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QRD #53 - Guitarist Interview Series V
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Musician Dad Interviews with:
Aaron Snow
Nyles Lannon
Philippe Petit
Ryan Sollee
Jim Baptizer
Jamie Barnes
Daniel Prendiville
Doug Burr
Alex Boniwell
Andrew Ratfink Wilson 
Charles Hoffman
Dave Sims
Dan Beckman
Scott Berrier
James Zahn
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Musician Dad Interview with Nyles Lannon of Sacred Caves
May 2012

Name: Nyles Lannon
Bands: N. Lannon, Sacred Caves
Websites: nlannon.com

QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?

Nyles – It probably wasn’t until I was around 30 or so. I had been a musician all my life, but after working at dot coms for about 7 years, I realized corporate life was not for me. I had a wake up call when I was laid off.

QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?

Nyles – Putting out my first real album was probably the high point. It was about 8 months into unemployment & I had broken up with a long-term girlfriend & then 6 months later had met my eventual wife & it was just a major cathartic moment.

QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?

Nyles – I was pretty scared of the whole thing. But around age 36 & I started to do the math.  I wanted to still be alive when my kid was my age, so I started taking it seriously & accepting the changes.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?

Nyles – It’s hard to think of it that way really. Having a kid forced me to pursue music in a way that made enough money for me to support a family. In my case, that meant spending less time making my own albums & more time doing commercial work. But this was a good thing in general, because it became a viable career & I am now a full time, working musician. & after things got into a routine, I was able to write my own albums again (I have stuff coming out this year). Would I have liked to spend all my time writing my own music? Sure, I guess. But I was also pretty sick of having very little money & the touring was starting to really take a toll. The birth of our son forced me to make a change & I think I was already ready for it.

QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?

Nyles – Touring is always hard on a family, there is no way around that, but I don’t really tour much anymore unless it is an opportunity too good to refuse. As far as our day-to-day life as a family, I think the biggest thing is that I work from home. My work is my play, my son sees this. I think that’s a good thing. I’m around a lot; he comes in the studio & makes noise with me. It’s just straight up fun. But there is a negative to this too – I’m working a lot at home & I’m not always available even though I am around. Now that he is a little older, this has gotten much easier to manage.

QRD – Have your children effected the music you make &/or listen to?

Nyles – There was a period when I wanted to make children’s music. But it passed! Thank God. I think, if anything, my son has reminded me of how simple music can be & how universal & human it is.
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?

Nyles – It’s never easy to do your own thing & it’s even harder as a musician. You have to really seek it out, hustle, & it’s never steady. It can be very stressful in that respect & you have to be disciplined & focused. But I find it more & more rewarding as I get older. I don’t want to be doing anything else. That feeling is worth a ton.

QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on being a touring musician, would you have toured more earlier in life if you‚d known?

Nyles – Yes, definitely. But it’s not just having a family & the financial pressure that makes touring harder as you get older. It’s the fact that your body just can’t handle it any more. Touring in your 20’s is no big deal. It’s a blast. Touring in your late 30s/40s is a different story. Sleeping & eating right? Forget it. I kind of fall apart out there.

QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?

Nyles – I think being a good father pretty much trumps everything to be honest. Music is important no doubt & serves a great purpose, but it’s nothing compared to being a good dad.

QRD – Would you rather see your son eventually become a musician or parent?

Nyles – I really try not to expect anything from him, just that he follow his dreams & have a good heart.

QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in.  How do you end up dividing your time?

Nyles – I work 9-5ish on weekdays. Weekends I spend as much time with family as I possibly can. I really try to preserve the weekend no matter what. This is easier for me I think because of the commercial work. It’s basically like a day job. When I have time on the weekdays I also work on my own stuff. But I really try to keep the weekends for family time. If we end up playing music, then great!

QRD – What does your son think of your music?

Nyles – He is fascinated by it right now.

QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your son?

Nyles – That would be a lot of fun I think & I hope it would always remain in the “fun” realm.

QRD – Any words of advice to young people?

Nyles – If you really want to be a musician for life, than go for it & be open to wherever that road takes you. Don’t think you need money when you are young, cause you don’t. Get out there & take a chance while you can, figure out how to make money later!