Photo: Caitlin Lindsey
Kyle Mayfield doesn’t sleep … not well, at least.
But he doesn’t let that cripple him, musically or otherwise.
In fact, the music he crafts as Larry Chin wouldn’t have the same panache if Mayfield was leading a more lucid existence.
“I’ve been having sleep issues for such a long time. When I finally did, there would be these crazy dreams. It got to the point where I had to use drugs to get to sleep, and that made them all the crazier,” he said. “I decided to start making music that reflected that. It was fun to transfer, and extremely therapeutic for me. It helped my imagination to grow. I was re-creating these euphoric, out-there moments. It’s become the dream world of an insomniac’s mind.”
He uses the disorder not only as creative fuel, but a tool, filling sleepless nights with making music. Since Mayfield started writing and recording in 2005, he’s released 11 recordings — several full-lengths among a handful of EPs, compilations and B-side albums — with a dirty dozenth in the works.
The discography covers the gamut of musical genres, each a snapshot of some surreal moment.
“The music itself has always been experimental,” Mayfield said. “It’s anything I want to play and write. It can go from folk to electronic, a cappella to instrumental. There’s no borderlines to anything. It’s like having a playground of everything you want to play with, all to yourself.”
It’s not that Mayfield doesn’t play well with others. A favorite in the Oklahoma music scene, he’s an active member of several local bands: Feathered Rabbit, Junebug Spade and Mannachine.
Before that, he made friends — and collaborated — with the things that go bump in the night.
“The house I grew up in, I was there for over 20 years, and ghosts were in there,” he said. “I saw them when I was a little kid, and one night, all by myself, I started recording a song with all these doors shutting in the hallway on their own. I’ve been writing songs about ghosts ever since, and I love recording any place that is haunted.”
Mayfield hopes to have lots of cohorts — of this realm and beyond — on his next album, which he tentatively plans to have out around year’s end.
Inspired by the dynamic of Broken Social Scene, he’d like to see the Larry Chin experience become something of collective. Maybe then, he can finally get some rest.
“It’s an open opportunity, this huge collaboration with all your friends. It’s an open playing field to anyone that’s interested,” Mayfield said. “It’s people that can take my ideas and make them better, like tossing it up in the air … whoever catches it, it’s like awesome. Let’s go.”
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