Starting in June of 2012, Rivergazer released his first album titled Over My Ego (2012), followed by albums Voice Memos (2013), and Random Nostalgia (2014). Self-described as ‘electric bedroom pop’, Rivergazer later released his most recent album Only 4 U in 2015, featuring tracks such as “Gotta Go” and “Never Enough”. His newest sound includes an electric do-it-yourself quality with soulful and passionate vocals.
Emily Perlman from OpenEars was able to chat for a few minutes with Kevin after his September 7th show at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia to talk about his musical inspirations, his sound, and the future of Rivergazer.
EP: What made you decide to pursue more of a solo career outside of Porches?
KF: So I’ve been writing for Rivergazer for about four or five years and just kind of quietly doing my own thing.
EP: Mhm, such as your previous albums Voice Memos and Random Nostalgia
KF: Yeah all of that stuff. So then I put out Random Nostalgia, I think, in about 2014? Porches was still happening simultaneously, then I kind of got really tired of playing in rock band….like as the rock guy, like I didn’t want to be the lead singer of a rock band.
KF: I just wanted to play like electronic music. (I) fell in love with writing and a couple of really special artists I saw and so I was like ‘Oh, Yeah! I wanna do that!’ It changed really drastically for me. So I pulled the breaks back and just wrote ONLY 4 U, but the EP is basically a bunch of little other stuff that I haven’t released yet. It’s just kind of finding myself and realizing what kind of music I wanted to make and that’s kind of all it’s been. I love to play in Porches and I love the guitar and I love doing those things but while that’s happening it’s really nice to be able to go home and just work on stuff. It’s actually just laptop, music and stuff.
EP: Yeah and sort of do your own thing right?
KF: Yeah I love it, it’s really fun!
EP: So what prompted the change between Random Nostalgia and Only 4 U?
KF: Probably this keyboard called the DX7, if you know what that is?
EP: Yeah I know exactly what that is!
KF: Awesome, yeah Aaron and I were talking about that for a while. Then I bought one for really cheap for about $250 or something and I came home and started playing on that. I’m not a keyboard player at all, I’ve been playing the guitar for about 15 years and I’ve been playing the piano for like….one or more like two-ish. I taught myself in the last two years how to play the piano and that kind of prompted like a whole new type of songwriting, so that’s basically what it was. It was surrounding that keyboard and wanting to play the piano really badly; also it was not writing songs on the guitar anymore. Just that alone was enough to birth a totally different sound and that’s kind of where all the new stuff came from.
EP: So who or what would you say inspires your sound?
KF: Well I would say DX7 synthesizer specifically is the instrument that inspires the sound and then the profit keyboard that I’m playing. It’s the big James Blake thing. He’s definitely made that his thing and I like a lot of his music. Also I’ve just fallen in love with like…hip hop, so hard in the last 4 years. I didn’t grow up listening to it, I grew up like early middle school and then stopped and played rock and roll for a very long time. Then I came back to hip hop. I’m loving Kanye’s album this year and Frank Ocean’s album. I’m also just listening to the New Young Thug album and then PARTYNEXTDOOR; so you know all that stuff is blowing my mind and continues to blow my mind. So that is what’s really been the most inspiring stuff to me, just people being able to go out there.
EP: So you enjoy seeing artists being able to do their own thing?
KF: Yeah exactly! Like doing their own thing! Happy to see that these days and that’s what I want to do.
EP: Do you think being in Porches has affected your creative process now?
KF: The only thing I would say is that it’s really hard to write while we’re touring, you know? Because you can’t really write an album in the car; you’re trying, you know it’s good to keep making music. That would really be the only thing because we’re doing a lot of stuff on the road this year. It gets harder to continue to write. But this summer we were home for a while so I was writing a bunch. I’m making the new album now and I feel like it’s about halfway done so hopefully that’ll come out in 2017. But that’s really all…when I’m home I have time to write. But I love being on the road too you know? It’s so fun to meet new people like you and go out and talk to them.
EP: I’m sure it’s an amazing experience overall.
KF: Yeah, definitely.
EP: Well that’s pretty much all I have for you, you did an amazing job performing tonight, thanks for taking the time to talk to me! I really look forward to hearing the new stuff in 2017!
Catch Rivergazer on tour with Japanese Breakfast and Porches on the following dates:
09-10 Houston, TX – Walter’s
09-11 Austin, TX – Barracuda
09-13 Phoenix, AZ – Rebel
09-15 San Diego, CA – Irenic
09-16 Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
09-17 Berkeley, CA – UC Berkeley
09-18 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
09-20 Portland, OR – Analog Theater
09-21 Olympia, WA – Obsidian
09-22 Seattle, WA – Crocodile
09-24 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
09-26 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
09-27 Omaha, NE – Milk Run
09-28 Minneapolis, MN – 7th St Entry
09-29 Madison, WI – High Noon
10-01 Detroit, MI – El Club
10-02 Toronto, Ontario – Horseshoe Tavern
10-03 Montreal, Quebec – Bar Le Ritz
10-04 Burlington, VT – ArtsRiot
10-05 Boston, MA – The Sinclair
PORCHES UK tour:
10-18 Brighton, England – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
10-19 Leeds, England – Brudenell Social Club
10-20 Dublin, Ireland – Whelans
10-21 Glasgow, Scotland – The Hug & Pint
10-24 London, England – The Dome
10-25 Lille, France – La Péniche
10-26 Reims, France – La Cartonnerie
10-28 Paris, France – Pitchfork Festival
10-29 Amsterdam, Netherlands – London Calling @ Paradiso
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