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Discover Kai Stevens


Discover Kai Stevens

What first drew you into music? 

I looked for fun in everything while growing up. One day when I was 10 I was playing with my mom’s computer and started messing around on Garage band. I kept making different songs and experimenting so much that it got to a point where my parents offered me producing lessons. I’ve grown up listening to all types of music and I’ve gone through different stages where I’ve been into very different genres. Before I discovered dance music I loved rap and alternative music. My dad introduced me to dance music when I was in 3rd grade and once I heard it, I was hooked. In addition, I got a drumset for my fourth birthday and grew up jamming out on it. 

You are one of the best up and coming musicians we have encountered on the internet! And your track “Train Tracks” is probably your best track yet! Could you tell us more about the story behind this track?

Wow, thank you so much that means a lot, especially coming from you guys! Of course! My friend Nate (aka “Catchphrase”) sent me a demo for a potential collaboration between him and I. I loved the track but thought that I could take it in a different direction than where he was going with it. One night I took his idea, changed it a bunch and made the initial idea that became Train Tracks. I sent it over to my friend Mary Shannon for lyrical ideas and she sent me a voice memo with some things to consider. At the time I was going through something in my life that inspired a lot of the lyrics as well. One super late night Mary Shannon and I FaceTimed and wrote Train Tracks. I immediately fell in love with the song because it was the first song I had contributed a lot of the lyrics and vocal melodies to – it felt personal to me. The next three months I worked on the production and ironed out everything. Nate and Mary Shannon are such amazing collaborators and I’m continuing to work on a lot of music with each of them. Fun fact, I’m 16 and Mary Shannon and Nate are 17. 

Going over your Soundcloud we can tell you love experimenting with new sounds. Can you tell us more about your studio setup and some of your favorite plugins/instruments?

Absolutely! I produce everything in Ableton Live and some of my favorite plugins are Serum and Kontakt for making the actual sounds. Some of my favorite mixing plugins are Fab Filter q2 for Eq, 2a/76 for compression, Valhalla reverbs are sick, Decapitator, Echoboy, and Little Alterboy by Soundtoys for distortion, delay, and sick vocal chops, respectively. I recently discovered this plugin “Soothe” by Oeksound and I throw it on everything, it’s super gnarly! I use Adam a7x as my main studio monitors. I love using organic sounds in my productions, whether it be piano, strings, guitar, harps. I feel like it subconsciously makes the song feel more human and less electronic. Also, whenever I have the opportunity to record real instruments I do it because it’s critical there is real human emotion in the music, even if it’s just energy. 

Your signature sound is already very professional and amazing to listen to! How did you manage to achieve such a professional sound in such a short time? Can you tell us more about your musical background?

Thank you! I’m inspired by all types of music, whether it be dance, pop, rap/trap, indie, alternative, pop/punk, rock, etc. I listen to everything. I was fortunate enough to have someone teach me how to use Ableton and basic mixing techniques. I would have weekly sessions with him from 4th grade through 8th. Once I got to high school, a super talented songwriter named Will Snyder taught me a lot about music theory and mixing and we write a lot of music together as well. I’m in my school band and I take a music theory class in high school as well. I constantly reach out to my music friends and we exchange feedback. I love making music so much I do it a lot, and the quality is slowly coming. 

All of your tracks are very melodic. Do you play any real-life instruments? 

Yes, I do, I play the piano. I can’t read music but I know enough music theory to be able to improvise and write on it. I play piano for my high school band and it’s pretty funny because my teacher gives me sheet music but I don’t know how to play it so he has to show me how to play it himself. I grew up playing the drums as well although I’ve kind of lost it by now. I’m also learning how to play the guitar and sing. The goal is to be able to play piano, bass, guitar, and sing. 

What are your goals for the coming months? Any upcoming projects we can get excited about?

Currently, I’m focusing on producing original music as opposed to remixing tracks. The way I learned to produce is by remixing songs and I did that for about a year and a half, however, I’m at a place where I feel like the quality of my music has reached a point where I’m ready to start writing my own lyrics and sharing myself more. Because the music is getting more personal to me, I’m beginning to sing on more and more of my own songs. I have a track that should be released in mid-October that I believe is my best song yet! I’m super excited about it!

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