For his first ever interview, he’s poised, collect and speaks very eloquently about his music. With such a gigantic array of interests, he’s able to describe his sound with clarity and downright conviction. Sitting in front of me at a small café in Uptown with a shiteating grin on, or maybe the look of delirium from his all-night music video shoot, Braden Palmer expresses his excitement about this interview. Palmer and his musical endeavor, Detuned Kytes, take sound and creativity to all new levels. Mashing together punk, pop, hip-hop, funk and psychedelic genres, his music defies all mainstreams today. For one working so vigorously in the music industry, it’s a shame he hasn’t been recognized earlier. Ready to take his music and performances to the next level, Palmer opens up about what it’s like being an innovative, true musician in today’s anything but music industry.
It All Starts With Connections
It’s a dreary Tuesday afternoon in Minneapolis when the thick aroma of lattes and fresh coffee fills my nose. The Urban Bean Coffee shop in the Uptown district of the city would prove to be a very nurturing atmosphere for an eye-opening interview. Born into a family of musicians, Palmer has had notes and keys in his blood from a young age. Growing up in the small northern town of Pequot Lakes, Palmer fed off the talents of his family, which gave him the building blocks for his growing empire today. His older brother would often make the trip down to the Twin Cities with his band and Palmer would tag along. “He used to headline downtown,” he said. “I kind of grew up down here through my brother. In the music scene, anyway. That’s where I got most of my connections from.” Alongside his brother, Palmer and friend Brandon Van Vliet decided to turn their love of music and film into a lucrative business. At the ripe young age of 15, Palmer and Van Vliet, then 25, started Restraining Hollywood, a company dedicated to producing quality music videos and Indie films. “I was just a kid when we decided we should start an independent movie company,” Palmer said. “It was kind of his thing so I let him take that but we had so many great things going on. And, it was totally independent.” Getting a hands-on lesson in the technical side to entertainment, Palmer quickly began polishing his creative skills. He was scoring films, recording music and lending a hand or two on local independent films. “You gotta give your time and effort into the things you are passionate about,” Palmer said. “It will all be worth it in the end.” Dabbling in many aspects of his interests, Palmer showed now signs of slowing down.
Racing through his childhood, Palmer was determined to make a name for himself in the music industry. At such a young age, he had so many things lined up it almost seemed impossible for him to fail. Getting his hands on anything related to music, Palmer gained a strong grasp on his musicianship very quickly. “When I was 16, I had enough stuff to set up a recording studio in my room,” he said. “I wrote, produced and mixed everything myself.” Moving forward at a rapid pace, Palmer was unstoppable. His love of music turned into love of film, documentaries and everything in between that could be considered a creative outlet. Shortly after outgrowing his bedroom, his focus shifted on creating a bigger, more creative space for his expanding interests. And, the fall of 2009 would be the catalyst for what is today the Detuned Kytes.
Building The Empire
With the summer of 2009 behind him and a plethora of recordings in the books, Palmer began setting his sights higher and began to dream bigger. If he wanted to be taken seriously in the industry and produce even better material, he would need a studio of his very own. And just like that, Stuckhog Studios became his newest adventure. “I started to build a recording studio so I could write the way I wanted and put whatever I want out without any say of upper figures in the main stream,” Palmer said. “It’s really dark in there and I built it all by myself. I went down to Menard’s and got the shit I needed and went at it.”
Huddled up north in the town of Pequot Lakes, Palmer describes his oasis hidden in the woods surrounded by wolves and goblins. “It’s a very unique studio and label. On the outside you can see nothing but meadows, woods, wildflowers, wildlife, etc. But, on the inside it’s very dark and basically only lit with candles and electronic screen lights,” Palmer said. “It’s a really comfortable working atmosphere for me. It’s silent if I want it to be. [It’s] in the middle of nowhere. I have it decorated like it’s the waiting room into hell,” Palmer laughs. “The walls are black and dark red, the carpet is red, furniture is all black, I have a lot of skulls and bones, flowers, and a comfy couch shaped like a red pair of lips. A lot of dim red lights too. There was a kid in there a few weeks ago who said it made him feel like it was Halloween all the time,” Palmer laughed. His love of all things dark, twisted and “on a different planet” is showcased throughout his eclectic studio.
After Palmer and Stuckhog Studios was fully set up, he hit the ground running. Nearly two years later, he has been hard at work putting out six albums, scores for dozens of films, and close to 20 projects for documentaries and short films. “I’m trying to get as much stuff out there as I can.” He is also working on getting as many music videos shot as possible. Alongside Van Vliet, this is a possibility. The night before the interview, Palmer was engaging in an all-night video shoot for his newest single “Scan The Room.” “Working with Brandon on the music and film aspect, I get music videos in return,” Palmer said. “The starving artist term is alive and well. You get back what you put in.”
“It’s Time To Get Rid of the Recycled Stuff”
Having such a musical family to grow up with, Palmer has had the luxury of being exposed so some of rock and roll’s greatest names. Throughout his childhood into his adulthood, this ear for good music has not only stayed with him but also greatly influenced his sound. “I was really big into the 90s movement,” Palmer said. “I listened to Nine Inch Nails, I was a huge Doors fan, Nirvana, TuPac, Radiohead, Pink Floyd. It was kind of a mixture of everything.” He expresses his flexible music tastes allows him to write something poppy and catchy one minute, and something moody, dark and industrial the next. “I think that’s how it should be,” Palmer said. “I’m trying to do what feels right and change the scene of music. It’s not for the art anymore, it’s for the image and the money. It’s overproduced and old. I’m trying to shatter and destroy that.”
Proud to take on the lead role in the music revolution, Palmer is trying to capture a “new sound” and get as far away from the mainstream ideas as he can. “It’s time to get rid of the recycled stuff.”
Getting the Kyte Flying
Having a firm grasp on his overwhelming task at hand, Palmer stands ready to take on this responsibility. While a solo act, Palmer and Detuned Kytes are much more than that. The knowledge of music technology and the patience to let his projects mature has set his company up for great success. “I’ve had this certain image since day one,” he said. “I wanted to build my own thing, do it on my own. And, now that I’m at the point where I’m at, I’m ready to get my band together.” Proud of his already loyal underground fandom, Palmer sets his sights on getting the band off the ground and onto the stage.
As Detuned Kytes, Palmer has never put on a show. But, his portfolio of songs, music videos and badass approach to music make him a local must see. “I want to start a band and start getting my music to the people” he said. “I would like to find some guys that are really into this shit. Why not put on a show, bring it all to life. Really meet the album.”
And meeting the album is on the near horizon, Palmer expects. Later this month, he plans to release a double disc titled Channel Surfing From the Pits of Hell, which has 22 songs showcasing how vast his tastes and talents are. “This record is the closest album to compare my art,” he said. “It’s very abstract, very experimental. At times the sound goes from Nine Inch Nails to The Flaming Lips to Pink Floyd. It’s all a big psychedelic trip.”
Always having the need to feel busy, Palmer simultaneously has other projects in the works as well. The remainder of 2011 will be a busy but productive one, he said. “I have a lot of giant things I want to accomplish. I am only 23-years-old. There hings I haven’t done and I’m just biding my time,” he said. “I want to be the creator and inventor I know I can be. Why not put back into the thing that raised me?”
For more information on Restraining Hollywood visit http://restraininghollywood.com/.