What is your name and role within the band?
My name is Keaton Conrad. I’m a solo music artist, although I play shows with a backing band. On stage, I sing and play keyboard.
How did you start?
I really started getting serious with music when I took an interest in the production side of it. I saw music for what it was worth, rather than some enigmatic creation. From this, I started playing around with songwriting, and eventually released my first EP. This snowballed into where I am today.
Where are you based?
I’m based out of Olathe, Kansas, a suburb outside of Kansas City in central United States.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
My writing process varies based on my inspiration. I’ve always been a fan of the standard “guitar, pen, and paper” approach, but recently I’ve resonated more with finding a specific sound and creating a mood before any actual songwriting happens. I’ll usually mess around with the presets on my computer until I find one I like, then I’ll alter it to make it my own. From there, I will usually create a chord progression with various ideas built in, then I’ll flesh that out to a backbone or structure for the song. It’s often not until this point that I’ll start thinking about a melody, writing the lyrics last. I’ll tweak the song at this point until I’m satisfied.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m in the process of securing more shows for the summer and early fall. I’ve also started working on some new song ideas to explore further for a new release. And, of course, promoting and advertising.
What is your gear setup?
I do all of my writing, recording, and production in my home studio. This setup is modest but efficient. I use only an M-Audio 88es MIDI keyboard, a desktop computer, an MXL 990 microphone, a pair of Fostex monitors, some headphones, and a PreSonus AudioBox USB interface to connect everything. Most of the effects and instruments I use are virtual, providing a cheap alternative to some high-priced equipment.
The current live setup is a bit more complicated, but I will simplify it for here. I play a Kurzweil PC3LE8 on stage, for everything from pad synths to Rhodes pianos. I perform with a guitarist, bassist, and drummer in addition to myself. Backing tracks sent from my phone are used for supplementary sounds and sound effects.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
Outside of music, I’m very interested in business and entrepreneurship. This does affect my music career significantly, as it helps give me the networking, budgeting, management, and marketing skills that are almost a necessity when you’re in the music industry.
How would you describe your music genre?
My music is predominantly indie rock, although it does cross over into pop, jazz, and ambient territories quite frequently.
Do you know any music theory?
I know quite a bit of music theory, actually. From an early age I’ve been very interested in classical and jazz music – I feel this comes out in my music pretty frequently. I’ve written several classical and jazz pieces in addition to my more contemporary releases. I think every musician and songwriter should have at least a basic knowledge of music theory. Every chord, note, and harmony is rooted in theory, and once you learn the basic principles behind music, you gain the understanding of how to improve your writing or performance.
What are your plans for the future?
This fall, I will be attending the University of Missouri – Kansas City to study Music Composition. I aim to pursue music as a professional career, whether that be in performing, writing, production, business, or all four.
How did you get into music?
I started piano lessons at the age of four, which started my love and appreciation for music. I studied mostly classical repertoire and scales initially, fun stuff for a five-year-old. It’s safe to say that I was not yet a fan of classical music, and I almost stopping piano (and most likely, my music career) for good. It was my discovery of ragtime and blues music that got me interested in piano again. I kept playing, starting writing my own songs, then expanded my music career to what it is today.
What are you listening to at the moment?
My music interests have always spanned many different styles. I’m a huge fan of indie, jazz, and classic rock music, such as Arctic Monkeys, Bon Iver, The Neighbourhood , Hall & Oates, and Count Basie. Recently, I’ve found myself listening to more local music as well.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
It’s hard for me to choose just five, but I feel The 1975, Bon Iver, The Neighbourhood, Coldplay, and Tom Misch have had the most impact on me and my music.
When are you playing next?
I just finished a string of local shows and festivals in the spring, and am still finalizing the details for some shows this summer and fall. Please check my website (www.keatonconradmusic.com) for show announcements coming up!