Photo credit: Nate Burrell

INTERVIEW: Summer Magic

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

I am good! I’m in South Haven Michigan right now enjoying some summer fun before I return to the heat of St. Louis to continue prepping for the upcoming release of my album “Sharks and Other Dangers.” I’m super pumped and will be selecting the next single soon!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Hey!”?

Yes. “Hey!” is the lead off track and first single off of “Sharks and Other Dangers.” I feel it’s got a great summer vibe, is upbeat and jangly, but is also about something that is quite meaningful to me as well.

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

“Hey!” is about realizing that you don’t always know what’s best for everyone around you. It’s about friendship and the importance of communication between ourselves and the people that we love the most. The song was written with a specific personal friendship of mine in mind but I think that it’s relatable and easy for many to identify with.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I would love to shoot a video for “Hey!” I think it would be a blast! I’d just have to find the right person to work with first. We’ll see what happens over the next few months.

The single comes off your new album Sharks and Other Dangers – what’s the story behind the title?

Ha! I live in St. Louis, a city that has a reputation for not being the safest place to live. When people ask us why we choose to live here, my wife and I always joke that “you just need keep your head up and your eyes peeled for sharks and other dangers.” I also kind of love the fact that there’s a shark reference on an album made in a place that’s hundreds of miles from the ocean.

How was the recording and writing process?

As far as writing process goes, I just constantly write and demo songs. When it came time to put together “Sharks,” I just picked the songs that seemed to belong together like a little family. This included my songs as well as a few contributions from my friend and collaborator Benjamin Marsh. Some of the songs were a few years old, while others were written very recently. They were recorded over the span of a couple of years. As far as the recording process, I just get into the studio whenever I feel like it and get to work. The songs are always demoed thoroughly in my home studio beforehand, so by the time I get into the studio, I’m ready to just go after great sounds and am able to experiment without getting crazy sidetracked.

What was it like to work with David Beeman and how did that relationship develop?

Working with David Beeman is fantastic! He owns and runs Native Sound Recording out of the Cherokee neighborhood in South St. Louis. I was acquainted with David’s music (Old Lights) and called him up one day out of the blue to see if I could come check out the studio. We instantly became close friends. The majority of this record was recorded and performed by just him and myself. Working with David is great because he is also a songwriter and approaches the recording process as art making.

How much did he get to influence the album?

David has great taste and I truly trust his judgement. He help steer me through any indecisiveness, encouraged me to push harder on certain things, while also letting me know when to pull things back as well. Though most of the songs were demoed pretty thoroughly, with parts and arrangements mapped out, David contributed significantly to the overall sound and vibe of the record. Overall, we just have fun and enjoy working together.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?

Collaborating with others isn’t too drastically different then when I write on my own because the focus is always on making a great song. Benjamin and I wrote a song together for this record (“Running Game”) and the process was really fun and effortless. He played me an idea that I recorded into my phone and I then wound up writing a whole other section of the song in my car driving home from his place. We later worked out lyrics and it all came together.

What role does St. Louis play in your music?

St. Louis is my home and the place where most of my friends and family live. It has a vibrant community of artists and musicians and I love living here. Though a major U.S. city, it’s possible to form relationships with many people living and working in the music community. The overall vibe is one of respect and support and this leads to lots of really great art making.

What other dangers did you get to explore on this record?

“Sharks and Other Dangers” deals largely with specific events and relationships from my personal life. There’s some heavy stuff in there emotionally speaking, but I feel like it’s relatable. Ultimately, I’d like for everyone to be able to extract from the music something that’s meaningful and relatable to their own lives. Overall, I feel there’s a vibe of looking inward, but never backwards. It also helps that there are sunny, jangly vibes splashed all over the record.

Any plans to hit the road?

I’d really love to get to play these tunes live! After completing the record, I put together a killer, six-piece band and shows have been very well received. We’ll have to see how things progress.

What else is happening next in Summer Magic’s world?

After the release of “Sharks and Other Dangers” I’m ready to get back into the studio and begin recording the next album. It’s pretty much written, demoed, and ready to go.

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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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