Interview: Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Interview: Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio

Kyp Malone is best known for his work with Brooklyn's TV on the Radio -- and his epic beard. In late 2009, he released a solo album under the name Rain Machine. He's currently on tour with psych-folk songwriter Jolie Holland, and they arrive in Pittsburgh -- Malone's hometown -- for an intimate show on Fri., Feb. 4. City Paper spoke with him via phone as the tourmates headed from Carrboro, N.C., to Columbia, S.C.


You grew up in Pittsburgh ...
I was born in Allegheny General, and spent my childhood in Moon, by the airport. I remember seeing a lot of shows that [local promoter] Manny Theiner put on around the University of Pittsburgh, and going to the Sonic Temple, and going to Eide's to get cassettes of different bands. I moved out of Pittsburgh when I was a teen-ager and went to high school in Jersey, then I moved back. Then in '94 I left -- after what I thought was the worst winter ever -- and went to California.

And you first met your future TV on the Radio bandmate, Tunde Adebimpe, in Pittsburgh, right?
Yeah, we got coffee with a mutual friend once -- but that was it. It was years before we met again in New York. 

What's the status of TV on the Radio and Rain Machine?
[TV on the Radio is] trying to finish a record. And -- I mean -- we'll succeed. [Laughs.] I feel like that's going to be what occupies a lot of my time coming up. But I'm also excited to make another Rain Machine record as soon as I have time to do so. I love the family that TV on the Radio is, and I'm excited to take what we've been working on back out and see how it's grown. But it's exciting to play with different people, and this break over the past year-and-a-half, two years, it's been really exciting to get to play with different people in different configurations. 

Something that I got to do that was super-exciting was that me and Tunde went to Algeria this past fall, and contributed to the new Tinariwen record, so I'm excited to hear how that sounds. I didn't really hear any of it, because I was overwhelmed by the process, it was so awesome.

What's inspiring you musically right now? 
We're driving in a car with a broken stereo, so there's a lot of conversation, and silence. But lately -- Jolie and Grey [Gersten, the guitarist/bassist touring with Holland] have been doing this David Dondero cover, and we've been talking about him a lot and his music. I just started listening to this Curtis Mayfield live record, and I really want to go back in time and see him. So if you can work that out for me, that would be good.

Reading anything good to pass the time while you're on tour?
I saw this book at this used bookstore in Echo Park, called Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! It's from the early '80s, and it's like an anarchist take on world history, written by Fredy Perlman. And he's trying to pack a lot in, with a pretty critical eye. We just got to France. He's talking about the development of the Church in Europe. It's kind of a bummer, but it's exciting the way he's dragging the reader through the assault on nature that civilization can be. 

You're arriving in Pittsburgh on the eve of the Super Bowl -- are you excited about the Steelers?
Um -- yeah! I don't really follow sports so much, but it's impossible not to feel something. I'm excited to see what the fever is like. 

I'm just excited to come home and hopefully see some old faces and meet some new people. It's fortuitous to be there right before the Super Bowl, too -- I'm looking forward to it!


Kyp Malone and Jolie Holland. 9 p.m. Fri., Feb. 4 (doors at 9 p.m.). Club Café, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $15. 412-431-4950 or

click to enlarge Homeward bound: Kyp Malone
Homeward bound: Kyp Malone

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