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Local Listens: Kitty Hawk

Welcome to Local Listens, where we profile some of our favorite Washington musicians. This week, we shine the spotlight on Kitty Hawk.

What was once a four-piece band in 2006 dwindled down to a duo and now survives as a solo project: DC native Chris Walker is the only man left behind the folk-rock outfit Kitty Hawk.

He explains that the reason for the diminishing lineup is that “all of us are constantly changing shape.” As long as Walker sticks it out, we’re okay with that.

Kitty Hawk creates calming tunes that can be borderline depressing but pretty nonetheless. Now that Walker is manning the project alone, the end result is slightly different, but he says the only noticeable change is the accompaniment of more bossa nova and samba beats on the keyboard.

Kitty Hawk offers several tracks on MySpace (be sure to listen to “Monsoon Season” and “Move Me”) and a few downloadable tracks on its Web site. Walker says he’s always creating new music, but when asked when fans can expect a new album, he answers, “Probably never.”

For now, if you want to hear new Kitty Hawk tunes, that means tracking Walker down at a show. Hearing the real thing is better than a recording anyway, right?

Luckily, Kitty Hawk is part of the Federal Reserve collective—a group of like-minded emerging local artists—along with bands and artists such as These United States, Laura Burhenn, and Vandaveer. The first Monday of every month, some of the Reserve’s bands and friends perform at Iota for $5.

Though Walker prefers more intimate, stageless venues, you can catch him at Velvet Lounge on December 9 (with PWRFL Power; 9:30; $8) and Iota on December 12 (Federal Reserve Holiday Show; 9 PM; $12).

We got the scoop on Walker’s favorite part of the local scene, his plans for new years, his  favorite venue, and more.
Name: Chris Walker.

Age: 28.

Hometown: DC.

First song that made you want to play music:
“ ‘Love Me Tender.’ ”

First instrument:

Local spot to seek inspiration or write music:
“My bedroom on a Saturday afternoon.”

Best local venue:
“La Casa.”

Best bar to hear music:
“Mi casa.”

Favorite local band other than your own:

Best thing about DC’s music scene:
“It’s always about having fun.”

Worst thing about DC’s music scene:
“It’s always about having fun.”

Craziest tour memory:
“We drove to Kentucky from DC in one day to play a show that same night. It was the furthest we ever got.”

Finish this sentence: “When not making music, you can find me . . .
“. . . in the bath.”

Rolling Stones or the Beatles?

Digital download or hard copy?
“Hard copy.”

Rolling Stone or Spin?

Club show or festival?
“Places without stages.”

How did the band come to be?
“ ‘My girlfriend was the needle that pulled the thread that stitched us all together’ or ‘When I needed them, they appeared.’ ”

Kitty Hawk kind of reminds me of Dolorean or Peter and the Wolf. Whom do most people compare you to and why?
“This is a fun game that’s different from person to person.”

What are your plans for the new year?

Read last week's Local Listens with Justin Jones.

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