Q&A with Unknown Component

Keith Lynch of Unknown Component, University of Iowa Couch and Desk Show

Unknown Component is a one-man musical machine created by Keith Lynch. This Iowa City-born band (now located in Ames) began in 2002 and is releasing a new album this month. I snagged some time with Keith to talk his upcoming album, local music scenes, and his favorite show. Make sure to hit up his CD release show at the Beechwood Lounge on October 12th.

Band Bombshell: You’ve been around for a while. What’s your favorite venue to play?
Keith Lynch: I enjoy playing at most any kind of venue from bars and coffee shops to outdoor festivals. In my experience, the crowd tends to be more important than the venue.

BB: Tell me a little bit about yourself and how music fits into your life.
KL: Music is almost always involved in my life in one way or another. I try to dedicate as much time to it as possible. I usually try to dedicate any down time to learning something new.

BB: Describe Unknown Component’s sound in three words for our readers who haven’t checked you out yet.
KL: Philosophical, abstract, and honest

BB: Where did you play your best show and why was it so awesome?
KL: It’s difficult to pick one show above all the others, but I did have a great show the other night here in Ames. I also enjoyed playing The GDP Festival in Des Moines and there was a show at Grinnell College that was pretty amazing as well. It almost always depends on the audience as to whether the show is a success or not. If they’re into and loving it and everything is going right with the sound, you can’t ask for anything else.

Keith at the Beechwood Lounge

BB: Tell me about your new album that’s out this month. You’re a one-man band—do you also do your own recording?
KL: Yes, I recorded the new album in my own home studio. I’m really happy with how the album turned out. I recently incorporated some new equipment into the process which really helped to bring out some new sounds and ideas. I’m also always working on becoming a better producer and I think that comes through in this album.

BB: What three mainstream bands would you compare yourself to?
KL: That’s a tough one, I honestly try to stay away from comparing my own music to anyone else. I’m really trying to create my own original sound and I want people to approach my music without any preconceptions. It really seems like a subjective thing as well, I’ve heard so many different comparisons that it seems like it really depends on the listener more than anything else.

BB: How do you keep your music fresh?
KL: Ziploc bags… [just kidding]. I try not to stick to any particular formula or way of doing things. There are no rules for me when it comes to writing a song, some songs began on the drums, others begin with a guitar riff, it all depends on what appeals to me. Not having a specific process seems to free me up to new ideas and ways of approaching things.

BB: If you could play at one festival or venue anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
KL: I’d have to say either Glastonbury or Reading, or maybe Coachella, Bonnaroo, or Lollapalooza. It seems like there have been so many great performances at those festivals over the years.

BB: Which city has the best local music scene and why?
KL: Another tough one…. As far as Iowa goes, I think that the central part of the state is really doing some amazing things right now. Both Des Moines and Ames are really doing well and the 80/35 Festival seems to get bigger every year.

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