pause
(Weaseltrap Records)

 

In 2016, South Carolina based Weaseltrap Records released Time and Again from guitarist Bob Kilgore. Later in 2016, Weaseltrap also released a new CD by Bob’s brother Bear Kilgore called After a Pause. Musically, Bob and Bear are on the same page and—with the album performed entirely by Bearthat same high level of musical expertise can be heard on After a Pause. Bob is renowned as a guitarist and the classically trained Bear likewise, shines on a range of keyboard related tracks here that combine New Age sensibilities with a kind of soundtrack vibe. The 15 track After a Pause is very much rooted in all types of instrumental music and would make the perfect soundtrack for a documentary or some science fiction film. Commenting on the title, Bear explains, "After A Pause refers to two very different events. The more obvious one was my waiting six years to make the CD. The other one, of much more eternal significance, was the period between the old and new Testaments in the Bible, in which God was silent for 400 years before the birth of Christ." Bear balances his fondness for synth keyboards with some appealing percussion, which swells in and out of the sound spectrum. Other types of music featured on After a Pause include jazz-piano and instrumental techno-pop. Six years after his first solo album, Untroubled, keyboardist / composer Bear Kilgore returns with After a Pause—his strongest album to date. www.weaseltrap.com






mwe3.com presents an interview with
BEAR KILGORE


mwe3: It seems like the Kilgore family are on a roll in 2016. First your brother Bob released Time and Again and now you follow with After a Pause. Did you both strategize with these 2 music releases? You guys are turning into a new force of great American music families!

Bear: We didn’t actually plan to release music at the same time. I just realized that it had been entirely too long, six years since I shared any music with the world. Bob’s music incubates for a longer period before completing itself and mine just sort of pours out.

mwe3: With your performance and composing, it sounds like you have a classical background in music. What were your musical studies like when you were growing up and what instruments do you play in addition to the keys?

Bear: I definitely have a classical background, having studied for 12 years under a very thorough German piano teacher, who was also an incurable musical romantic, absolutely loving Rachmaninoff. I dabble in other instruments but keys are my thing.

mwe3: Tell us where you’re from originally and what you like best about it? In his mwe3.com interview, your brother Bob told us that he was born in Baltimore but moved to South Carolina in 1999. I guess the whole Kilgore family moved there? South Carolina seems like a cool place to live! Tell us more about South Carolina and where you live there.

Bear: We are the only two in the family who moved to South Carolina. He moved me here because he was tired of having to drive to Jacksonville Florida to pick me up to put my parts on his CDs. It was a good move for me, since Bob also helped me launch my YouTube channel BearKeys. And I have become a recognized piano teacher here as well.

mwe3: It’s been six years since you released your album Untroubled in 2010. What did you set out to accomplish with After a Pause, how would you compare the albums and how do you feel your music has evolved with the After a Pause album? Also are you getting any comments for the title? How did you come to be called Bear?

Bear: After A Pause refers to two very different events. The more obvious one was my waiting six years to make the CD. The other one, of much more eternal significance, was the period between the old and new Testaments in the Bible, in which God was silent for 400 years before the birth of Christ. Musically, the main difference in the two CDs is that there are more different styles on the new one. Bear is just my name, what everyone calls me. Our mother went by the name of June most of her life and didn’t find out she had another name on her birth certificate until her senior years. Bob wrote a tribute song to her called “June Bug” , which is on his Metamorphoses CD.

mwe3: What keyboards did you use to record After a Pause? Musically, whole album has a great animated and kinetic energy. On one hand it’s very meditative yet on the other hand the whole album has some great sonic energy pulsing throughout the many tracks. What were your go-to instruments on the album? Did you use sampling or different computer programs to recreate different sounds like sequencing, fretless bass and vibraphones? I’m thinking of the track “Colors Of Sunrise” which has some great sounds on it! Tell us about “Colors Of Sunrise”.

Bear: My main “axe” is the Roland Fantom X8. It is connected via MIDI to two other instruments, a Yamaha DX-27 and a vintage analog synth, the Roland Jupiter 6. No computer programs are used, just the three keyboards. Together they can create virtually anything, including the sound combinations on “Colors Of Sunrise”. I was ecstatic when I got those sounds.

mwe3: Who are some of your big musical influences? Bob was telling me about his fondness for everyone from Mahavishnu Orchestra to Pekka Pohjola. Have you listened to Pohjola too? Your music is very smartly composed and sonically pleasing so I was thinking you might have heard Pohjola too.

Bear: Bob has referred to me as a musical sponge, absorbing everything I hear and being influenced some kind of way by it. Bob and I both listened to the same albums in the ‘70s and I simultaneously checked out everything else I could find at the same time. Every once in a while I will play with the intro to Pekka’s album Visitation.

mwe3: Track 5 on After a Pause, “Beyond” is great. It has a kind of Oldfield like orchestral effect on it. What more can you tell us about how you composed “Beyond” and what keyboards and sounds you used on that track? Sounds like oboe and strings!

Bear: This song started with the harpish sound and the other sounds just seemed to be the ones that went best with it. Having this particular 3-keyboard setup makes blending sounds a pretty easy and fun thing to do.

mwe3: Track six on After a Pause is called “Everyday Life”. It sounds like there’s acoustic guitar on it too but you said you’re the only musician on the album. Did you set out to create more of a jazzy sound with “Everyday Life” and does that jazzy effect carry on over into “You Make My Joy Complete”?

Bear: My jazz side definitely came out on both of these. The acoustic guitar sample in the Fantom turned out to be perfect for “Everyday Life” and I won’t lie, I had a blast with it.

mwe3: You even get into some type of techno / dance music on After a Pause. Were you influenced by techno and dance music? It’s good that you get into it on track 8 “Dancing For Eternity” but it’s not over the top techno like so much dance music.

Bear: I have always had a dance oriented side. I played house music exclusively for years because I was attracted by both the beat and the keyboard textures that dominated it.

mwe3: Track 9, “Pressing On” starts off sounding a bit like the intro to “MacArthur Park” but it comes into its own with some lovely harpsichord sounds. Simple, but quite lush sound and one of the great tracks on the album. What was your sonic approach on “Pressing On”?

Bear: “Pressing On” just sorta happened. It was one of the later tracks. The more I added to it, the more I liked it.

mwe3: Bob was telling mwe3.com about the Tangerine Dream influence which you were also influenced by. You can hear that on track 10 “The Race” which blends synth bass and mellotron flutes. Are they mellotron flutes samples? The mellotron is like the foundation of progressive rock. Tell us about “The Race” and Tangerine Dream as influences on your music. Also, were you influenced by Mike Pinder, the mellotron master, who founded the Moody Blues?

Bear: Tangerine Dream, and Klaus Schulze were MAJOR influences for me. We had a gazillion TD albums, and I believe we still do. This is the only track where I use another keyboard. The bass is an Arturia Mini-Brute, a totally analog synth. The mellotron flutes are samples in the Fantom. I did also have some Moody Blues albums. I wasn’t really compositionally influenced that much by them, but I loved the Seventh Sojourn LP.

mwe3: Track 12, “To The Remote Regions” features drumming sounds. Tell us about the drumming sounds and how you added drums and percussion to this track and other tracks? You mentioned African inspired percussion on that track. Were you influenced by African music?

Bear: I’m not sure how the African influence snuck in, but I love tuned percussion instruments like marimbas. Like Bob, I was very much influenced by composer Steve Reich, who uses mallet percussion extensively. I did also have access to a Nonesuch Explorer Series album where some music from Africa was recorded. I was always checking this album out at the library. Remember being able to/having to do that?

mwe3: It’s amazing how you segue from African percussion to track 13 “Contemplating”. Did you play the piano sounds on your electronic keyboards or did you use a real grand piano? What is your favorite piano? Are you a Steinway person?

Bear: This is still the electronic keyboards. I’m flattered that you weren’t sure. Everyone loves a good Steinway. lol

mwe3: With so many genres of keyboards covered on After a Pause, how do you plan to approach radio or press or is great music just great music in your estimation?

Bear: Bob is much better than I at the business of distribution. I wouldn’t have found out about mwe3.com for example, on my own. I don’t know what the future holds. I’m hoping that fans of Untroubled aren’t too hesitant on the new styles introduced here.

mwe3: Tell us about the cover art of After a Pause. It’s a very intriguing photo. Was there some photoshop treatments to the photo?

Bear: Bob handled the artwork and I think he made subtle changes. The photo is originally a sunset taken in Corpus Christi, by a photographer named Gary Malarkey, a friend of mine who I only see on Facebook now.

mwe3: Now with your recent album and Bob’s album released, are there other plans underway to further promote the talents of the Kilgore family? Are you and Bob planning to make albums a yearly event or even once every two years event to release your music? Are you hopeful about the future of music, because all the streaming and downloading which exists today sometimes means less revenue streams for the artists?

Bear: We don’t have a promotion strategy in place. At least I don’t. But we are both natural musicians and I believe all of us have an innate desire/need to share what we do. Otherwise, we’d just be on
desert islands somewhere amusing ourselves. If I do another one, I probably won’t wait so long. The digital revolution has certainly changed the music market. But I don’t think I need to say that I would also like to be able to continue this through at least a little bit of revenue. There’s no other way to keep the music flowing.


 

 
   
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