Nolly co-produced up and coming artist Gavin Kennedy’s debut album, Sunchaser, which was released on February 9th. They met a few years ago in the UK and they instantly clicked, so when Gavin told him about the music he was working on, Nolly immediately wanted to be apart of it.
The fully instrumental, 11-track project pushes the boundaries on traditional metal music to create a sound that would appeal to the masses. When Gavin talks about his body of work, he says
each song is an instrumental snapshot of a moment in time in his life.
He hopes that it can help others through whatever they may be dealing with at the time.
Gavin has had his hand if every part of the process. From composting to producing to playing each of the songs. Not to mention, the album artwork was created by Dan Mumford who’s best known for his artwork in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Here’s what happen when I spoke to Gavin about the creative process.
What style of music are you most comfortable working in?
Progressive music is where I tend to gravitate towards, and one of the great things about the style is that it draws influence from so many different genres. My music tends to have a rock/metal aesthetic, but I think it’s at minimum a very healthy creative exercise to explore as many sounds as possible. Although it would be out of the ordinary for me to write a through-and-through country or jazz song, I love incorporating those sounds and inspirations wherever they want to fit.
How would you describe your sound?
The goal of my first album Sunchaser was to essentially take a snapshot of where I was creatively and musically; to me, the result ended up being somewhat across the spectrum stylistically. I wanted to somehow try to encapsulate everything I love about music, all while attempting to balance energy and positivity.
What inspires your music?
For me, inspiration comes from so many different places. It’s so easy to draw inspiration from any one of the many amazing artists or bands in music, or even from the moods/tones of a movie or tv series; however, outside of the artistic world, the one thing that seems to do the trick for me more often than not is nature. I’ve just recently been fortunate enough to do some snowboarding in the mountains of Colorado, and not only witnessing environment but being able to interact with it always puts me in a very intuitively creative mindset.
Do you find that project partnerships like yours and Nolly’s are quite rare nowadays?
I do think that there is a bit of a lost appreciation for seeking out mentors to learn from these days. I have always been very fond of the apprenticeship method of education, and I think there is so much that can be learned simply by observing as much as you can from someone you respect professionally. When I decided to take a gap year from college, I did so with the intention of pursuing mentors and apprenticeships in the real world, I can absolutely attest to the fact that I have learned so much more from those mentors than I think is possible in any classroom over the same amount of time. Not only did I learn so much, but it also opened up so many doors I never expected to exist (working with Nolly on my on my album being one of them), and I’ve met so many genuine and inspiring people along the way.
Tell me more about your project with Nolly?
Being able to work with Nolly on Sunchaser was a huge dream come true. I traveled to his home in Bath, England to record the album, and we had a fantastic working chemistry right from the start. One of the keys to the success of the album was the fact that we were able to work within a very relaxed environment the whole time; there was no deadline that needed to be met, no creative boundaries on the project, and no pressure to appeal to an existing audience since I am a new artist. Both Nolly and Mike Malyan (the drummer/percussionist on the album) added a level of polish and professionalism to the project that I couldn’t have given it myself, and the album certainly would not have reached its full potential without them.
What instruments do you play?
I play the guitar and bass, and although it’s not technically “playing,” I programmed all of the synths and pads for Sunchaser.
What advice would you give to any budding musicians?
Find whatever it is in music that resonates with you and never lose sight of that passion. As for myself, a lot of times when I was in the process of discovering what I was most passionate about in music, I would get distracted by what I could and couldn’t play to the point where it began to become more about the technicality than the actual music. My own doubts about my validity as a musician started to take my passion for something that was so naturally fun and turn it into a task. Now obviously it’s important to be able to play the music you are passionate about, and technicality is a tool to accomplish that, but I think it is much more important to not let anything draw you away from the fun and honesty in music.
What are you hoping people take away from this project?
Anything they want really, I’m just very happy that it is finally seeing the light of day and being listened to!
Any final shoutouts or plugs?
As always, a massive thanks to the team behind Sunchaser as well as my massively supportive family, and thank you for taking the time to talk!