Hats off to Kyle Thornton & The Company, who are starting to make a name for themselves as a soul band in Boston. Or perhaps more accurately, hats on to KT & The Company, since the three band members I spoke with wore hats at the interview.
Kyle Thornton (lead vocals and guitar) sported a fedora, Zakery T. Lewis (trombone) a baseball hat, and Henri Young (bass) a beanie. Disappointingly, not everyone in the band rocks a hat. “Johannes doesn’t wear a hat,” Young said. “Johannes is a hat.”
A cooking demo was starting on the second floor of Trident Booksellers and Café, and with the only the first floor café open people began filling in at tables and booths around us. Thornton and Lewis ordered coffee—fuel for finals at Berklee College of Music. It was 5pm.
The 8 members of the band, including 3 horn players, are all students at Berklee College of Music (or have just graduated) and hail from various parts of the U.S. “I’m that weird guy in the hall that’s like, ‘Hey, Neighbor!’” joked Thornton.
While Kyle & Co. is most band members’ main focus, guitarist Sam Segerblom plans to pursue a solo career in Sweden and London and gets a ton of respect and support from the rest of the guys. On Boston musicians he admires, Thornton said, “Sam Seg is number one.” Lewis noted Boston alt-rock band The Oversight as a local group he admires and added, “You can’t not say Bron Don.”
Other artists who inspire Thornton and the group are The Roots—who they all went to see at Boston Calling—as well as D’Angelo. “I’m the biggest D’Angelo fan in the world,” said Thornton, who explained that he grew up ten minutes from the R&B star in Virginia and used to search for his house with friends. “As creepy as that sounds we were like, yo, where does D’Angelo live?”
Everyone else in the band is involved with other musical projects. Lewis estimated that he played with 18 groups last semester. Noah Conrad, the group’s trumpet player, is featured on Esperanza Spalding’s fourth studio album, Radio Music Society.
Meanwhile Kyle & Co. is working on their debut album, entitled Space to Move, which they plan to release on April 3rd. They have two singles on the way as well as a music video of a song the group describes as Motown. Some of the tracks are arrangements of songs from Thornton’s solo EP’s, others are written by the group as a whole.
In one of two singles the band has put out so far, “Lemonade,” Thornton sings, “Girl, you’re like a tall glass of lemonade / You’re perfect on a hot, muggy summer day.”
With a tall glass of lemonade in mind, I asked what drink each band member is like. Here’s what Thornton, Lewis, and Young came up with (illustration by Charlotte Agell):