Los Angeles guitarist/vocalist Kimi Recor had played in a various bands over a number of years before launching her first solo project, Dræmings, in 2012. She wrote, recorded, and self-produced her debut EP, “Nevada” during the span of a weekend soon after.
Her moody take on pop/rock attracted the attention of Sumerian Records, who made her their first signing outside of their typical alternative rock / metalcore fare. She was optimistic going into the deal, but soon discovered that the label process wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It took two years from completion for Dræmings full length album, The Eternal Lonesome to be released.
Now armed with a full band that includes includes bass / synth player Thorson, guitarist Christopher Vick, and drummer Nathaniel Meek, Dræmings new self-titled EP is a merging of lush, dreamy indie-pop with slick electronics and hints of hard rock and new age ambiance. Thematically, it finds Recor reflecting on her previous career experience experience and extending it into a question of what it means to take back your power, in both a personal and political sense. To that end, she opted to release the record herself on Play Like A Girl Records, the label she created around the culture / activism collective of the same name she spearheaded last year. PLAG currently hosts a monthly feminist focused music/performance series at Los Angeles’ The Echo (Recor also runs a second monthly showcase focusing on developing artists at Harvard & Stone), and has plans for an educational series are in the works.
Check out “Dræmings” below and learn more about the Recor’s evolution as a musician and producer, and her preference for using guitar to make “strange sounds,” rather than classic solos. “Dræmings” comes out on 4/21, but you can preorder digital and physical copies now. If you’re in LA you can see Dræmings at The Echo’s monthly residence series each Monday through the end of April.
She Shreds: How would you describe how your music has evolved from the “Nevada” EP to now?
Kimi Recor: I wrote the Nevada EP during a time of great heartbreak. It was an EP I wrote in order to preserve my sanity and my heart. I felt very free writing it. I didn’t judge the songs or think to much about where they would fit in the world. It was very much something I did for myself.
Over the last few years, I’ve become more “proficient” at songwriting and production, and I always say it’s a blessing and a curse. There’s something beautiful about songs that are written and produced from a place that has nothing to do with skill. They’re authentic and heavy in a way that is completely unique.
Working on my full-length, The Eternal Lonesome, I learned so much about production from the producer I was working with, and since then my musical skills have also improved, so that opens up a lot of different doors in terms of style. That album was very much written and produced for other people to hear. I had a label backing me, and they wanted a more commercial sound, and I think I felt a little more pressure to have it live up to a certain standard. Don’t get me wrong, I love that album, and what we created, but it just came from a different place than Nevada.
With the new EP, Draemings has turned from a solo-project into a full band. There are three other people creating these songs with me, so now there’s a total new energy to it. I hope our music keeps evolving with us. We are releasing the EP on my own label, so there was no pressure to have it sound a certain way. It was written and produced to please ourselves.
The EP has a lot of different musical elements from pop to new age, a style that most people don’t associate with guitar. As a guitarist, what do you like about working in these unexpected styles?
I’m all about tones and textures. Some of my favorite bands are My Bloody Valentine, Enya, and Brian Eno’s ambient works. You can really lose yourself in the soundscapes they create. When I picked up the electric guitar and started messing around with pedals it completely turned my world around. I’m more interested in creating strange sounds and making the guitar sound like a completely different instrument rather than doing like crazy guitar-center solos.
When the guitar gets to be an ambient noise sometimes, rather than the star of the show, it lends so much to a song.
One of the main themes of the new EP is finding your voice in all parts of your life. What do you think holds people back from expressing themselves and their needs? What words of wisdom would you give someone who is struggling with this very thing?
Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but as a woman, I was raised with the notion that I was supposed to be nice and quiet and make sure everyone else happy with what I did. For a long time, that conditioning kept me from really expressing what was bottled up inside. I would essentially let people walk all over me, and do things that I wasn’t super comfortable doing. I didn’t want to rock the boat, and I thought that in order to succeed I had to play this game.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I kind of broke through that mentality and decided that I didn’t want to play by those rules anymore. I wanted to make myself happy and stay true to what I wanted to do. It was life changing. It’s very hard to break that sort of pattern- more so for the people around you than for you. But you have to do it. As an artist, you can’t compromise yourself. It catches up with you- it drowns you.
So my words of wisdom: Make yourself happy. Stay true to your art. If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, YOU AREN’T OBLIGATED to stay in it. Success sown from compromising your inner self will never truly feel like success.