Lead guitar and vocalist Kirk Joiner, of rock band Lilakk, is interviewed about his musical influences, his grind in the Savannah music scene, family and work challenges, and much more.
What are some of your earliest musical memories?
Some of my earliest musical memories were my teenage sisters/cousins tuning into MTV and being exposed to all the great music of the time. Nirvana, AIC, Pearl Jam, Madonna and Michael Jackson! At the same time my parents listened to anything from Elvis/Little Richard to Brookes N Dunn/Fleetwood Mac. I remember my grandparents bought me a toy guitar when I was 4 and I’d pretend to perform alongside Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus at all the family events. At a young age I knew that music was going to be a big part of my life even though it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I picked a real guitar, started writing songs, and singing.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I take influence from a lot of different music or artists. I take from indie pop bands like MGMT/Foster the People to hard rock bands like Korn/Staind. Lilakk is heavily influenced by the grungy sound of the 90’s, the attitude of punk rock, and the catchiness of pop music. I’d say my writing style for Lilakk is mostly influenced bands like Ramones, Silverchair, Nirvana. Simple and catchy with both sincere and sarcastic lyrics. I don’t like to write lyrics in a timeline structure in songs, I like to put seemingly random lyrics line for line but if you look at it as a whole it paints a picture with each aspect mentioned separately.
It took a lot of hard work and grinding to break into the scene
How did you get your start in the Savannah music scene?
When I was in my late teens I used go play at open mics and small coffee shops in Savannah any chance I got. My hometown is A small farming community and there is little to no opportunity for a rock artist to perform so I gravitated to the nearest big city where there were other bands similar to what I was into. We consider Savannah our bands hometown. When Lilakk first started we couldn’t get a show booked on our own but there were bands that came and asked us to open for them. After a while some the venues started asking us to play or headline and booking became easier. It took a lot of hard work and grinding to break into the scene. The Wormhole in particular has been so supportive of Lilakk and was the first venue to give us a platform to build experience and a fan base. We love everyone there and in my opinion is the coolest spot for live music in Savannah.
Talk about Kirk & Calli’s food truck and how it came to be …
So My day job used to be a union carpenter out of the Savannah Local and I absolutely hated my job! I remember I was working in the hot sun at a job site and a person showed up in a van selling food out the back. They made more in 30mins than I’d make working all day busting my butt and I was like this person has it all figured it out. So I started searching for a hotdog cart, eventually found a used one and bought it. I started setting up on the weekends in my hometown. As soon as I figured I could really make a living selling food I quit my job and started selling wieners!!! It grew from the small cart to getting a big good trailer where we sell BBQ and even do fine dining catering gigs!
Talk a bit about the challenges and advantages being in a band with your wife …
Well being in a band with your significant other can be both a blessing and a curse, I’m sure Calli agrees with that! It’s cool because we get to do something that we love together. There’s definitely an added chemistry and connection with in the band. Calli and I butt heads a good bit about the direction of certain things but it all works towards the greater good of the band.
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Talk a bit about what the band is striving for …
We are striving to be the biggest rock band in the world or at least in the Low country! Haha, I think we are just striving get to the next level of going on bigger tours and making enough money at it that we can make music our full time job.
Who are some Savannah artists you admire and would love to collaborate with?
We love Ember City, Mr. Wait, and Modern Hero. They are all from the Savannah area and would love to collaborate on a project for sure!
I feel like it’s important for bands to help each other out and help grow the scene
What are some of your favorite local venues to perform in?
I would say that The Wormhole is definitely our favorite venue in Savannah! They gave us a chance when we were starting out before any other venue would book us. The atmosphere is great, the people are great, and the sound system/stage is top notch. El Rocko is about favorite of ours to play at.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Savannah music scene?
I think Savannah has always had great talented bands in general but it wasn’t exactly known for its rock music.. I feel like Lilakk and a few other rock local bands(Ember City, Mr Wait) have kinda started filling that void. We all play shows together in Savannah and I also try to have other regional rock bands (Augusta, Charleston, Macon) come play with us at our Savannah gigs. I feel like it’s important for bands to help each other out and help grow the scene.
Any upcoming projects?
Our goal for 2021 is to get back to touring and just growing our fan base. We love our fans and people who support what we are doing. We also will be releasing some new music and music videos in 2021, maybe even some surprise collaborations with some other local bands!