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Les Easterby Returns With Recordings From The World Palestine And The Wichita Flag

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Wichita musician Les Easterby releases two new EPs on Friday, Nov. 24. The first is from his longtime project, The World Palestine (Dik Dik Sounds); the second is the debut from his latest guise, The Wichita Flag. Easterby, who has also recorded with The Wonder Revolution, The Royal Palestine and And Academy says that Dik Dik Sounds was the result of a prolonged process during which he wrestled with technological limitations while The Wichita Flag’s eponymous effort was one of the shortest endeavors he’s undertaken.

Both recordings are available worldwide today via major digital outlets and can be purchased in limited physical supply.

Jedd Beaudoin: We’re talking about two releases that you’re putting out on Black Friday, one of which is one you’ve had for a while, The World Palestine. The other one is The Wichita Flag. With The World Palestine, do I understand this correctly, that this had a little bit of a labored birth?

Les Easterby: I’m recording all my stuff on a 2007 Dell laptop and the program I’m using is a 10-year-old program. So, some of the stuff that I’m trying to do, I don’t have the right equipment for. So, I had to limit myself. I had to work within those limits. I had to do a little research online. I had to give up for a couple of months at a time. I started working on it a year ago and if I wanted to take a break, then I would just take a break. At one point, I took three months in between. Maybe even more. Then I set a date for myself, that [it would be done].

When you’re working with gear that’s not vintage gear in the way that people think of as preferred vintage gear but it has a certain … it’s antiquated. But is that also sometimes a bit of an inspiration because some technological possibilities from the past don’t get carried over into newer models?

Yeah, and I’ve really been enjoying the aspect of working within limitations and setting deadlines and working with what I have. So, I think part of that adds a little bit of a charm to it. Anybody could spend countless amounts of money on making their product sound perfect. There are several albums that I love that sound even worse than what I’m doing. I don’t think recording quality matters. I’m just happy with how it turned out with what I have.

Let’s talk about The Wichita Flag. That’s maybe a bit of a provocative name, maybe.

There might be a misconception that this is anti-Wichita or an anti-flag thing. It isn’t. It’s pro-Wichita but above anything else, it’s pro-art. The way I came up with the name is that I started to become overwhelmed with how much I would see the Wichita flag every day. Everywhere. I’m all for city pride. I support the city as much as I can. But it started to seem like the Wichita flag was being used more as branding or for people to make money or to claim some sort of identity. That’s all fine too.

I decided to take that concept and promote what I’m doing. I’m not trying to make money off of it. I’m actually going to be giving it away for free. It’s for me to say, basically, you can do anything you want. You can take this idea and use it do anything that you want with it. So, it’s an art piece for me.

I could have called it anything. I’m releasing it on Black Friday. I can do holiday-themed releases. It could be Thanksgiving. It could be Christmas. The next album could be a funk rock album. This one is a Christian New Wave album. I hope it’s inspirational for people to basically try different things. If you have an idea, go for it and complete it, the best you can.

You’re going to put this out in limited physical supply but I’m looking at the list of places where people can find the record [digitally] and it’s astounding. Ten years you would have gone to a record store. Or iTunes. That’s got to be cool in a way because there’s a possibility to reach …

It’s great. The music industry has changed. It’s no longer people trying to get signed to labels. There’s so much access to music that, unless you’re marketed the right way, or unless you’re touring all the time, there’s really no chance of getting a record deal. Since 10 years ago there are more resources out there to get your music heard. I’m still doing some physical stuff. I will have a limited supply of the Wichita Flag CDs.

The Wichita Flag album I recorded in two weeks. So it’s a contrast from The World Palestine, which I started a year ago. I wasn’t recording the entire time. But [for Wichita Flag] I set the release date before I even started recording. Again, working within limitations. It became [a case of], ‘Well, now I have to do this.’ I started telling people about it more and more. The more I tell people about it the more I have to challenge myself to finish it.

[What] most of these Wichita Flag songs came from was that six months ago I was asked to play a show, I only had a couple of weeks to figure something out. I wrote the songs and I’ve been using that same idea to challenge myself to do something and not just take forever to release some grand, awesome thing. Why don’t I release stuff as much as I can and keep on moving forward?


Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.