Kevin Krauter

Kevin Krauter / Photographie © Katherine Thomas

Stereographics — You play with the band Hoops. What prompted you to make a record of your own songs?
Kevin Krauter — I started writing songs when hoops started basically. Before then I would try and write songs but end up hating them the next day. I wrote a couple songs with hoops back in high school but we took a break when everyone went off to university. Around that time I was spending a lot of time alone in my dorm room and started teaching myself how to use GarageBand. I was in university choir at the time so I started writing little tunes and adding harmony parts on top which eventually turned into full songs. I put those demos up on soundcloud and Facebook and started getting some positive feedback from my friends and family so started thinking “hey I’m not that bad at this!”, haha!

Changes and Magnolia both started out as demos and were recorded over time. Did you have a project in mind or just the idea to record these songs for your own personal project? How did you meet the Winspear label and how did you meet Joe Trinite who produces Changes?
Changes and Magnolia were both recorded at my school with Joe Trinite. We met in choir and he was studying music production. At the end of my second year there he asked if I could help him record some of my songs for a final project, and that was how Magnolia came about. Almost all the songs on that EP were demos I had been working on the year before and I kind of just threw it all together. Around that time, Ben was starting Winspear and when I told him I was recording some solo material he asked if I wanted to put out a tape on his new label. So he started putting out my music and managing me from that point forward. The next year, Joe had to do the same final project so we both sent the whole year in between kind of preparing for how we wanted to record everything, and I spent that time writing songs specifically for this EP. So Changes feels more complete to me because I sort of had a more concrete vision going into it, whereas Magnolia felt more like a happy accident.

Photography by Demi Fenicle / Artwork by Nathaniel Russel


Changes
seems to mark an evolution from Magnolia, where you differentiate and deepen a very refined folk writing. It reminds me of early recordings from English artists like The Pale Fountains and Ben Watt. Do you know them? What are your musical references, the artists you love, your sources of inspiration?
I’ve never listened to The Pale Fountains or Ben Watt, but I’ve heard the comparison before. There’s a record store in Indianapolis where I live called Luna Music, and the owner, Todd, is a friend/fan of mine and a HUGE fan of Ben Watt.
I’ve alway s loved very melodic and soft folk music, as well as chamber choral music so I think that goes into whatever I make. Specifically though, around the time I was writing for Changes, I was listening to a ton of Brazilian artists like Caetano Veloso and Joao Gilberto. I still love the music so much but at the time I was totally obsessed with the tropicalia and bossa nova sound. One of my favorite bands of all time is called The Clientele, and I think I draw influence from them a lot. Lately I’ve been really into Nick Drake.

The cover of Changes is an illustration of Nathaniel Russel. How was your collaboration? You