New York-based vocalist/songwriter/producer Billy The Kid (Billy Aukstik) is dropping his dreamy new 7-inch, Pullin’ On My Heartstrings, available now on vinyl and digital download.
“I wrote and recorded the Heartstrings 7-inch after studying the early demos of Sly Stone and countless arrangements by Allen Toussaint and other soul legends,” says Aukstik of the track. “Using the Maestro drum machine and an 8-track tape machine as my foundation enabled me to create simple yet honest arrangements and gives the record a very intimate feeling. The backing band, The Soulful Saints, is an all-star squad hailing from the crews of Charles Bradley, The Shacks, Mark Ronson, and many others.”
Aukstik is the founder of indie label Dala Records and is also a member of the Daptone Records family, currently playing trumpet with Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires.
“Both ‘Pullin’ on My Heartstrings’ and ‘Love at Hello’ are inspired by the game of love and use many of my own experiences navigating that game as references,” Aukstik tells us. “I came up with the chorus to ‘Heartstrings’ first and then continued to paint a picture around those lyrics. Even though that song begins on the darker side, I wanted to write about the journey of love and why people come back around even after the hard times. I wrote ‘Love at Hello’ from a much more idyllic perspective, speaking to that moment when you lay eyes on someone for the first time and get swept off your feet. It was largely inspired by one of my friends who met someone at a show and then became totally enamored from that point on.”
The third and final track, a smooth instrumental piece, showcases both Aukstik’s influences and production skills.
‘Hit and Run’ was not inspired by love, but by the early instrumental recordings of Allen Toussaint, specifically the song ‘Tampin’’ which features The Meters under the pseudonym of The Rhine Oaks. I went for that gritty New Orleans sound of the ’60s by writing a simple jazz-themed melody and filling out the arrangement with piano, organ, drum machine, and a big horn section. I even recorded a call to prayer from my local mosque and included it in the song’s intro, attempting to recreate those ‘sound on sound’ techniques that Toussaint and other producers of that era were known to utilize.
Listen to the exclusive premiere of Pullin’ On My Heartstrings right here.