We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyle Mayfield and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyle, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Music is my life force. Its my blood. When i was a little kid my parents used to wake me up by putting music on in some way. Whether it was a Buddy Holly record, a Black Sabbath 8-track tape, AC/DC’s Live at Donington VHS, or a fourth of July concert seeing Herman’s Hermits play their classics: my family was always big on music. I was replicating New Kids On The Block dance movies to my VHS recorded concert when i was in preschool. By the time I was in middle school I started writing horror/sci fi short stories and I would make soundtracks to them by shoving the microphone end of the boom box up against the tv speaker when their music videos came on. When sleep would escape me(which has always been often) I would stay up binging VH1’s insomnia hours and just soaking in every second of every bit of music I could find. The summer of 2000 hit and for my 13 birthday my parents finally saw what my soul was trying to say and bought me a beginner squire bass. I was asked to be the bass player in my friends band to complete their trio almost immediately. That was the end of my life without being a musician. It was maybe a month before we booked our first show and there you had it. we were a full fledge band. The guitarist and I recorded our first TWO albums on cassette with that same boombox later that year with me playing a kitchen stool with drum sticks and him, playing the acoustic. After a year of writing constantly and playing shows where we could I was asked to join another band. So I played in both. Two completely different styles. I have been involved in multiple projects of various genres ever since. When you play music with someone, its a special connection. Its an intimate bond where you are vulnerable and empowered at the same time. Sometimes you can feel yourselves merge into one sound, one being, one soul. Even if its only for a moment. But its a pure moment. Then you have a similar experience with the listeners as well. You become one sound. One force. Superconnected, as Broken Social Scene would say. Music is a key into real magic. Seeing things that you wouldn’t normally see or hearing things you wouldn’t normally hear. You can communicate with everyone without saying a word. And without saying one word, you can say a thousand words. It can take you into its own worlds that don’t exist anywhere else. Where everyone is welcome and allowed to be who they are. Its freedom. Its a gift. Its love. Its my way of life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Ive been in dozens of bands, on a few different record labels, been on several tours including two oversees, recorded I don’t know how many records and have collaborated with an uncountable number of people. None of it was easy, but most of it was a riot of time. In a good way. But it is hard. The road blocks you will face are innumerable. And some seem like you will never be able to climb them. But you just have to keep going. If its what your heart wants, then you go get it. Its never gonna be easy getting what you want. Keep your eyes on the prize and your heart in the right place. Follow your instincts and you cant go wrong. As long as I know my moral compass, I stand by it, I have no problem. Even if it ends something great, just means there is something else that is meant for you. ”Ride the wave” has been my life philosophy for a long time now.(Same with Isaiah and Sam). Life is gonna throw those waves at you. Just gotta keep riding that wave and being grateful your are still on your own journey. Trust that you are where you are suppose to be. Last but most certainly not least…. DON’T FORGET TO FIND YOUR PEOPLE. They are out there, looking for you too. You have to keep your head and heart right, but you cant do everything your own. Once you find your right crew you will know. Things will be different after that. I promise you. I am a multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer, and a composer. I am in several different bands/genres and play various instruments within those bands. In 2018 I decided to turn my home studio into a record label, Outpost 31 Studios. My life partner, Kim Bastian and I run it from our home in Oklahoma City. We have been doing MOST off the work from artist development, to mixing and mastering, radio contacts, to album covers and one sheets to physical production and promotions. Just doing what we can for our love of music. Ive been involved with record labels before. Kim has been involved behind the scenes with music as well so we wanted to be different. We let the artist keep all of its artistic integrity and we use our resources to find more ears for the artist, offer any useful tools we have for them, and to give them a platform to host their materials on. The music we host is a bit on the unusual side, if not completely on the unusual side. We like it all, but we are big fans of the weird too. An example of the WEIRD: Larry Chin: My longest running band called Larry Chin(also doubles as my nome de plume). Its an experimental, non-linear horror story saga that is told in volumes/albums at a time. Musical styles range from acoustic singer songwriter, heavy guitar rock, ambient scores and foley sounds, basically up and down and everything in between. It starts with the story of a struggling insomniac, Larry Chin, who heads to a cabin in the woods to try and get some sleep before he loses his mind entirely. Comes to finds out there is more in that cabin then he bargained for… is the cabin haunted? Is he crazy? Is it BOTH? The story also involves a deadly neighborhood involving ghosts, minsters, serial killers, just to name a few. As the stories swirl around each other, the middle ground is begging to be discovered as Chin has recently slipped into what seems to be a rushing nightmare full of….. well i guess you will have to wait for Volume 5 to find out. Its mostly me writing and performing, and doing most of the in studio work. However I have the pleasure of getting to work with as many peoples I want to with this act and it makes it so much fun to invite people in and get their strange take on this bizarre story. I love experimental music. I love doing things out of the norm, and so far out of the norm sometimes that you are in entirely new worlds. To mix in sound effects to paint the surroundings the characters are in. To put your eyes where theirs are. No matter what goes on with Chin, a lot of it has aspects of my life and me telling my own struggles through it. Volume 5 is currently in the works with a release date as TBD. You can find Volumes 1-4 on our bandcamp. Thats just one example. We also have an electronic bedroom recording artist, Cruxible, who has released his first record by recording live performances of his electronic moody and driving atmospheres into his cell phone on a book shelf., He then sent not to me where I mastered those trac ks and we put it out.. It turned out very well. We are down for experimentation on every level. Not just the music side. It won’t always be super strange, but its never gonna be just right on the tip. We like the layers. Another upcoming release we are stoked for: *Untitled Quarantine Compilation* OP31ST has been working on a Quarantine Compilation since we went in, and its quite the doozy. It is the fourth giant comp Ive had the pleasure of putting together. I love seeing artists work with each other for the first time or the millionth time. There is always a new sound to be made or discovered. Just get the right formula together and you will be surprised. This one is the biggest one one to date. Over 20 musicians from all around the world, over 20 songs, mostly composed during quarantine with the exception of some vault tracks i found hiding out. Some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met are on this record, and We couldsnt be prouder to be releasing it this year. Electronic to loud guitars, to quiet ambient sounds or acoustic compositions. We do it all. If you are doing music on your own then awesome, way to go you and keep it going. But every now and again at the least, find someone to make something new with. It will change your world. Happy Transmissions: My very good friend and brother Dusty Saunders, known as Blotto Films, is an incredibly unique animator and storyteller. His series is called “Happy Transmissions”.I have never seen anything like what he does with this series. He tackles such topics as death, love, the constant chased search for happiness and so much more in such a way that it always hit you just right. I am beyond stoked to be the composer in this series. I have always wanted to score film, since the first time i picked up any instrument. So to be able to work with a pioneer such as Dusty, is a dream come true. He captures the insatiability of us as humans, while still keeping this childlike sense of wonder and humor. But he always leaves you with so many lingering thoughts and feels. Even if i wasn’t making the music for this, I would still be the biggest fan. Its good for the soul and has so much depth to it. So very, very grateful for this opportunity. Episodes 1-4 can be found on Youtube, as Episode 5 will be out soon! We also have an electronic bedroom recording artist, Cruxible, who has released his first record by recording live performances of his electronic moody and driving atmospheres into his cell phone on a book shelf., He then sent not to me where I mastered those trac ks and we put it out.. It turned out very well. We are down for experimentation on every level. Not just the music side. It won’t always be super strange, but its never gonna be just right on the tip. We like the layers. Honestly its such an honor to be apart of so many talented artists work. I get giddy when I know I have a project to work on. Whether its mastering the brand new EPIC Softaware record that will make your feet move, your heart strings get pulled, and will open your mind to new possibilities. Or packaging our very first Vinyl print for Cult band HVRGLOW and their new collaborative drop. Every single aspect of it, I love. Passion is what sets us apart. Anybody with passion will be set apart from the rest. And in that, is where you find your people and your path. Like energy will gather. Stay Passionate. Stay true to you. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Here inoklahoma we have a lot of bars and a lot of restaurants, But here is what I would do: First off, I would take them to my favorite bar/venue: The 51st Street Speakeasy. The staff is some of the best people you will meet in Oklahoma. Great drink selections, great prices, the place itself is a huge old speakeasy with several rooms and comes equipped with its own ghost. On certain nights you will catch some tension and possibility some visuals from our lovely ion house spirit. (Oh by the way I am a horror freak , should have mentioned that earlier, explains the Larry Chin project haha). This crew also is probably the biggest music lovers in the city. When they could, they hosted tons of shows all the time. Even on sunday they have an open house jam session for anyone to come get their jam on. For the best conversations, music, and drinks hit up the Speakeasy. Really any weekend day is great for going. Definitely gonna need some food- There is a tiny hole in the wall in a little suburb town where I am from called Mid Del Taco. Nothing like it. Cheap as hell, not the greatest thing in the world, but man you just cant beat it. Go and spend 15 bucks and try to eat it all. You will want to so badly, but won’t be able to because you are so full. While we are hitting the south side, we take our full bellies and head on down to the Winchester Drive In. Super old drive in theater that still kicks a lot of tush. Been going since I was a kid, and will continue to until they stop me. I have seen some top notch movies there, including “Twister” when it came out and it was thunderstormning during the film. Really gives you a sense of dread being a little kid and not knowing if the movie will get you or the real tornado will. Now we shall hit the streets where ;local shops go to live: The Paseo Arts District. SO many local shops, with weird things, and old things, and weird people buying old things, and old people buying weird things, and all that good stuff. Lots of beautiful murals, and eateries. Even some local smoke shops that will cater to the card carrying individual. Quite a good time if you got time to shop around. We may not have many museums, but our Science Museum is pretty awesome,. Lots of things to do and learn of course. Not to mention the shadow room. Where you can jump at just the right time as the light flashed and leave the perfect jumping shadow on the wall. Also get a taste of what an earthquake feels like(even though we get real ones now, its still nostalgic). Or hit the planetarium which is my favorite spot there. Lay back and watch the sky and constellations as someone tells you all about them. Just don’t fall asleep, because you are bound to snore and we will find you. Then you could hit up the local favorite restaurant, Guyutes. Grab their Tequila Sunfries or throw back one of their signature cocktails before you head over to- The Tower Theater. Where you can catch some bigger touring acts like our friends Built To Spill, or The Mountain Goats. Or scratch your dive bar needs and hit The Drunken Fry. Especially if you are there to see the very strange and uniquely groovy local band, The Endocrine Twins. (lots of great local talent, too many to name) We have some really awesome Nature spots too, Like Martin Nature Park or you can drive a little ways and hit The Arbuckle Wilderness where you can drive through and pet all kinds of animals! You are bound to see and meet a lot of people that are interesting and worth getting to know. Of course there are bad seeds everywhere, but I know a lot of really good people that would brighten your life up with one convo. I know there are other places, but this is a good run at an itinerary. Come on down and lets hang!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are SO many people who have helped in numerous ways along this journey, and I would love to thank each and every one of them in person someday. But today, Im gonna focus on two guys in particular, With out Sam Welchel and Isaiah Sharp, I would be nowhere near where I am today. The three of us have been tearing up the music scene for 15 plus years now. We have played in multiple bands together, taken those multiple bands on the road, recorded pretty much every one of my projects in various studios across Oklahoma. Sam has engineered or helped produce majority of all my projects, and Isaiah has helped produce and engineer a whole lot of them, as well. We are all multi-instrumentalists as well, so anytime anyone is looking for a hired musician or some to hop in with the rest of us, they are always at the top of my list. They are my go to guys for everything. “Experimentation?” Yes Please. “Whats that instrument? Can you play it? Not….Lets do it anyway!” “What time is it? Who cares!” Its always such a great time with these guys and the results are always fantastic. I have learned so much from Sam as an engineer and producer. Same with him as a drummer. Top Notch. Isaiah has taught me how to pivot and think on your feet, and think differently. His guitar playing is very unique to him and always inspires me to write outside of my own box. More Top Notchness. Their open-mindedness, their patience, and their dedication to their values and what they believe in is contagious. I can always trust them to be real, honest, and care about what really matters. Through the thickest and the thin, these brothers have been right with me the whole time. When one gets down, the others bring them, up . Its ways been like that, and it always will be. My brothers for life. Thank you for the inspiration, the passion, always whipping my ass into shape and keeping my focus on the right things.
Celtics shirt by Mixing Board-Kim Bastian Photo of two of us-Kim Bastian band on stage-Liz Humpula Guy in field-Kim Bastian Notebook and 8track- Kyle Mayfield TGTG- Kyle Mayfield Me with guitar-Kim Bastian