New Music 2018: Hosta

One of the city’s secret weapons steps out with her own drone project.


The guitarist Kayla Stevens is a vital member of multiple bands around town—most actively Crossed Wires and Vulva Culture, as well as the punk outfits Science Project and Mark Vodka (in which she plays bass).

"This project is a result of me collecting pedals for the last couple years," she says of Hosta, her new solo effort. "'What else could I do with this stuff?' So I just plugged them all together."

What Stevens has created is a one-person drone band with no guitar or synthesizer, using effects pedals to make it all. "Delay is a big contender—mine is by Way Huge, the Aqua-Puss," she says, going through her board. "My loop pedal is a Boss RC-2, so I can loop some samples and stuff. I have a new Electro-Harmonix pedal that I got specifically for this project—it's a Random Tone Generator. It's not a guitar pedal. It's a self-oscillating pedal, it's like an instrument in and of itself."

Hosta has played just one show so far, at Bleep in the Dark in July. One of the challenges of drone music is knowing when to end a song. "I thought 'When am I gonna know when 15 minutes have gone by?'" she says, laughing. "'Is it gonna zoom by cause I'm super nervous?' When I'm listening to other people I don't know if it's two minutes or 15 minutes."

Stevens released the debut Hosta recording "I.," in July, six minutes and 37 seconds of dark, creepy tones. "I'm really into movies and soundtracks for movies," she says, "and atmospheric sounds. Horror movies. It's where the interest lies in creating the music." —TT

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