Meet Kyle Lamont
Tanner travels downeast to Sullivan to talk with road-tripping music journalist and host of Concert Cast the Podcast, Kyle Lamont.
Reveal Episode Transcript
[00:00:05] As I crossed over the Penobscot Narrows Bridge on my way out of Belfast and into Ellsworth it struck me that there is a significant amount of and I have yet to discover. I knew this of course I’ve only been living here for a year and my childhood is hardly more than a distant memory at this point. I remember my childhood summers in Maine in the same way that I remember losing my first tooth or getting my first haircut. In that I know those things happened. I know I was there for them but I don’t really remember them. But driving over that bridge I was struck by just how remote I was at that moment and how beautiful my surroundings were. And then I was struck almost immediately after that by the thought that on the spectrums of remoteness and beauty.
[00:00:54] I wasn’t anywhere near the ends. There is so much more here to explore. I’m on my way to meet Kyle Lamont a road tripping music journalist host of concert cast the podcast owner of Good To Go Studios and owner of the lucky stone retreat in Sullivan. I know Kyle digitally my company the Portland pod edits her podcast
[00:01:20] That is to say I edited her podcast but we’ve never met in real life which makes this interview really exactly like all the other interviews I’ve had up till now. But the meeting is a long time coming because of all the podcasting clients I have here in Maine.
[00:01:37] I don’t have any that don’t live within 20 miles of Portland where I live I arrive and Elsworth around 11:00 a.m. and after lunch a tour of the city with Kyle and a bit of snowy driving we wind up at the Lucky stone retreat and the conversation continues. Or for the sake of this podcast begins I ask if she wants to plug downtown Ellsworth before we start.
[00:02:05] Yes we just strolled along Main Street and high street in downtown Ellsworth. It definitely has become a hub for I hate to say the word but it is a cultural experience for down stirs. You can go and get a great beer. You can get Indian food can shop go to the grand and see a great show. You know there’s just definitely a re-emergence of artists and like minded thinkers and elsewhere. You know we’re really trying to have people think of Ellsworth not just as a layover on their way to Bar Harbor but more or less as a destination. You can really make a weekend out of Ellsworth.
[00:02:55] I agree with that sentiment. It’s actually a very nice town. Seems like it’s growing too. I can easily imagine it’s much different now than it was 30 years ago. I ask about the house we’re in the lucky stone retreat Kyle’s home most of the time but her Air B and B rental when she’s traveling for work.
[00:03:15] This place where we’re at the Lucky stone retreat and Sullivan is just a gem. You know I love sharing this place with people through Air B and B in the summertime because it’s a it’s just so pretty.
[00:03:31] And you know I’d like to say that solitude and connection are one in the same here because you can truly be alone with your thoughts yet feel so connected to the world around you. You know right outside the window here the clouds are clearing to reveal Cadillac Mountain. You know you can look over and see Bar Harbor you know just knowing all like the little coves that you can kayak can explore. It’s just a great place and I I love sharing it with travelers.
[00:04:04] I want to know a little bit about the history of the house. But Kyle seems a little resistant. She likes to live in the moment with an eye on the future so she’s not a fan of looking back at the past but she does wind up sharing some thoughts that reveal just how important the house is to her.
[00:04:21] I don’t like to think too hard about it because it gets really sentimental right. And then sentimentality leads to mortality right. I don’t like to think too much about the temporary ness of everything. Yeah but ironically right. That view of Cadillac Mountain will forever be here you know.
[00:04:44] But just knowing that my grandfather was gifted this parcel of land when he was 18 and he would come over here. He lived in Bangor and he would come here and camp and hang out with friends and you know just he he saw this place and loved it. And so his parents gifted it to him. And just knowing that he loved it so much as a young boy into his teens you know. And then later sharing it with my grandma and they would come up here and camp and just like be right here and then and then they decided to build a little cottage here you know.
[00:05:23] And coming across those blueprints and coming across handwritten letters to the contractor she’s talking about some building plans and correspondence between her grandfather and various contractors that she found in the attic a while back was one of the best discoveries ever.
[00:05:43] When remodeling this house you know just wild to think how his love for this place is still you know it was passed down to me for sure and knowing he never would have known you know right that like people from Alaska or Australia would ever stay here. And when I get great feedback on Air B and B from people from like these places I just mentioned you know it’s it’s so heartwarming and I feel as if I know that my grandpa would be stoked that these people are seeing the same thing that he did. Yeah. Coming across those blueprints and seeing how they built this place from the ground up and and just you know having the love to hold on to this place and share it with other people is is a privilege. You know it’s it’s funny because like when you’re on on a mike. I just wish you could hear inside my mind when I wake up in the morning. You know when I make my coffee and I’m able to sit in the same exact chair and look out the window and it’s mesmerizing. It’s hard to sometimes get up and do anything because of this view just as stunning and you see different perspectives. Every morning I have this running theme right now I’d like to take one picture every morning of the water because the waves are always different.
[00:07:16] The light is always different and you know just documenting that is something I’m trying to do this year is just sort of a running montage or a theme of photos. You know it’s cliche to say but it never gets old. And when I correspond with travelers that visit here I let them know I I assured them that it’s OK to stay and not you know feel rushed to do things because you know when you’re traveling you feel like you have to go and do everything at once especially in this area. There’s a lot going on. You got scooting point down the road in Winter Harbor you know it’s just a 45 minute drive to Bar Harbor and Acadia. There’s a lot to do And fill your day. But a lot of people get back to me and they say you know days we never even left you know because you can really enjoy yourself here. There’s a private beach you can walk down have picnics you know just wait in and out of the water in the peak of the summer. I definitely go for a swim so there’s a lot to do.
[00:08:23] I ask her broadly about her grandparents grandma and grandpa.
[00:08:26] They met at a dance somewhere in Massachusetts. My grandpa was in the army and so he was some some. For some reason in Massachusetts and met my Nana at a dance I love that.
[00:08:38] Like just about having a place that has the music going and creates connection and and just knowing that my grandparents were at this dance meeting with the help of live music just warms my heart you know and my nana was not from Maine. My grandpa is and all of my side of my dad’s side of the family is so he brought her up here and they definitely made you know planted roots in the community. And I remember growing up and just being so proud of my grandma and grandpa. They were volunteers at the Ellsworth Medical Center and they would go in and we’re just like pillars of the community volunteer there. And that was I was always so proud of that. They’d wear like matching outfits like Grandpa would wear the red like smock and grandma would wear like the pink like candy striper-esq dress apron thing and away they would go in there in our station wagon. And I was so so proud of that because they just loved to help.
[00:09:52] I ask about her parents. My mom and dad met at HBO in the 70s so I like to say that the passion for media and the passion for entertainment is definitely in my blood. And so they met at HBO and then they lived in New York City together for a while and then my dad got a job in Denver with a cable company and back then right like cable was king. So they moved to Denver and basically that’s how my beginning started was in Denver dad worked at what was called dimension cable and then soon after they both moved to Phoenix Arizona and they both started their own cable marketing company. So it’s definitely in my genes to be in production you know and they they. At the time started when cable was just it not just like making its way towards the peak you know. And they killed it had an awesome company. They were great at what they did. They you know they were the Yin Yin and yang in cable.
[00:11:15] Having parents in the industry must have had its perks. One in particular must have been the envy of the schoolyard.
[00:11:21] My sister and I would do voiceovers for Nickelodeon. Like when you see commercials within your region right like where a spectrum cable division right spectrum will run their Nickelodeon ads in a local sense.
[00:11:35] So it’s not like it’s a it’s a really interesting business model but to make a long story short yeah we would do voiceovers for that particular cable outfitter per region but it’d be like yeah like watch Clarissa Explains It All On a spectrum you know so we would do like the localized Nickelodeon spot but marriages rarely last forever these days.
[00:11:59] My parents didn’t make it. And maybe years did neither. Kyle’s also weren’t destined to go all the way.
[00:12:05] Unfortunately the marriage dissolved the company dissolved and the divorce got really messy.
[00:12:13] She went on to give more details about the divorce but in retrospect she didn’t want those specific shared publicly. And that’s fair. Divorces are pretty traumatic and they’re very rarely an enjoyable conversation. Anyway I guide the conversation to a more work related topic. I want to know about Kyle’s production company.
[00:12:34] Good to Go Studios where a multimedia production company based here and down east Maine. We specialize in local commercials independent movies music videos and now podcasts.
[00:12:48] I asked if good to go had any recent projects that Mainers might be interested in knowing about.
[00:12:52] Well I’m very proud of a short movie called passive aggressive dads that we produced last May in Blue Hill Maine and it was sort of the spawn if you will of me reaching out to a local writer and director and I reached out to him because I’ve been writing a script and wanted to have a writing partner or just you know some help feedback and collaborative synergy with someone in the area and I reached out to him because he has an awesome script about being in a cult and also he wrote a script that was produced for Sesame Street which is really hard to do. His name’s Jim Piccolo he lives in Blue Hill with his awesome family and from reaching out to him.
[00:13:48] One thing led to another and we shared some writing back and forth. He shared with me his script passive aggressive dads and I was like laugh out loud dark comedy and I was like How can we work together to get this made. And just through our grittiness and our love for production and utilizing resources in this area we made it happen before cutting for a break.
[00:14:14] I wanted to know how Downey used was changing specifically whether or not it was changing during the tour she gave of downtown Ellsworth. Kyle pointed out a lot of new culturally rich restaurants and referred to the town as increasingly a cultural hotspot a cultural experience in towns like Ellsworth creating a more expensive economy in an area that isn’t altogether known for its wealth. In the first place can sometimes cause some big issues for longtime locals. This is something we’ve heard expressed on this podcast from our guests quite a few times about Portland. I wanted to know if Kyle was worried about this upscaling so to speak. Was she worried that it would make it so that down Easterners could no longer afford to live down east where she worried that young people might stop caring about traditional down east jobs and adopt more quote unquote modern jobs in order to make more money. I really wanted to know Kyle’s take. After all she’s lived down east all her life.
[00:15:23] If you go to the local high schools here I would venture to guess just by being a student at a local high school here six out of 10 graduates will stay here to lobster or to work off the land. It’s tradition it’s heritage it’s ingrained that will never change when you are gone to school with boys who are making four figures at 17 years old because they’re lop string and able to pay off a truck at 17. They’re staying here to go lobstermen even when they’re offered full ride scholarships to Maine Maritime Academy people stay here because it’s tradition and it’s ingrained.
[00:16:12] I don’t believe that we’re gonna see a change in that regard.
[00:16:22] Just wanted to stop for a moment to point something out to everyone. First of all I’m sick if you haven’t noticed my voice is a bit different this time around but that’s not what I wanted to point out I wanted to point out that I drove three hours partially in a snowstorm that couldn’t make up its mind about whether or not it wanted to start just to record this interview. I don’t do remote Skype interviews because I think they sound like crap and frankly I think you deserve something better than that. I’m bringing this up because I want to make a point. When I first started the Portland speaks podcast there was some consternation online about the name. I called it Portland speaks and yet I was professing that it would be a podcast for all of Maine.
[00:17:03] So a lot of folks asked Why didn’t you just call it Maine speaks or something else that wasn’t Portland specific.
[00:17:11] The Portland speaks podcast isn’t named as such because it only seeks to serve Portland. It’s named as it is because I broadcast from Portland and I owe the people of Portland a debt of gratitude. Without them I wouldn’t have my podcasting company let alone the Portland speaks podcast the name pays homage to the city I live in but it seeks to serve all of Maine genuinely.
[00:17:36] So if you’ve got a story or know someone who does and you’d like to hear yourself or someone else on this podcast connect with me and help me make that happen. It takes two people to have a conversation and I’m willing to go pretty much anywhere to get a good story. Have Mike will drive so please send any suggestions or ideas to talk at Portland speaks dot net. That’s talk. At Portland speaks Don Knapp. All right. I think that’s enough of that sound to get back to Kyle. She’s got a new project. It’s a podcast and it’s one whose mission she’s highly passionate about.
[00:18:18] It’s called concert cast the podcast. And it’s all about music venues concert cast as cliche as this sounds has been a journey.
[00:18:33] You know it started out for me as a cleaner at the Blue Note i cleaned puke out of the urinals. I collected bottles I mopped the floor and had a blast doing it because I got to see concerts every night. And it really was you know it helped me see live music from the ground up. You know when I talk about this in the very first episode of concert cast sort of the origin story of my my passion for music venues but really you know what runs in parallel with working at a music venue was I was also a production assistant at the local news and an intern. So my passion for production and music was driving together really. And it’s not until I really look back on it right now. But I would I would work all night at the you know so cleaning eventually evolved into more responsibility which was great.
[00:19:39] I was really eager to help any way I could and wanted to know every bit of every inch of the music business you know. And I was so lucky to work under great people like Richard King and Pete McDevitt and great talent buyers forward thinkers. They were you know bringing in huge names into the blue note you know. And it was just it was it was just so awesome to get to see them work and listen to how they worked. But my roles and responsibilities evolved into merchandise sales so I would sell T-shirts after the show so I got to see that whole business of merchandise.
[00:20:19] And you know working with the band’s manager on all of that Kyle was working her way up from the bottom and loving every second of it.
[00:20:28] But every now and then she’d get a chance to do a little more something just a little more exciting than cleaning and selling my very first experience in that manner was I had to pick up some bolt from their hotel and I picked them up in my janky old Subaru that was painted sea foam green and and had a Maine license plate vanity plate instead wave one and people would just wave at me you know wave one. Anyway I had to pick up Son Volt at their hotel and bring them back to the venue and I was so nervous. I was so nervous. Like this is Son Volt. Love this band is my first like big you know opportunity to prove myself that I’m not just a great mapper or poop cleaner. You know that I can do bigger things and so I pick up the band and they’re super cool and they jump in my Subaru and of course I take the wrong exit. Get us a little lost. I think it was just my nerves. You know it just really got the best of me there so I had to like kill time by making stupid jokes and but we eventually got back to the venue and it was just so much more exciting to see that band walk out on stage because I had built you know a really cool little internal story with them in my head right. But those moments were just one of many where I was able to really connect with artists in a humanistic way.
[00:22:08] Just so many fun opportunities to see the muse site the music business in a different way. It made me appreciate it more and it made me really more obsessed with the music business and it made me more aware of how much goes into life music and a lot of that work happens at a venue from Kyle’s perspective without the venue even if it’s just an open field with no stage.
[00:22:36] A concert can’t happen music can’t happen. This gives venues a spirit it imbues them with this magical raw potential that it can loan out to any band brave enough to play within it.
[00:22:51] As Kyle often likes to say every venue has a voice and architecture and sound are in constant conversation. And what’s so cool about a venue is how it provides common ground for conversation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with strangers on my travels and we get to talking about other places. That’s what you do when you’re traveling is you end up talking about different places. You end up talking about seeing a concert and you end up saying something to the effect of Oh well have you ever been to Congress Theater in Tucson or oh have you ever been to state theatre in Portland. And knowing that I’ve stood in the same spot as this stranger at this at different times creates a bridge and I think in this day and age and in constant you know sometimes like just chaos it feels like in and in the world in which we see it through a social media lens. It can feel chaotic but having this bridge between two people is so special and not only that but it’s like a bridge to different generations right. Having a venue be that bridge is so incredibly special and I don’t believe that we’ve given enough attention to how powerful a music venue is and thus was born concert task the podcast. Though it wasn’t initially intended to be an audio production that was something they realized later on concert cast has always been a vision to be a visual travel show in coming to the realization with the help of my longtime mentor Mark Tucker Shan who’s an Emmy award winning graphic designer and also used to work at HBO along with ESPN everywhere.
[00:24:47] He’s an amazing guy with his help. We came to the decision to convert my video pilot at the time into a podcast. Don’t get me wrong. The future vision of this podcast is meant to be visual. But for now it’s really important to establish the ED and the ethos of this show which is how powerful a music venue is to the live music experience. So there is so much that I’d like to say about a music venue because having the opportunity to talk about it out loud is hopefully a chance for listeners to hear and and appreciate live music differently because I think in this age of musical plenty we’re looking for ways to really hold on to an experience. And I think if we can look at music venues and appreciate them in a different light that will help elevate your concert experience. So when I graduated from university Missouri left the Blue Note I embarked on my very first solo road trip and I circled venues on my map. I didn’t have G.P.S. I circled cities on my map that were known for notable venues and made them daily destinations to plan my day around and I haven’t stopped visiting venues is how I prefer to travel visiting a venue is the start of my travel experience right. Not only is it a way to see a concert but there are so many great things that are around a venue great restaurants great hotels you know you can truly plan an itinerary and that’s what she does every time she travels.
[00:26:41] Kyle has an insane list of interviews lined up and already recorded in so many locales. Most recently she interviewed John Fishman of the band Phish and in an upcoming episode she’ll be interviewing the mastermind behind the all roads music festival right here in Maine. She’s actually in the middle of a multipart series covering music venues in Maine the Fishman episode is the first part of a two part series that focuses on Belfast. The episode before that featured Portland State Theatre and talent broker Lauren Wain. That was actually a pretty good one. Did you know that the State Theatre used to be a porn theater.
[00:27:22] That’s a true story apparently after Maine Kyle will be heading out West to talk with some of the best people in that region at the venue end of the music business concert has started eight years ago and it was you know it just this you know I have my old treatment I have my old game plan and not much has changed because and that’s a good thing because this is a timeless timeless way of connection. Music right. It’s just allowing the music venue to be heard more and so concert cast is a road trip that travels to America’s best music venues. And we talk to everyone behind the scenes talent buyers managers you know people that help make live music happen and also fans and bands and it just helps you know and along the way I’m really just I’m still trying to learn how to do this. But along the way trying to feel more philosophical about the relationship between traveling and music because they’re so similar. And so that’s been a lot of fun is just trying to figure out and articulate through a podcast today as we know it’s a lot more writing and a lot more description but touring is financially driving the music business. So venues are more relevant than ever and we’re seeing a lot more venues opening to cater to the growing you know trend of live music.
[00:29:03] And so I think now is a perfect time to really dig in and learn more about every venue its history the stories the sounds that make up a place. I’m obsessed I’m obsessed with traveling and I’m obsessed with live music and I’m obsessed with going to different venues and feeling out each room. You know every room is different. And when you stand in a place knowing that hundreds of people have stood right there before you and will stand right there after you you can’t get much more powerful than that when everything is going perfect at a concert. And if this doesn’t happen all the time it’s few and far between but when you’re at a concert and you’re feeling great you’re warm You’re cozy you’re surrounded by like minded individuals for that right moment. You and the band is just in the pocket. I believe that music can catapult you to the cosmos. Hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Portland speaks podcast if you’re interested in listening to and subscribing to Kyle’s podcast concert cast. Just search Apple podcast for a concert cast and hit the subscribe button
[00:30:20] Don’t use an iPhone or an iPod. Don’t worry. Just google concert task the podcast and you’ll see all kinds of methods to subscribe. Or just visit concert cast the podcast.
[00:30:33] Scott. I’d like to thank you for listening this week. If you enjoy the Portland speaks podcast please consider leaving us a tip by going to Portland speaks dot net forward slash tip your support of this podcast helps us travel further talk to more people produce more frequently
[00:30:53] And stay more caffeinated.
[00:30:56] That last one is pretty. Thanks again for listening.
[00:31:01] Have a great week. Take care.
Portland Speaks may be the name, the unofficial motto is “Have mic, will travel.” Want us to travel to you? Send conversation suggestions or ideas to email@example.com.
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge – https://www.maine.gov/mdot/pnbo/
Concert Cast the Podcast – https://concertcastthepodcast.com
The Lucky Stone Retreat – https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2123194?s=51
Good to Go Studios – http://goodtogostudios.com/index.html
Downeast (Geography) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_East
Sunvolt – http://sonvolt.net/
Passive Aggressive Dads – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8552052/
Music used with permission from Chillhop Records. Songs are from the Chillhop Essentials: Winter 2018 album and can be purchased here: https://chillhop.bandcamp.com/album/chillhop-essentials-winter-2018
The Portland Speaks podcast is a production of the Portland Pod, Maine’s first Podcasting studio, located at 1486 Broadway in South Portland.
This podcast is a proud member of the League of Maine Podcasters, a private but free community of podcasters living and creating in Maine.
To learn more about the Portland Pod or the League of Maine Podcasters, please visit https://portlandpod.com.
Producer & Engineer: Tanner Campbell