INDIE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT - EVAN PALMER of KEY LIME PIE by Mark E. Waterbury
ARTIST NAME: Key Lime Pie - vocalist, keyboardist, songwriter Evan Palmer
MUSICAL GENRE: Pop with rock, funk, jazz and blues influences
CURRENT RESIDENCE: San Rafael, CA
YEARS IN MUSIC BIZ: 18 years
WEB SITE: http://www.keylimepiemusic.com
CD’S SOLD: 500
FAN BASE SIZE: 600 on mailing list
MM: Has Key Lime Pie always done mostly original music?
EP: In the earlier incarnations of the band, we played a lot of Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead. We started dabbling with our own music, but then we kind of broke up for awhile. After we got back together in the mid-90’s, we decided that this had to be first and foremost an original band just to create an outlet for our songs. We stayed that course for a couple of years, but were having so much fun playing the covers that we sprinkled some back in and mixed it up. We are sort of a two headed monster in that respect, but thank goodness we are still able to honor the original side.
MM: There seems to be a lot of musical influences in Key Lime Pie’s music. Is that what you always wanted to do, weave those different styles together?
EP: Yes. It certainly was not a conscious decision or something we mapped out ahead of time. It was more of a natural progression of what we listened to. Sometimes when we did a cover tune we would see if we could tap into that energy and find some progression or riff and add our own ideas to it.
MM: Is songwriting a cooperative effort with all of the band members?
EP: There are chief songwriters, and during the years a number of people have passed through the band. I am actually the only remaining founding member, and through attrition, I have become the main songwriter at the moment. (laughs) We had other people over the years who brought some songwriting to the band. But even the songs that I bring to the band are open to embellishment or changing from the other members.
MM: In the 90’s when you reformed the band, what did you do just to let people know that the band was out there?
EP: We did the usual. We got on the phone and called everyone we knew and told them to come see our gigs. We made up flyers, compiled a mailing list and kept in touch with them...the usual low key promotional efforts. You form that circle of fans and as you go that circle increases with the more people that you meet. You just keep trying to expand that circle and hope each person tells one or more other people about you.
MM: Would you say your music is popular with many age groups?
EP: Thankfully, our music does lend itself to many age groups. I don’t know that the younger kids like it as much, but it is something to do. We play a lot of fairs and festivals where you perform for kids that can’t go to bars...and I hope that they like it. (laughs) We play one regular gig near Stanford University, and you know college kids are all into rap and hip-hop. We actually have this whole instrumentation going with our music, no sampling or anything. I think that enthralls them to some extent.
MM: You just released a new album “Must Be The Moonlight.” How is your marketing plan for this album going to differ from your previous one to increase CD sales?
EP: We brought aboard a great PR company, and I think that is a step in the right direction. We are trying to delegate a little of the work load. After the first album, it was enough of an effort to get the CD recorded right. So we had the CDs pressed and then it was, "now what?" (laughs) We were throwing it up against the wall and seeing what stuck. Now we know what kind of questions to ask, and thankfully, we have moved a bit further down the road with our performance base. We have moved out to other counties in the (San Francisco) Bay Area and that is going to be our primary promotional vehicle to let people know we are out here. We’re revamping our web site to put a fresh face on our band, and hopefully at the gigs people will sign up for the mailing list and keep up with the web site. Ideally, getting out and doing that leads to CD sales. We’re going to work local radio as well, and see what kind of outreach has traction. If something seems to be working well, then that is the basket we will put our eggs in.
MM: What is the feedback you get from your fans about what they like the most about your music?
EP: I think it is accessible to the listener. It’s not heavy, it’s not real message driven, but I think it is well-crafted. In our songs people tend to hear something that is stylistically familiar to them. You have a lot of different aspects to the songs, and I think to the listeners' ears they can always find something familiar to them.
MM: What level of success would you like to see with Key Lime Pie and what do you feel it would take to achieve that?
EP: Our philosophy of being in music is we feel we have to do it. There is an internal drive that if I am not playing music and having the band as part of my life, then I am not going to be happy. To lift my spirit, I have to be doing this and be involved with it. If we don’t reach a certain level by a certain time, I don’t really care. The important aspect is I am doing this. We are not really end-result driven as if our profit margin is not a certain percentage in five years, we are going to go do something else. We don’t have that kind of pressure on ourselves. All we try to do is get a little better each day and each month. We try to see what is working and make adjustments when they are needed. We try to keep our pulse on what is working, and I do see us as getting a bit further down the road, and if something comes of it on a grand scale, that’s great. If nothing comes of it, well music is still what we are going to be doing because we are trying to be true with ourselves. :->