On his upcoming album, ‘PlayRoom’, Kepler Gold takes an all-new approach – focusing on his talents as a producer over those as a vocalist. Something of an instrumental homage, ‘PlayRoom’ draws on Gold’s vast range of influences. To that end, we got the man himself to put together a mix of the tracks that inspired the album, and to tell us some more about the project. Press play and get stuck in.
‘PlayRoom’ is due for release later this month, what can we expect?
I think I’ve finally reached a point where I’m able to create something (production-wise) which adequately represents a unique and organic sound. I’ve been trying to make an album which fits completely in it’s own world, and I feel that this is that album. I’ve spent the last 3-4 years experimenting and trying to find a sound where I felt comfortable, both as a producer and a vocalist. Being a rapper has some unfortunate limitations, and comes with certain associations/connotations that I don’t really feel comfortable with, so I really wanted to focus on establishing myself as producer and overall artist. This is why ‘PlayRoom’ is by far the most production-based project I’ve released so far. Expect a unique journey with varied sounds but a concrete emotional sound scape.
How does it differ from ‘I’m New Here’, ‘Walking Among Strangers’ and ‘Axioms’?
On ‘Axioms’, I was still searching for a sound of my own. I wanted to create an album with a similar feel, vocally, to ‘PlayRoom’. In all honesty, I wasn’t confident or experienced enough to really pull it off. I do feel it’s important to showcase my progression as an artist though, and it does kind of capture that weird energy I was trying to create.
‘Walking among strangers’, was where I feel I really started to find my zone vocally. I’ll be completely honest and admit that guys like Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar motivated me to really step up my vocal performance, so this project was really my first conventional hip-hop project, seeing as I wanted to focus on a certain style of rhyming. Also, this was the first project where most of the songs have traditional verse-chorus song structures, which is something I feel I overlooked on some of my earlier releases.
‘I’m New Here’ is where I feel I pretty much perfectly honed in on what type of vocalist I wanted to be when it comes to Rap. I wanted it to be minimalist in production and simple enough to allow the vocals to really penetrate properly. It’s probably my favorite project to-date, as I feel I sometimes use production as a crutch to hide behind mediocre vocal performances, but I didn’t really have that option there and I feel it worked.
What made you decide to focus on producing this time around?
I basically wanted to craft a lane of my own as an artist. I feel like so much of modern music lacks real identity and personality, particularly Rap music (in a lot of cases), so I wanted to essentially create my own sub-genre. Although, I don’t feel as if I’m doing anything overly crazy since my influences are fairly obvious a lot of the time, but also I think they’re slightly more disjointed than that of the average artist.
What is it about the tracks featured in the mix that inspires you? Are there any particular elements of these tracks that directly had a bearing on ‘PlayRoom’?
Almost every song on the project is essentially a cover of a mixture of songs. In the early stages of the project’s conception, I was determined to try and emulate the energy of what I feel are incredible albums. I listened to all of my favorite albums of a variety of genres, and tried to incorporate as many elements from each into a concise and natural project. From the drum programming and chord progressions to the themes and atmospheric elements present, every sound on the album was directly influenced by either a specific song or a mixture of a few. I feel like being an relatively unknown artist gives me the ability to play around more freely with songs, and so I chose to be as free as possible with my creative choices. There are probably over sixty different samples on the album, but a great thing about having no money is that I can’t really be sued for something I don’t have!
If you could have picked one of the artists on the mix to have collaborated with on ‘PlayRoom’, who would it be?
It would probably be Thom Yorke. I feel like picking someone which would probably have the most different creative process to mine would most likely yield the best result. James Blake would be pretty awesome too.
Kepler Gold’s ‘PlayRoom’ is due for release later this month. Keep an eye on him to stay in the loop: @KeplerGold