Kit Lamb finds inspiration in life-changing fire

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Kit Lamb, Arcata guitarist

By Sean Bendon
Flapjack staff

When the guitarist for local drone-death-gaze band Paint Shadows talks about his music, he’s casual. He stands near his kitchen island, rolls a cigarette,  and discusses his middle school years in Santa Cruz. Kit Lamb’s first project just so happened to start with the childhood neighbor.

It’s clear that Lamb had been conscious about creating music and art for a long time, because he had so many stories and projects to talk about, but none are spoken of with any tone of ego or narcissism, but rather an almost “ just stoked it happened” refrain.

He goes through the usual line up of original influence and overall greats, discussing Megadeth and Iron Maiden’s impact on his childhood and eventually ties it into his personal music.

Currently Lamb is one of two guitar players in Paint Shadows, an Arcata based drone-death-gaze band that recently opened for Japanese touring band Kikagaku Moyo. His main focus lies within the group, which Lamb joined earlier this year. When asking him about his personal music, his reply came quickly.

“I kind of start to headbutt a lot of different stuff and then I have to step back,” says Lamb.

He’s been trying to expand his musical horizon for the last few months, diving into more house music and Japanese new wave.

After a conversation about Lamb’s music, bandmate Spencer Snow, the bassist in Paint Shadows, responded with his thoughts on Lamb’s writing.

“Kit is a humanoid, not a human. His art and music reflect two ideas,” Snow says.  

Lamb’s art has been another staple in the local scene, having pieces displayed at the Arcata Block Party in May and in September’s Monthly Art Showcase, just a few weeks ago. Working off influences within the DADA scene, he began by producing collage pieces, using old cutouts of ads or words in magazines and newspapers to create an avant-garde layout of his thoughts.

A friend of Lamb’s, Trent Franks, told me about some style choices and the way Lamb works through his art.

“He paints with spontaneous style. I don’t think he draws anything out beforehand,” Franks adds.  

Unfortunately, Lamb was the victim of a house fire and lost many of his art pieces, including old scraps from his collection of ads and also a great deal of musical equipment, with his interior studio burning with the house.

The fire took place June 3 in Eureka, around 3 a.m., after Kit returned from a night filled with friends and positive plans for the future.

“It was at the cusp of that first wave,” Lamb explained, discussing some artistic moves he had made just prior to the fire.

When the event came to a close, the conclusion was thousands of dollars worth of equipment lost, a handful of guys without a home, and no place to base Lamb or his art. Yet, before he could even begin to regroup, the community and the local scene were there to help.

Some friends of Lamb’s started a Go-Fund-Me account for the victims of the fire and others reached out to support in any way they could, offering places for Lamb and his roommates to stay, musical equipment for them to play, and the support to get past this tragic catastrophe. Soon enough he was back on track with his plans artistically.

“I just had to keep doing what I scheduled and focus on my stuff. I had so much momentum that I felt like I didn’t even lose a beat,” said Lamb.

He added that this momentum came from the support he was getting in the art and music scene around Arcata and Eureka.

Lamb was quick to bounce back from the fire, not wanting to let go of the connection he was feeling from all of his musical and artististic peers. After such a massive shock to his routine, he just wanted to stabilize everything and move past the lost equipment and art.

Now Lamb is fully functioning within the local scene again, performing routinely within the show circuit in Arcata and displaying work at local galleries. He has amassed a new load of equipment to make his music from and is pushing himself to step outside his boundaries, using the fire and its aftermath as an influence on his work.

Lamb says he is grateful for what those in the local scene have done to help support him and expressed much excitement about the current state of affairs in Arcata. He explained how “open-ended” everything is right now with the genre-free grouping of bands that are slowly rising into general awareness.

Continuing to move forward, Lamb’s art has brought together his work and influence within the community and has shown signs that he is leaving a positive impact. People are getting excited about the scene in Arcata and Lamb is an example of someone who has shown resilience throughout the aftermath of the fire and helped to push the local scene.

He managed to salvage not only equipment and art supplies, but also a strong support within that community that helped him soar to new levels with groups like Paint Shadows and personal projects under Lamb’s own name.

Walking out on the porch to finish his cigarette, Lamb reflects on how he felt the whole situation turned out. He simply stares for a moment, then smiles and says, “ It was cool.” 

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