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Indie Rock

Interview: Kent State

Today, we take a look at something a little bit different: the psychedelic death pop band Kent State. Almost all of Kent State’s music is available for free on their Bandcamp or on the Paranoidfutures blog, which also contains updates for Doleful Lions, Airlooms, and At The Heart of The World. For a quick sample, you can check out the song “Pains” from Kent State’s split album with Doleful Lions at the very bottom.

Can you first state your name and role in the band?

I’m Nicholas. I play guitar and sing and do just about everything you hear on the recordings.

When and how did Kent State begin?

Kent State began as a side project to my 80’s punk/hardcore band Deep Sleep. My love for Guided By Voices and a friend giving me his dusty four track recorder inspired me to start messing with home recording. After about a month or so I came up with the Spahn Ranch EP and I’ve been writing and recording daily and have released 5 more EP’s. In October, I moved to Los Angeles looking for warm weather and a change of scenery. I’ve teamed up with some friends I’ve met along the way through Deep Sleep and will hopefully be playing live soon.

What is the music scene like in LA and how does that affect you?

I’ve just arrived and have been to a few shows but don’t really know too much about the scene. I’ve already seen some rad stuff that I never would have seen on the East Coast. We are having a blast out here.

What is the meaning behind the name Kent State?

I hope to conjure up dark imagery with the name, lyrics, and mood of the songs in Kent State. The name is referring to the Kent State massacre which occurred May 4th, 1970 at Kent State University.

You have done some split albums with Doleful Lions, Airlooms, and At The Heart of The World. What is your take on split albums and how does it affect the style of the music you produce?

I wanted to release my own stuff and thought I’d start out by doing tapes. I asked some friends who also were doing home recordings to do splits with Kent State. The whole thing snowballed into a three tape set. If you put the Kent State recordings together, you could also consider it our nine song full length. We have them all up separately or together as Past Lives on our bandcamp for free.

How does being more independent affect the production of your music? Would you choose to sign to a record label if you had the opportunity?

I’ve been writing, recording and touring with independent punk and hardcore bands for years. I prefer the D.I.Y approach as I like to have as much creative control with the art and music as possible. After a few months of releasing stuff for free online I decided to make the jump to physical releases, which is what brought about the split tapes with Airlooms, Doleful Lions and At The Heart of The World. There were a few labels who got in touch but they weren’t interested in keeping the music free online so I decided to do the tapes myself.

Will we be seeing some new material coming soon?

I am always working on new stuff and putting free stuff for download on my blog/Bandcamp on all of the time. Hopefully some vinyl by the end of summer.

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