PK and the In-Betweens - 10 Questions Music Interview
PK and the In-Betweens is the latest project from singer/songwriter Paul Kleinert. For ten years, Kleinert wrote and performed with Waiting for Rain, a group he formed in 1988 with his high school friend Jeffrey Larish. After the band faded out, Kleinert took a sidestep from music and poured his creative energy into teaching. Today, he is back in the studio with years of real life experiences to share.Teaming up with Philadelphia Engineer/Producer, Brian Bricklin (Bricklin, A&M Records; Martin's Dam, Sire/Hybrid Records), Kleinert has been releasing new singles. Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
My Dad always had a radio playing when I was a kid...mainly standards and big band kind of thing and I remember I discovered some 45's my Mom had growing up, all mid/late 50's early 60's music...I was captivated. I really started listening to more and more music in middle school and started writing in high school. Music/writing was just an attempt to find another way to communicate thoughts and feelings that I didn't really know how to express at that point. Even today writing provides that type of outlet. You get to step into the role of storyteller...sometimes those stories are your own, sometimes they are complete fiction. Hopefully the story becomes one that the listener can connect to and make their own.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
We were opening for a national act with a pretty big radio hit at the time and the lead singer lost her voice before the show. They literally played the big radio hit and walked off stage. The club owner asked if we could continue to play for the rest of the night. Other than our fans that came out, no one there had any idea we were just local guys. We sold more CDs, T-Shirts and signed more posters than any other show we ever played.
The other crazy story is the extreme opposite. We were playing a club in Philly and 5 minutes before we went on, they told us we had to pay for lighting if we wanted the light guy to do his thing. The cost of lighting was more than we were earning from the gig...we played our 40 minutes in complete darkness!!
What has been the high point of your music path? Playing for 10 years with my band Waiting For Rain created some of the best memories and times I've experienced. We were lucky to be friends and even luckier that many of our fans became friends...some even became family...I met my wife while playing! We met so many wonderful and kind people along the way and at the end of the day, that's the stuff that really matters. I'm also so extremely thankful that I'm still writing and creating...that next high point is just up ahead I hope!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I am not a super disciplined writer in terms of setting aside dedicated writing time. I usually wait for the songs to come to me a bit more organically. Sometimes I start with a melody, sometimes a set of lyrics...sometimes there's a story or an event or a feeling I want to express and songwriting is the avenue that best suits that type of creative expression for me. Lately I've tried being a bit more intentional in my writing and have given myself mini songwriting challenges: write a sequel to a previous song, write to a song prompt/title, write a duet or a circle song...these self imposed restrictions have been a great way to get better at writing and they've produced a couple of really interesting and promising results!
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The most dramatic thing right now is obviously the inability for artists to play live. Although many bands are starting to transition to some type of online live music presence, it doesn't come close to generating the type of money and opportunities that existed with live performances. Combined with the popularity of streaming services, artists have to be super creative and work very hard to make things work.
Streaming is a double edged sword for the Indie Artist. It's easier than ever before to distribute music in the digital age. You literally can have people all over the world hear your music via Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube etc. This last EP has been played globally in places like Germany, the Netherlands, Croatia, Argentina, Spain...the list goes on, BUT it's very difficult for artists to make money when each stream only pays something like $.004 per stream. When I was first getting into music, we purchased records or cassettes or CDs. It's different now...very few people still buy physical product.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. First and foremost it would mean Tom would still be with us. It's still really hard to believe that he is gone. I was lucky enough to see them multiple times over the years and I got to see them on what ended up being their last tour. Petty was a master songwriter and Mike Campbell and the rest of the Heartbreakers are about as good as it gets when it comes to an American Rock-n-Roll band!
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
This has been a studio only project at this point. I released the "Lifetime of Almost" EP in mid-January and by March everything was shutting down. I'm hoping to play a few live shows when things open up sometime in 2021.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
The "hit song" that I've yet to write.
What's coming up in the future?
I'm currently in the studio working on a couple of new songs. I hope to continue sometime late winter/early spring to get a few more songs recorded and hopefully release a follow-up EP late 2021.
For more information about PK and the In-Between, please visit his website.