Sinners & Saints: How an Oklahoma composer merges rock bands, orchestras and electronic music

I’m all over the world and I can tell you the people of Oklahoma are just amazing.

Kitt Wakeley

Meet Songwriters and Tour Riders, a music podcast from KOSU and Oklahoma State University hosted by Matthew Viriyapah.

Oklahoman born and raised, Kitt Wakeley recorded his album remotely at historic Abbey Road Studios in London, England. In it he combines his love for drums and rock riffs, sweeping orchestral melodies and throbbing electronic beats. The title of the album — Symphony of Sinners and Saints — is a reference to the combination of the ‘Sinners’ in his rock band and the ‘Saints’ in the orchestra.

Listen above to hear more about how he’s navigated his career from his early days in grunge cover bands and recording commercial radio music, earning his “street cred” in the music industry. music and how he recently rediscovered his sister after forty years of separation.

On his southern accent and being from Oklahoma

I’ll be in LA or in some kind of pitch session… Like they’re listening to music, and they’ll put down their papers that they had in their hand and look at me like, ‘What the fuck are you doing in Oklahoma? ‘ And I just smile.

I think once they hear the music, and they have five minutes with you, it’s fine. The downside is that with a southern accent, unfortunately, you have to earn your credibility on the street. But then you get the people who have the mentality that southern people are more sincere, maybe more honest.

Then there are other times like the Royal Philharmonic. They were all excited, and they wanted to say hello to me. It was just the string section. It was forty-seven strings. They said, ‘Are you ready?’

And then, “Hello!”

“A” is a curse, but “B” I’m proud of my Oklahoma heritage.

Working with Joe Satriani

I sent him an e-mail.

One of my friends said to me, ‘Kitt, just start the list of people you would have on your album.’

I could not understand. I have emailed very well known artists of Joe’s caliber on their respective instruments. Joe being so kind opened a lot more doors for other artists who wanted to play on my project.

I was just in awe. His technique is so clean. It’s flawless.

So when I was listening [“Conflicted”], I was like, ‘oh my God.’ He played what he needed to play. He moved away from the orchestra when they needed to say something.

I think my thing was that it was an affirmation. Joe was very complimentary of my music. Amazing guy, forget the fact that he’s Joe Satriani, he’s just an amazing guy.

Checking in remotely to London from Edmond, Oklahoma

Most of your meetings are done on Zoom. But as far as the actual recording goes, Abbey has technology that they start recording at 10am that morning, which is six hours later than us.

I turn on a screen and they have different monitor views. And if I click on a monitor, I’m talking to the orchestra, if I click on another, I’m talking to the conductor’s headphones or someone else in the technical room. And then I can see everything happening live on a Pro Tools section. And it’s so forensic and accurate that I can literally go back to that point in the trail – it’s flawless.

Music featured in this episode:

  1. Kitt Wakeley – Wicked Ways
  2. Mötley Crüe – Wild Side
  3. Nirvana – Lithium
  4. Radiohead – Creep
  5. Kitt Wakeley – Echoes of Amadeus
  6. Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
  7. Bill Conti – I’m Gonna Fly Now (Rocky’s Theme)
  8. Kitt Wakeley – Hello Again
  9. Kitt Wakeley ft. Joe Satriani – Conflict
  10. Kitt Wakeley – Requiem of the Dead
  11. Kitt Wakeley – Sinners and Saints

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Virginia F. Goins