Once upon a time, there was a party hosted by three people sitting in three different spaces at a lounge with their three different groups of friends. I knew and was with two of the three, when my eyes suddenly landed and stayed glued to the third group’s atypical appearance in New York City’s 2010 fashion landscape. There were maybe twenty or so people in eclectic and refreshingly colorful, ethnic patterns and captivating wide-brimmed bushman hats, not a black or flannel shirt in sight. The one in the center, Kelle, who was clearly the host, threw me permanently out of my “solemn monk” phase and brought me right back to my rock ‘n’ roll roots. In a land of somber palettes and futuristic shoulders, his rich layers of paisleys, tie-dye, leopard and pastel fringes, paired with the indescribably perfect no-label boots and a hat tipped just enough to see the sincerity in his eyes, reeked of familiarity with a time when I never bought a thing with a “name” in mind, and I would have thought it absurd to advertise where it was from. Kelle is an accomplished musician first, with long stints “going underground,” living in cabins and abandoned churches, where he was able to “forget the distractions,” find his voice and remind himself, “What is this [world] really?”
He is strong on following his intuitions, and found himself randomly summoned out of reclusion by the drummer of his favorite band, The Throbs – whose style is also a big influence – to join forces musically. Kelle played the guitar and sang for me during this interview. One of his goals is “to shed some light, color and harmony on the intruding noise and darkness.” Based on his musical talent, which shook me to my 1970s bones, let alone his unequivocal, poetic style, the positive and powerful repercussions of Kelle’s cultural influence have just begun.