I had the oppurtiunty to talk to Mr. Kelsey himself about life, music and what it all means to him! Please enjoy his interview and look in our electronic section for samples of his work!
How old were you when you started to make your own music?
I was 18 years old, I am definitely not a young protege or anything haha, I never considered myself creative for a long time. I have always been a questioning type of person. I looked down on “artsiness” in my more arrogant days. I think it was when I grew up I got a better view of what it meant to be human and how we express ourselves. So I think that's why I never viewed myself as an artist but rather an analyst. But it's funny because I am in the clouds all the time now, acting like the very thing I used too look down upon. I always concerned myself with matters of the mind but now I am working with more ambiguous sound symbols, and that ambiguity allows us to reach down and consider that something deeper in humans. I am trying to get a thicker meaning and understanding rather than just capturing emotion.
Who are your favorite musicians? Groups?
Depeche mode is one of my biggest groups. I have enjoyed David Bowie and his artistic freedom. Another one is Chino Morano, my god brother and I have always drawn inspiration from his work with Crosses and Deftones. My favorite piece of music I heard in middle school as my dad drove me to school. It was Dvorak's New World Symphony. It was the first time I really got a vivid image and story in my head from listening to music. The Cure is a big one, really anything new wave 80's I can rock with. Led Zeppelin, Jimmy page is one of the most inspiring musicians to me. I love how real he was, he always seems to just be having fun. Finding a rift and just loving it over and over it.
What is your favorite song that you have written or covered and why?
A couple of my favorites are Receding Light and Drift Through. Last year I had the worst time getting to sleep. I wrote drift through during a 3 to 4 day stint of being unable to fall asleep for more than an hour or so. During that time I would enter these strange and hazy mindsets that set me on a path of question If I can ever trust my sense of reality. You know, leaving the Descartes mindset and entering the Locke mindset. It’s my brain getting informations but how do I know if it is correct? Even facts are not self-interpreting. In Drift Through I tried to recreate what i heard from my sleep deprived auditory hallucinations. I was making a scene of a city then at the end of the scene there is a daunting, something. Then there are animals in a field then animals in the thick woods and then there is another dark presence. Its an 8 minute long song and sometimes it's a little depressing. Nonetheless it is my reflections on and something I wrote during one of those moments in my life where I especially did not trust my own empirical sense. I decided that the only way to get through is to just keep going and all you can do is look back in retrospect. Also you feel alone in the song but you really aren't. You have a creature of sorts that reminds you that he is there. He is through the song and then he seems to fade away. In my mind i would liken the creature to God, as in I am not alone, there is a sense that there is something greater than you that is always there. It's one of my favorites because it was so vivid and experiential to me.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am trying to send out my resumes to so many different things. Mission agencies, teaching opportunities. I like the idea of missions and reaching new people groups and I also love teaching. Five years ago I didn't want to even mess with teaching, let alone kids, but now i actually look forward to it haha. I am letting God make my next move though. I want to be humble and trusting in God since he knows what i want because I don't want to rely on my flawed perspective on what I really want. If I obey step by step he will lead me where he wants me to go.
What do you want your musical style to be?
I want my style to be malleable so I can best reflect the thought I am going after. I guess it all depends on what I want to do that day. I see genres as yet another paint brush to paint with. Its fine to working with in a certain style. But having different genres and styles can allow you to add even more layers of meaning to your work. You have to be aware who your audiences is and that influences your choice of style, cords, key and so on. I want to have my songs to be cleaner, and more simple than what I usually make them to be. I think it will make my music easier to digest and easier to understand It would make it so much simpler to mix down too. It’s important when writing during a rush of creativity to still practice restraint and to not overcomplicate things.
What gives you the inspiration to be creative?
My music professor told me this one day: “let inspiration come after you forced it.” A Lot of people don't seem to look at creativity that way. Sometimes we will sit around and wait to have inspiration hit us. Just because you aren't feeling it, doesn't mean you should stop working on it. Don't work just because its easy and flowing, push into it and force it. Sometimes I just work on myself. Like I will take the time to work on sound design or make a new bass drum or synth or I will look up more music theory videos on YouTube or I may just plain practice my skills with certain audio affects. Along the way your going to have accident. Then your like whoa that's cool! THEN that's when creativity starts to flow. Inspiration can come from anywhere!