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INTERVIEW: Gavin Kennedy

Hi Gavin, welcome to VENTS! Can you talk to us more about your song “Rum Ham”?

Thanks so much for having me! “Rum Ham” is the first full-band song off of the album, and with that in mind, it’s meant to be a consumable, fun, and energetic track to hit the ground running without having to ask many questions. I wanted a song that had a wide variety of things to offer in a short amount of time, and I think it does its job well in opening up the album while still standing strong as an individual track.

Did any event inspire you to write this song?

Like the majority of the songs on Sunchaser, “Rum Ham” started as a riff I made for the sake of testing/experimenting with guitar tones and recording techniques in my bedroom. The first half of the song was written almost entirely on the guitar, and the creative momentum I had with the instrument was a great opportunity to experiment with some different ideas. Karnivool’s Sound Awake is continuously a huge inspiration for me, and the music of that album often utilizes one guitar part panned to the left speaker, and another guitar part playing a vastly different but complimentary part panned to the right speaker; the first mockups of the “Rum Ham” opening riff were creating out of experimenting with a similar idea and then developed from there.

Any plans to release a music video for the track?

I’m super happy to say that we’ve recorded and released a “playthrough” video of this song across all of my social media platforms! If you’re unfamiliar with what a playthrough is, worry not, as there are no tricks here and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a live performance layered on top of the studio track.

“Rum Ham” comes off your new album Sunchaser – what’s the story behind the title?

The album title Sunchaser is actually the spawn of a few different influences of mine I conjured up while on an airplane to visit my family in California: one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature is Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and one of that book’s strongest themes is the correlation of westward travel and self discovery; to me, Twain’s work is one of the best embodiments of the theme of self-truth, as it’s a pursuit both inward and outward. So, while I was on my plane headed for the sunset, I was trying to think of what I should call my first creative work when the word “Sunchaser” popped into mind. It seemed to be a great representation of the journey into creative self, and It’s since become a bit of a mantra of mine to stay true to myself and continue to embrace the pursuit.

How was the recording and writing process?

I began writing the very first material to be used for Sunchaser almost five years ago now, and it was a very gradual process of refining and reimagining the material up until it was time to hit the studio. The great thing about this was time was having the ability to bring very fleshed-out demos to Nolly with a very clear idea of direction and vision. Once we did begin the recording in Bath, both Nolly and Mike Malyan, the drummer on Sunchaser, brought a monumental level of professionalism and creative like-mindedness to the project that resulted in a product with more structure, polish, and life than I could ave ever given it on my own.

What was it like to work with Adam “Nolly” Getgood and how did that relationship develop?

Working with Nolly is nothing short of a dream come true.  Both he and his former band Periphery are huge influences to me and have really made names for themselves as pioneers of their genre. I first met Nolly in England during the fall of 2016 while he was working on his session with the band Teller, and we got along so well that I felt comfortable asking if he would like to co-produce Sunchaser; fortunately for me, he was interested. Obviously, it’s one thing being good friends with someone and another being good coworkers, but I think we were both very happy with the chemistry and workflow we developed from the very first day of recording. Ideas both technically and musically seemed to materialize so effortlessly, and there honestly wasn’t even a speed bump of any sort throughout the entire process.

How much did Nolly influence the album?

Nolly and I did a fair amount of pre-production before I travelled to Bath to actually start recording Sunchaser, and this was the sort of thing where I would email him my demos of the songs and he would give me some feedback to think about. Often times it would be to do with structures or transitions, but it all certainly added up to make the album a much more accessible listening experience as a whole. When it came time to actually record the project in England during April of 2017, I began to understand how amazing both Nolly and Mike are at not just sharing great ideas, but sharing great ideas that let the project grow without straying from its original vision. Sometimes these ideas would be as simple as adding an extra beat to punctuate a certain transition, or changing a note to add more color to a chord, but the cumulative effect that had on the record made a world of difference in the end, and their input was nothing short of invaluable to me.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs?

Inspiration is a fickle thing, haha. For me, it could be anything at any given moment, but one thing that seems to do the trick for me more often than not is getting out into nature. It’s hard to deny the natural beauty of the woods, mountains, or beaches, but sometimes something as small as that breath of fresh air and dose of perspective is just the ticket to get the cogs turning again.

Any plans to hit the road?

Not just yet, but if the opportunity is there and the stars align, that would be a total blast!

What else is happening next in Gavin Kennedy´s world?

Who knows? But if you find out, please tell me, haha. We’re always pursuing new way to explore creativity, but as for the time being, I’m beyond excited to share this project that everyone has worked so hard on, and I can’t wait to see what people think of it!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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