There are some people who have too much on their plate and never finish. Then there are people like Kendra Muecke of Kendra and the Bunnies who go back for seconds and even thirds. On top of adding to the Folk/Americana scene in Los Angeles with her music and stacked calendar of local dates, she’s also a published author who is inspired by her various works to create anew with each passing day. We talked about the music, the writing, and more in this back and forth between two Kendras living in LA.
When it comes to the Folk and Americana scene in Los Angeles, how do you feel it is compared to other genres?
Kendra and the Bunnies: The Folk and Americana scene in Los Angeles is rather vibrant. We have a really strong group of singer-songwriters out here who carry along the storytelling tradition of folklore and rock ‘n roll. You can see our genre filling up the lineup on quite a lot of show-bills on the west coast, but I do have to say, it’s a specific niche.
People sometimes seem perplexed when I tell them, “I play Folk-Rock Americana with a New School Blues influence.” It’s cool to catch people offbeat in that way…as if they expect me to say I play “Pop Rock” or “Electronic Pop”…”Pop Something”…And yet, some of my influences are pop, and so are many of my glossy-feel-good hits.
On top of being a musician, you’re also an author with a few books to your name, including 2019’s “Project Non-Arch: Operation Clown School” in which you talked of dreams. Did that in any way inspire “Silent Sleeper”?
Kendra and the Bunnies: In many facets, yes. Both “Silent Sleeper” and “Project Non-Arch: Operation Clown School” are referring to the same period in my life; this being the summer of 2015 to the fall of 2016. It was a time in my existence where I felt so alive, and yet, very uninhibited. I felt aware, yet in the dark. It was a major time of spiritual transformation that came in the form of intense bursts of clarity then confusion. During this, I was writing a tremendous amount of poetry, most of which felt channeled. It was like I was writing these poems, then I would find myself living those circumstances out the following week or month down the line.
Such a gratifying experience, once I figured out how to breathe both “on and off the page.” “Project Non-Arch” is a long-form prose poem describing my perspective on cultural conditioning in America from where I stood in those moments. It is the same air as the great manifestos by people like Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, and Henry David Thoreau. I explain the situations I encountered, my viewpoint on such, and my actions in response. It is my second book. “Silent Sleeper” speaks on the same encounters, but from a more authoritative and motherly voice. I wrote the lyrics and general movement of “Silent Sleeper” in 2017, once I had some time to unpack my thoughts.
With music reminiscent of a music box in “Silent Sleeper,” what famous rabbit do you feel would pair nicely inside an actual music box spinning this track?
Kendra and the Bunnies: Since this song touches on the dream-like state between waking and sleeping, I would say famously, The White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland”. The White Rabbit entices us to chase our curiosities with the intention of discovery and consideration of answers to unthinkable questions. In Lewis Carroll’s text, The Queen says, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” I love this because it reminds us to think outside the confines of reality. You will be surprised to see what etches and sketches beneath the surface.
Along with The White Rabbit spinning in this song on vinyl record turntables, there would be a ballet dancer reminiscent of The Twilight Zone’s “Five Chapters in Search of an Exit.” This is my idea for the upcoming music video – stay tuned.
Will we hear this single as part of an EP or LP soon?
Kendra and the Bunnies: Definitely. This is the first track from my upcoming LP, ‘of Thank You.’ ‘of Thank You’ is a full-length 16 track album with Western-Rock feels. It depicts the ride of peace-makers across the early west on horseback. It amplifies the feeling of talking about important subjects soothingly and calmly. After all, we have a head-on our shoulders! This begs the question, do we incite conflict seeking resolution or for the sheer entertainment of drama and power plays.
One of your other publications, “The Politics of”, gives part of its proceeds to The Rex Foundation. How did you come about that particular foundation?
Kendra and the Bunnies: I decided to start donating proceeds from the sale of my book, “The Politics of” to The Rex Foundation for a few reasons. One, I caught myself saying aloud, “When I hit a certain benchmark of sales, then I will donate to charity.” But what really is the difference between waiting to do so and making an impact now? The difference would be in the thinking. It helped me recalibrate my thought processes to understand that I can implement change by working with what I have, where I am. When the intention is there, the care and compassion follow.
The Rex Foundation was chosen, because it is the foundation started by The Grateful Dead and friends with a mission-based on expressing individuality in the arts, supporting children’s education, promoting a healthy environment, and protecting indigenous peoples’ rights.
Additionally, I donate a portion of the proceeds from my book “Project Non-Arch” to Camp Winnarainbow. It is a circus performing arts summer camp for kids.
Can you let people know what you have going on in the coming months?
Kendra and the Bunnies: The next coming months are filled with a lot of performing, writing, recording, and acting. I am about to travel to Denver, Colorado, and Harrisburg, PA for the second part of my “Silent Sleeper” Single Release Tour. When I get back in March, I will be performing up and down the California coast, all the way up to San Francisco and down to San Diego.
As mentioned, my next LP “of Thank You” is currently in the recording and release process. I have already written the full-length LP to follow that one too. It is titled “of Consideration.”
Additionally, I am compiling poetry and lyrics for my third book and am currently writing a novel-memoir. Thanks so much for inviting me to interview today. It has been a treasure sharing about my artistic processes.