Billy Kernkamp is releasing his full-length debut album, 1976, on May 15 at the Detroit Bar. Last week, he gave us a glimpse of his life in Orange County. After the jump, he gives OC Weekly a sneak preview of 1976 with the song “Ounce of Hope” and talks about his servants –er, his band.
OC Weekly (Danielle Bacher): “Ounce Of Hope,” includes the lines “Been
waking up crying so close to gone.” How do you maintain such an upbeat
sound on an album that's heavily influenced by hard times?
Billy Kernkamp: I think that's the trick, man. Life is about trials, and
you either transcend them or go into despair. Some of those demons are
kicking my ass and I save that for my songs. You know, it's very
therapeutic. No matter what, one door closes and another one opens. “If
you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen.” Wow, I
can't believe I'm quoting Conan right now.
Now that you have a full band, are you going to change the name?
Billy Kernkamp: They're just my servants [laughs]. I'm kidding. I may have to
change the name.
Dallas Kruse: We are all in it for the same purpose. No one is here for
the money. We are here for the music. In most bands there is always
conflict, but we are all best friends. We will always be here for Billy.
What's the story behind the album's title?
I've always liked the year. Not just because it's when I was born, but
it's my first time being born on a record. I've been in a bunch of other
bands, but this is a new beginning. I'd use my social security number
on the album, if I could. I was told in my twenties that if I reach 26
and haven't played music, it's over. Music is geared to the youth, and
guys my age are still acting like kids. This album is 100 percent
me—take it or leave it. I hate reading a record that sounds like your
reading a novel. It's simple and you can remember it.