Detroit is a city that has given birth to some of the most important musical movements and artists of the last century. It’s a city of infinite inspiration for the world, a city that throughout all obstacles, has managed to breed a musical vanguard that we are all paying attention and looking up to. Producer Kevin Reynolds is a true native son of Detroit, and with his new album, ‘A Certain Circumstance’, he is finally ready to share his music with the world. This is actually the second time we have the pleasure to talk to Kevin about his music as we talked before about his Riverfront EP here. In this exclusive Q&A, Reynolds discusses the making of his new album, what it means to be from Detroit, and how he plans to continue influencing the music scene in his hometown.
Interview with Kevin Reynolds about his new album “A Certain Circumstance”
1. Abandoned Car Seat.
There was an abandoned car seat just sitting randomly outside my house on the street. Not a kids car seat but an actual seat from a car. I thought… how does that happen?. Oh yeah, motor city. Made a song about it.
I’m a huge fan of African music and was really moved by Dobet Gnahoré’s album “Na Afriki”. I heard something in this song and wanted to pay homage around her beautiful voice and instruments.
3. Come On Then (Rerub).
When I worked at Transmat we used to talk about tracks that made you want to throw your shoulders up, tilt your head a little and put on a ugly funk face. That’s what I was trying to hopefully accomplish with this song.
4. 12 Degrees.
It was a really cold but sunny day in Detroit, 12°F. I decided it was a good day to go running outside. When I came back I started working on this track, post run. Then months later when staying with Osunlade in beautiful, sunny and WARM Santorini I finished it. I can feel the cold and the warmth in it but most importantly, the sun.
5. Para Ti ft. Paul Randolph.
Osunlade was staying with me in Detroit and I played this track for him. He said it needs a male vocalist. I immediately thought of Paul, who I had the pleasure of going on the road with back in the day while tour managing Amp Fiddler. I’ve always been a fan of Paul (music and friendship). It was my first time working with a vocalist and Paul taught me an incredible amount of knowledge in such a short amount of time. Forever grateful this happened.
6. River Front.
I love going down to the Riverfront here in Detroit, there is just something about connecting with the water. The Detroit River borders Canada to our south. I can’t count the times we would go to Windsor, Toronto, Point Pelee. Then I started to think about the ease and privilege it is for me to cross a border, and how difficult it is for many, many people in this world. How something as beautiful as this river could represent life or death for many people.
7. Appointment Confirmed.
In the US, we have some of the best health care on the planet but access can be a difficult process. Having a job and being working class does not guarantee you health insurance here. The inequities are jarring. I’m lucky that I’m healthy but it took me over 4 years and thousands of dollars to insurance companies to get an appointment with a doctor just for a checkup. I would have appointments confirmed with a doctor and then my insurance would cancel it. Finally got it sorted but this song represents the maze of the US health care system. No matter how daunting a system can seem, overcoming it is possible.
8. Completed Stance.
Growing up my brother and I studied the Japanese martial art Aikido every Saturday well into high school. Aikido teaches you way more about life and harmonizing energy around you. It teaches you to move with life. This song represents that flow.
9. Family Tree.
A song about the community in Detroit and the globe. This is one of those songs that I see smiling, sweating faces expressing pure joy on a dance floor.
10. Inward Breath.
Mindfulness was the strong emotion pushing this song. How the mind and the body are connected. How something as simple as breathing can connect the mind to yourself and the things around you. Take a moment and take an inward breath and see what grows around you.
Oh this was straight up for Berlin. I love that city so much that I almost moved there. Outside of Detroit I don’t think I’ve felt more comfortable just being. A soundtrack to my time spent there. But at the same time it would equally fit here in Detroit.
12. Seeking Peace.
This is about a journey. About travel. It starts contemplative and delicate, then a sure foothold of movement takes place. Eventually the journey opens to full joy. This is what travel represents to me.
13. Soil Before The Rain (Talamh).
Talamh means earth / land / soil in Irish. It takes the rain and the soil to grow food. Putting one’s hands into the earth and sowing that seed to provide food is a very powerful experience. My ancestors had to travel far for food and life due to capitalistic greed and blight. Similar to what we are seeing to this very day. I just hope my music provides that food for the soul, body and mind.
Some final words.
We would like to thank Kevin for taking the time to talk with us about his music and its significance. His journey through life is reflected in each of these tracks, from seeking peace and mindfulness amidst difficult times, to connecting with nature and expressing joy on the dance floor. We hope that listeners will find solace or strength in this collection of songs as they navigate their own paths forward too. Thank you again, Kevin!
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