Hi Kevin, welcome back to VENTS! How have you been?
-Thanks for having me back. My typical answer for this type of question lately is “one day at a time.”
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Don’t Rush”?
-I wrote Don’t Rush with Fred Ball in London. It was probably meant for someone else at some point but I kept connecting with it. And when I worked on it again for the first time in a while when we were recording the album, it really stood on it’s own.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
-I usually take my experiences and try to touch on specific emotions or reactions to things in the songs. This one was no different when I was writing it all the way back in 2015, although I probably shouldn’t say what experiences I pull from LOL.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
-We’ve been working on videos for some songs. I have one for another song on the album coming soon that I’m excited about because I’m not actually in it! It’s great.
The single comes off your new album HOAX – why taking so long on releasing your official first LP?
-I wish I had a cooler story to tell about this, some elegant strategy or so forth. But with my touring schedule going into 2018, I was playing my EPs pretty heavily on the road. I wasn’t expecting that. And so I wanted also to make an album of all new songs. I also went through the ringer for a while. Long story short: the music industry is an incredible learning experience.
How much did the previous EPs help you finding and shaping your sound?
-I think the new album is rooted in my style and my sonic tastes if you will. We definitely explored new things and old things, and I think the final balance of everything in the production is spot on for this album, and gives me plenty of avenues to explore on the next projects.
What’s the story behind the title?
-I’ve had the title in my head for years. It’s all about the songs. For those listening, the songs read like exclusively one thing, whether it’s a breakup song or dealing with love or lack thereof. Internally the songs have additional personal perspective. I’ve been saying it’s as if I’m looking into the mirror and asking myself “how did we get here?” And usually when I ask that question the answer is “it’s my fault.” So when someone says “who hurt you,” after listening to the album and my answer is “me” instead of someone else, therein lies the trick of it all. It also stands for “hell of a heartbreak.”
How was the recording and writing process?
-I made the record in a few places with Brad Cook and an all star team of players. Brad challenged me in a good way in the studio, and we managed to make a very organic record and breathe new air into these songs that have been with me for so long. I’m very hands on, so it was nice to collaborate with people who are as passionate about the music as you.
After the great reception from your previous work – did that put any pressure on you as you work on this new material?
-I don’t think too much about the pressure for new music. I get nervous thinking about if anybody wants to listen regardless. So that wave of crippling anxiety hovers over me every time something is about to come out. But my fans and listeners have been very supportive, and it’s been amazing to see the reaction to the new music so far.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than on your own?
-If I’m writing with other writers in a room, we’re usually writing for someone else. So it’s difficult to channel that sometimes. I do have a short list of writers I like working with though. If I’m working with the artist themselves, I like following their lead because I want them to connect with what will likely be their song. It’s always nice to work with the source.
Your past work was very reminiscent of The Weeknd and what not, but this time the songs released so far seems to go for a much piano driven and much pop rather than Soul and R&B – is that just one or two songs on the record or is that the tone of the whole album?
-I think my soul and r&b roots haven’t gone anywhere, but the instrumentation has changed in that I’m playing a little more guitar and there are strings now which is fun. The songwriting is the same though, and I think if anything I’d rather not be defined as a specific style but rather someone who navigates through different sets of influences surrounding their core baseline if you will.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
-I go through things just like everyone else. My goal is to let my songs help people get through their things.
Any plans to hit the road?
-Yes! I’ll be on The Hoax Tour this spring in North America and Canada. It starts on April 30and goes through May.
What else is happening next in Kevin Garrett’s world?
-I’m trying to write more and always trying to create. But to be fair this album is such a long time coming I’m going to try my best to take it in for at least a couple days.