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INTERVIEW: Garage Rockers Kinky Rhino

Hi Jeffrey, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been great, thank you. I’m in Buffalo, NY where it is currently 1º, so I’m also cold. I’m great, but I’m cold… and I’m not wearing any pants at the moment which is also great, but also cold. It should be noted that I am indoors, and that being indoors is really great right now because being outdoors is really cold right now, especially sans pants.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Garage Roque”?

Certainly. “Garage Roque” is the first single from Kinky Rhino’s upcoming 5-song, self-titled, eponymous, titular, Freudian debut EP. I wrote it last fall in Florida, where it’s not quite so cold, and I am really proud of it (the song not the weather). The entire EP was a blast to record.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Not any one particular event, it was inspired by how I was feeling at the time which was being informed by different events that were transpiring in my life. I was about to leave sunny FL to spend a lot of time on the road (where sometimes it’s cold), I was quitting a band that I loved because life had torn us apart, I was starting a new band, I was playing guitar in a band for the first time, and I was becoming the frontman/main-songwriter in a band for the first time. I was also playing bass and singing on the EP, making the recording itself is a true solo project. To go from being rather comfortable as a drummer to putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper, then singing those words while people who generally don’t give a shit are staring right back at me, was a dizzying step into the unknown to say the least. This song is about just going for it.

Can you tell us more about the upcoming video?

I recorded the EP on a break from my main job as a touring drummer for Blue Man Group where I am lucky to be surrounded by great musicians, and even luckier that they agreed to join Kinky Rhino for the time being so that we can play club shows while we tour the theater circuit. I made the video for “Garage Roque” by simply shooting little video clips on my phone as we made our way around North and South America over the last few months. I later ran the clips through an 8mm filter on my phone, did a little editing on my computer, and that was that. When I see it, it feels like a scrapbook, so I’m happy that it will live forever on the internet. It makes me feel warm inside, maybe I’ll watch it right now…

The single comes off your new self-titled EP – how was the recording and writing process?

FUN. I’ve never been as happy as I was while recording this EP. I’ve played in bands for years and years and years, always as the drummer, and I’ve loved every second of it, but I have had this fire burning inside of me for a long time. Collaboration is healthy, I wouldn’t have known what to do if it weren’t for everything I’ve learned through the communal process of being in a band and making records that way, but it felt great to have complete control for a change. I hope to eventually solidify a lineup for Kinky Rhino, but for now I am content. I would like to do at least one more recording, hopefully a full length album, on my own.

What was it like to work with Justin Beckler and how did that relationship develop?

It was wonderful. We never overdid anything. Once it felt good, we left it alone, and if our feelings towards something changed we came back to it later. We both knew that this music should feel human, not “pop-perfect,” so we just let it happen. We had known each other for a while, I met him when he produced an EP I drummed on a few years ago, and I loved the way those sessions went.

How much did he get to influence the album?

He got to influence it as much as he wanted to in whatever way he wanted to, but that honestly wasn’t very much. He was more like a teacher or a psychologist or something. He would ask me where I wanted it to go or what I was trying to convey rather than saying “hey, Stupid, play this.” He would try to pull the answers out of me instead of just showing me where he thought something should go. I definitely learned a great deal from him. Part of what makes him such a great producer is that he isn’t concerned with his own motives or doing things the same way he always does them, he wants to serve the music the same way his artists do.

Why from all the producers you look out for him in particular?

I trust him. When the time came to record these songs, he was the first person I thought of. At first I was calling him and asking him to “just kinda gimme some ears on it, you know… let me know what you think… maybe do a little work here or there on the demos.” I was looking for validation. Once he took even the slightest bit of interest in what I was doing I got really inspired and begged him to produce an EP.

Would you call this band a follow up or a departure of what you have done till now?

I don’t know. I suppose it’s a departure in the sense that my last serious project was getting pretty heavy into using synths and electronics, and that I didn’t sing or play guitar or bass. On the other hand, I would call it a follow up because that all led me here. The musicians I’ve worked with over the years have definitely had a stronger and more present influence on me than anyone or anything else has.

Any plans to hit the road?

Hitting it as we speak. As I mentioned earlier, the current lineup and I are traveling with BMG, so we go where that show goes and we try to play the dirtiest clubs we can find as often as we can. It gets tricky to book Kinky Rhino gigs everywhere, but we do our best. We have stuff coming up in Wilmington, Seattle, and Oklahoma City next. Tour dates can be found on our website (www.KinkyRhinoMusic.com)

What else is happening next in Kinky Rhino’s world?

I’m writing more music, I want to record that full length album this summer. The EP has been designed and the physical copies should be showing up any day now. It will be available on 4/29/16 digitally and physically. The second single, “All-American Slam,” should be released very soon, maybe even by the time this is interview is published. The video for “Garage Roque” should follow that and we’ll probably slip another single in before the EP release. I want more tattoos, and I am trying to stay warm. It’s so fucking cold here.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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