KR: Dream pop seems to be the general description of my music, which isn’t far off. Every record changes, so I’m not really sure it pertains to one genre, but I like that term. Nightmare pop might be a little more accurate.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
KR: I try to recapture nostalgic or dreamlike feelings, real and imaginary. In the past, I tried to separate myself from my songs and create my own worlds/stories, but everything has stemmed from a much more personal place lately.
CH.89: What made you want to start a music project and how did you come up with the band name CEMETERIES?
KR: I’ve loved playing music since I learned piano as a kid. In high school, I reached a point where I knew how to play every instrument that makes up a band, so I started recording demos. Cemeteries came about in my early twenties. I don’t recall the moment I came up with the name, but it seemed fitting to give the project a title that was associated with eeriness and stillness.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new song or a new album?
KR: I’m usually a couple steps ahead with record concepts. Rough, future ideas usually come out in the middle of current ones, especially when I’m burnt trying to finish something. While producing Barrow, I knew what direction I wanted to take the next Cemeteries record because I wanted to completely distance myself from the current approach. The songs themselves just sort of happen, usually in the dead of night when I’m well past tired.
CH.89: What would you want people/ the listener to take from your music?
KR: Whatever works for them. Every song has a loose idea, but I’ve heard interpretations from people that never crossed my mind. I love that a song can reach somebody across the world and shed all meaning, it’s my favorite part of making music. I would never say “no, you got it wrong, it’s about this.”
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
KR: I never really lived like an artist until I moved to Portland two years ago, but now I have a recording space and a job that gives me the free time to immerse myself in my music. I eat a lot of Ramen and barely make my rent, but I’m more content than ever.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
KR: I have to keep a strict schedule to get things done, but when it comes to actually writing or recording, I throw plans out of the window. I like to feel everything out, otherwise songs start to sound constructed and safe. I like to be surprised by the directions my songs take when I make them just as much as a listener would be hearing them for the first time.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist?
KR: To make everything for yourself. There was a lot of “oh, don’t do this” or “this song is pretty weird to put on the record” from people in the past, but I’ve heard enough positive feedback on songs/moments like that to know that if it works for me, it will most likely work for somebody else.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
KR: When it comes to my music, absolutely. If we’re talking physical style and taste, not really. I’ve never really been comfortable being the face to a name.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
KR: The feeling that I should always be working. It’s been tough to take a break from recording or touring in the last four years. It’s easy to feel like you’re going to disappear if you aren’t active musically or socially. I know that’s not the case, but it’s a hard notion to shake.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
KR: Any time somebody reaches out to me about my music and how it’s affected them, it all comes into focus for a moment. Being an artist can feel frustrating or completely nonexistent at times, but when I get the occasional reminder that I’m helping people through bad or good times, there’s nothing better than that.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
KR: Too many to name, but it’s all general influence. I never approach songwriting with somebody else’s art in mind. I know that my music wouldn’t sound the way it does without the lifetime of inspiration that I’ve lived, but it all blends together. A song can stem from a new record on rotation, an old film, a short story. Sometimes all at once.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
KR: I would be way too timid/lazy to make music in a completely analog world, so I’m grateful for modern technology, but I think it’s two-sided. When everybody has a chance to create or say something, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. At the same time, it makes it so important to create something special that doesn’t really fit in with everything else.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
KR: Absolutely. And I’m really grateful for that. I’ve seen more of the literal world than I ever would have if I hadn’t made music. I’ve connected with a lot of great people, moved across the country, my life would’ve been very different if I hadn’t decided to make an album years ago.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
KR: I love traveling. Unfortunately, I only really get to do it if I’m touring or visiting family and those instances don’t leave much time to explore or relax. I finally visited Austin last year and loved it, and a second trip to Montreal confirmed that it’s my current favorite city.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
KR: For the last couple of years, I only read horror novels. Which means I would only read at night, but I’ve expanded my tastes so now I’m reading a lot more. I just finished The First Bad Man by Miranda July and that was incredible. I love Clive Barker, Daphne du Maurier, Richard Matheson. My favorite author will always be Stephen King though, who is underrated no matter how rated he is.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your music?
KR: I have a lot of songs that I’m sifting through right now. I usually write and record alone, but we’re starting to play shows again so it’s been great hearing new ideas with a full band for the first time. Outside of records, I’d love to score a film eventually.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
KR: It’s therapeutic. Making music is necessary for me, it’s an outlet that I’ll probably always need, in some shape or form.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
KR: Whatever the last song on the new John Carpenter record is called. I cleaned to it this morning.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your music?
KR: I just hope that it speaks for itself.
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