INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY: AnnaMarie Otor
WHIP had the opportunity to sit down with local musician Kevin Walkman to talk about his upcoming project, Thank You For Coming, his past works, and a little bit about who he is and the method behind his madness. Kevin Walkman is a junior Music Technology major at Temple, originally from Delaware County, PA. Writing his first song in third grade, his musical prowess only grew over time as he produced his first song in the middle of high school with his career taking off from there and when he arrived on Temple’s campus his freshman year.
AnnaMarie Otor: Why the name Kevin Walkman? Where did that come from?
Kevin Walkman: So the story isn’t really that deep; for those who don’t know, my real name is Kevin Reeder. It’s not that I don’t like my name, but my dad’s name is also Kevin Reeder. And I’ve always hated, since being a little kid, the difference between names. Like my mom always yelling “Kevin” and my dad and me both showing up, little things like that. So I always knew at some point I wanted to change a little bit of my name. Plus, I wanted a stage name. Something that matched more of the style I was going for. At the time when I was going through names and stuff like that I wanted to keep Kevin, mostly because I had just found Kevin Abstract and I thought his name was really cool. Yeah, I just started kind of going through random stuff and I was super into 90s style at the time. I was just looking through some sh*t and I remember a big thing that my dad used, and still uses to this day, is a Sony Walkman. We bought him an iPod and he never used it, he still uses a Walkman when he cuts lawns or some sh*t like that. That’s where I got the name Kevin Walkman from, basically my style and also a thing my dad had kind of kept with him for a while.
AO: On that same vein of finding your style and your sound, how would you describe your style and sound? How do you feel like that’s progressed since you took on the persona of Kevin Walkman?
KW: I think a lot of my sound, pre-Kevin Walkman, was just kind of like the singer-songwriter kid and his piano, or kid and his guitar, and there wasn’t really much to it. I think adding that name and personality really kind of forced me to do something more with my music. Under Construction was the first EP I released under Kevin Walkman, which was a little more pop than most of my other stuff. But I don’t see myself going in the direction that Under Construction went. A lot of the stuff I’m going to be coming out with in the next couple of months is a little more alternative R&B, like indie. Even anti-pop based, in a sense, where it’s hard to kind of classify it under a genre but it has a lot of different influences in it.
AO: Based on sort of looking into the future, what do you have coming out soon? I know you’ve got a single and a music video coming out soon; tell me about that and everything else that has been going on.
KW: Yeah, so I just filmed a music video for my single, it’s called “WasteUrTime.” It’s going to be the first single off of an upcoming album which is called Thank You For Coming. I don’t want to give a release date for that album just yet because while me and my producer/bassist Nick have a pretty solid idea in mind for when I want to release it, I want to be sure of it before I mention it to anyone. I would say within the next couple of months that project will be out. “WasteUrTime” is going to be out on December 6th. And the plan is to release the video and song at the same time. I think I covered your question, I might have forgot a part of it.
AO: No, no you totally did. You already kind of spoke to this a bit earlier, but how would formally characterize how your new work differs from your previous releases?
KW: Personally, looking back I think Under Construction was a little bit rushed. I know at the end of my sophomore year I really wanted to make sure that I put something out, some sort of project where I could start performing and doing live shows. I did the big house show on the day it was released, and I was really happy with it at the time. Now there’s only one song on that EP that I actually like.
AO: Which song is it? I kind of want to know.
KW: That song’s “Ready Set.”
AO: I was going to say, I hope it that’s one because it’s my favorite one.
KW: Yeah, “Ready Set” is really the only song that I like on there anymore. Which is funny because it’s the third most popular out of the four songs. I feel like if there’s anything on Under Construction that has influenced Thank You For Coming, it would be “Ready Set.” There’s obviously still guitar parts, like the guitar parts in “Whatcha Want?” but it’s definitely a very very different vibe. I think the new music is way more real, I think it comes from a much more real place for me, personally. Under Construction was kind of just like overall happy, half assed love songs that were just kind of like, hey anyone can relate to this. Thank You For Coming is about the stages of grief, or just what happens after a breakup. So, it starts with “WasteUrTime” as a kind of seductive song about hookup culture in colleges and stuff like that. And that’s kind of how the album starts, almost like the rebound part of a breakup where you just want to go do whatever you want, right post breakup. And it slowly gets into some sad stuff, some angry stuff, some almost diss tracks, and then kind of accepting what’s happening and moving on to somebody else or another part of your life. I feel like my voice sounds a lot more real, I feel like the producing is way better and that’s also a big credit to Nick – one of my best friends in music who I’ve been working with. Overall, I just think it’s not a 180 on the sound by any means, but if someone is really looking for Under Construction type music, they’re not going to get it.
AO: That’s valid. You live and you learn. My last question for you is who are some artists that inspire you – like generally, or specifically local artists?
KW: I’ll start locally, I love Tierra Whack right now. I love her and Orion Sun. One of my friends, Lukey, makes a lot of music around here. It’s just really cool to see somebody from around right where you are slowly build and blow up. Lukey, for instance, I’m in classes with him, I get to talk to him all the time, I get his advice on what you should do. Things like why numbers don’t matter, how to get gigs and things like that and he’s been super helpful in that process. In terms of general artists, I am absolute diehard Frank Ocean lover. I will live and breathe and die for Frank Ocean. Also Daniel Caesar, Omar Apollo. There’s a lot of The Neighbourhood influence on this upcoming album. Probably because I spent so much time in middle school listening to The Neighbourhood that it just has been installed in my brain at this point. A lot of really bendy, not scary chords but I think you just have to listen to The Neighbourhood to have the concept of that eerie kind of vibe that they give off. There’s just a little bit of that mixed in with how seductive Daniel Caesar can be, or Omar Apollo can be. Also, some new Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper, a little bit of Brockhampton. All stuff like that.
AO: Thank you so much, it sounds like you have a lot of exciting things in the works and I can’t wait to see the result of that.
Kevin Walkman’s previous work is available via Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud. Be sure to follow him on Instagram to keep up with his latest projects, and keep your eyes peeled on December 6th for the first single single “WasteUrTime” off of his forthcoming album Thank You For Coming!