The first thing Wayne Graham wants you to know is they are not a person.
Despite their name, Wayne Graham is in fact a four-piece rock band that hails from southeast Kentucky. The group was founded by brothers Kenny and Hayden Miles.
The Miles’ siblings started making music together in their youth, before deciding over a decade ago to take things to the next level and pursue their passion. Since their formation, the band has released seven entirely self-produced records, with their eighth – titled Ish – to be released November 11th. To support the upcoming release, the band will be touring across Europe for the month of November, marking their seventh European tour.
As a most enticing tease for the impending album, the band recently released their chill, laid-back new single, “Taking You In.”
We had the opportunity to talk with the band about their new single, upcoming album, tour, and more.
So what’s the story behind the band name?
The band is named after our grandfathers, Wayne and Graham.
What are the origins of the band itself, and how has it evolved since its inception?
Kenny and Hayden started the band in 2010. They’ve recorded and produced eight full-length records, as well as many other records for their peers. Lee Owen has been playing lead guitar in the band for five years, but has a long history in music. He played guitar for Vassar Clements and worked at RCA studio B in Nashville. José is the most recent addition, who celebrated his one year anniversary in the band in October. He too has been playing all his life, and has a deep education in jazz as an upright bass player.
So you recently released your new single, “Taking You In.” What’s the inspiration and back story behind it?
I wrote it from the perspective of a deity in the sky watching two different people, one in each verse. The first is the character Lilith, from some controversial accounts of the Garden of Eden. You can read about that if you want to. The deity is viewing Lilith after she’s escaped from the garden and experiencing independence.
The second verse is about our grandmother, Evelyn Kincer. Some of her clearest memories were of when she was a young girl. Her father, before moving their family to Kentucky to work in the mines, made and sold moonshine. I don’t know if she ever helped him clean the jars and seal them up, but I found great love in imagining that playing out. Her brothers also played music in honky tonks and radio stations all around the area, so that’s what I’m referencing when I say, “her brother played piano on the hill.”
What led you to release this particular song as a single?
We like the way it feels and sounds, and wanted to showcase that as one element of the record.
Speaking of the upcoming record, what more can you tell us about the writing and recording process? And how might it compare/contrast to your previous release?
The songs for this album were written in order, with a specific concept in mind. They started with drum beats Hayden had recorded as voice memos. I wrote bass lines or chord progressions over some of those. We arranged and built the song in one way or another, and then recorded it. Sometimes the original drum beats were kept, but most of the time they changed. The lyrics were the last thing to be finished in a lot of cases. This is very different from the way we’ve approached making an album so far. Before, we would just record music until we had enough for a record. I think we both enjoyed the process and found it inspiring.
Where was it recorded and who helped produce it?
We recorded it in the same place we’ve recorded all of our other records, in our parents’ basement. Kenny mixed it and Jake Burns mastered it.
I see you’ll be embarking on a European tour in support of the album in November, and it won’t be your first romp overseas. What might you most look forward to on this upcoming tour?
We’re really looking forward to being back in Europe. Ish will be the second record we’ve released since we played over there last, so we have a lot of new material to play. We are also in a much different place as a live band now. We have had a lot of time over the past two years to play together and grow as a band, and we can’t wait to play for anyone who shows up.