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Meet Kyle Rasche (of Chain of Lakes)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyle Rasche (of Chain of Lakes).

Hi Kyle, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in Detroit and grew up splitting time between our house in Okemos, MI and the family cabin in Central Lake, MI. I took piano lessons as a kid and picked up guitar in middle school. My formal music education was in the choral arena, studying under Frank DeWald in high school, and with Dr. Jonathan Reed at Michigan State. 

I started writing songs my freshman year of college and promptly dropped out after my sophomore year to pursue it with my first band. After some terrible decisions, and more than a few hard lessons, I came back MI and finished school. 

After school I spent two seasons playing music on Mackinac Island before moving to Detroit. I performed in an acoustic duo – Rasche & Flynn – for a few years before recording my first solo record with producer Jim Roll in Ann Arbor, MI. That was my first Chain of Lakes record (2010 self-titled), and I’ve been releasing music as CoL ever since. “The Catch Album” (released 5/13/22) is my 6th album, soon-to-be followed up by another full-length this fall that I just finished recording. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I wouldn’t say it’s been a smooth path… but I have a great support system, so it could definitely have been worse. I spent a lot of time trying to make music that fit into whatever “box” was popular… and wasted a lot of my creative energy trying to write for whatever the current band line-up was. It wasn’t fulfilling or particularly well-received. 

Something clicked for me about three years ago when I stopped trying to be cool and really embraced songwriting as an artform. I started putting in the work every day and found that people really responded to the heartfelt personal songs that I wasn’t vulnerable enough (or good enough) to write before. Learning to express myself in that way has really changed a lot for me and my career. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
This is a difficult question to answer about myself… At my core, I am a songwriter. It took me a while to realize that… 

Now, when people ask what instrument I play in the band, I say “I write the songs”. Which is true! I have a rule that if I’m not far-and-away the worst musician in the band, then I don’t want to be in the band. 

As a writer, I try to make songs that tap into emotions we can all relate to. Whether it’s a song about breaking in a baseball glove, or a tribute to a naughty dog, or a song about the stupid stuff my wife and I fight about, etc… I try to wrap my stories up in a way that conjures up something familiar. 

If I can make you laugh and cry in the same song, I did my job. 

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
I’m endlessly inspired by my friends. I love songwriters and have met so many that I cherish. I’m in a few songwriter groups that submit new songs every month, and they always blow my hair back and keep me working to keep up. 

For literature, I always come back to Vonnegut for humor and Steinbeck for imagery and language. And my wife reminds me how old I am every time I grab another WWII book. 

I love Joe Pug’s “The Working Songwriter” podcast, and when I need a laugh, I love Conan’s podcast, and the “Smartless” guys crack me up. 

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Image Credits

Eric Ellis
Carlton Macksam
Andy Baker
Kristi Lynn Davis

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