Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew discusses the influences behind his new album ‘Influences’
We do a lot of "Influences" lists on this site, where we get artists to discuss the inspirations behind their new (or old) albums, and when Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew announced he was releasing an album that was titled Influences, well, we had to get him to contribute to the series. Recorded under the name K.D.A.P. (akak Kevin Drew A Picture), Influences is an instrumental album, which was mostly created using the Endless music app which Kevin discovered and became obsessed with during pandemic lockdown while visiting friends in the South of England. Inspired by nature walks, it's heavy on post-rock vibes somewhere between everything on Warp records in 1997 and Mogwai. “I didn't have anything to say on this record,” Kevin says. “But I had so much to feel.”
On that note, Kevin had a lot to say, and instead of a list of records, Kevin talks about ideas, feelings, and concepts that inspired the album, as well as a few music-specific items. And trees. It's a thoughtful list and his commentary may inspire you, too. Read that, and listen to the album, below.
KEVIN DREW - TOP 10 INFLUENCES BEHIND K.D.A.P. ALBUM 'INFLUENCES'
1. Frequency work
My lovely friend Kaya turned me onto this. By the end of 2017 I was depleted and embarrassed by my indecision and attitude towards life. I had never experienced the opportunity to get rid of the garbage I had been carrying with such a clarity towards personal truth. Regardless of all the painful band-aids and could-have-been museum tours. It allowed me to be open up in a way where I was constantly in a “friends with benefits” relationship with the wind.
2. Charles Spearin
Charlie has been inspiring me since I was nineteen. He has an approach to creativity and sound that pushes the excitement of melody to the extreme heights of a pure soundtrack. His musicianship is his brain, heart and stomach all agreeing with each other. Working with him the last 25 years has always forced me to find the mistakes and the glory within creating records. I have never encountered anyone with his instincts. He is a truly an original and a constant source of inspiration by just asking the question, “What would Charlie do?”
The wonderful motherfucker of it all. It brought me to the place where I wrote this album. It has guided me in and out of people’s lives. I have accepted it, betrayed it, lost it, found it, battled it and soaked up every aspect of it. The lifeline of a traditional aspect towards love that is marketed to us on a daily basis is slowly opening up to different variations of the fairy tale. Never let anyone’s own workshop on how a loving relationship is supposed to be influence your decision on sharing a mortgage with someone or vacation with someone next to a coconut. The world is a different place from the days of guilty forevers. Who knows what would have happened if The Princess Bride had a sequel... Perhaps it would have been about couples therapy and magical threesomes with some frogs.
If I could make love to a tree… I would. I would be attending consensual forest orgies every weekend with my educational outlook on emotional tree support. The history and the oxygen of kicking it next to some trees is where the peace is. There is no anxiety in a forest. If you feel fear, it’s coming from you and what you’ve been taught. Trees are here to ground you in the moment and are the best storytellers out there. Nature is the playground we belong in—just have to respect it and the history that it holds.
5. Ambient music/soundtracks
My whole life I have had soundtracks to guide me. You need mantras. You need definitions that give your spine the strength to continue. The countless artists who I have taken into my life have helped define my own intuitive impulse towards sound. Drones are where I place my daydreams. The privilege to travel the world with headphones is not lost on me. I salute all the incredible artists who made the choice to turn their lungs into compositions and help the human race fight to find balance through instrumental blankets of sound. It’s the massage oil for the soul. No physical touch required.
6. Phone calls
The pandemic increased my phone calls by 200%. “How’s it going?” became the multiple-choice question of the moment. Friends and family on the support hotline getting through the confusion of it all. I needed those mouths talking to me. I turned to the phone call when darkness wanted to have a pillow fight. So much of life is based on family and friends. It’s a force. The puzzle is in the approach and the approach comes from growing up on the “The hall of justice���. I had some superheroes call me in the last year and push me in the right direction when I was breathing alone beside a dishwasher.
7. False leadership
Among the many reveals this last year and half has shown us, false leadership became the exposed victory for my testing markets audience. Social media built a confidence that skipped a crucial line in the art and education of teaching. The increase of shamans, physiatrists, life coaches, love doctors, analysts, political advisors, witches, etc, etc, etc… it became very overwhelming. To be told how to live on a constant basis is like Velcro bandages for the empaths dancing shoes. I found inspiration when the uprising of last summer weeded out the upper-class yoga stretches with its limited access pass and reminded so many that helping people goes way beyond a monthly fee. So many who teach are surrounded by a hidden pain and trauma. It’s all part of the package when you exist. Some feel they need to guide others to heal themselves or to convince themselves they are doing “the right thing.” To me, that should be illegal. There is a massive difference between helping someone and teaching someone. Many in the mindfulness community seem to have lost sight of that. Ego has no place in the true way of following your breath.
I’m 44 years old. That’s 79 years old in indie rock years. I come from an industry that has been run by the same people and the same capital mentality for quite some time. I have been a part of that world and benefited from what it wanted to allow me to have. Greed culture has pushed the art culture out of the game. Zeros and ones are holding benefit parades on a daily basis due to the new approaches on how to make it. How to be it. How to have it. We, as a society, are getting very uncomfortable because every day we have to come to terms with how our successes come from other people’s misfortunes. We walk around on stolen land and watch the real estate market make financial history. For Sale signs everywhere saying, “bought for over asking”. “Purchased” for over asking. It’s a time bomb of statement. “Over asking” should be a bumper sticker for the struggling philanthropist who’s thinking of changing their career to an assassin. Algorithms own us now and yet there are still warriors without much in the bank fighting to help voice those who are victims to what greed ignores. It’s inspiring to watch unfold. In this place called Canada, where I live, time’s ticking and the full-frontal reality of being outed for personal gain is becoming what will implode on all those who own Tesla slippers and microchipped plasmas. The only divide that is worth investing in is helping others have access to what most of us take for granted. It’s an age-old tale that is making a serious comeback… but as LL Cool J once expressed — we can’t call it a comeback because we’ve been here for years.
I skipped the world of Ableton and progressive ways of living inside the digital box of beats. It was only once I met this app (Endlesss) that I befriended the universe of a studio in my hand. I was amazed how I could leave the environment I was in and dive deep into the world of loops, effects, sounds and kick drums. I spent hours walking around and designing tunes that would end up on this record. It gives you the opportunity to still use your intuition and instincts in how you approach sound. The individual still has a statue amongst the many waves of already been done before. I was super fortunate to have my heart lead me to the English countryside where I was surrounded by love, satellites, pubs, trails and the woods. I got away and knew I was super lucky to be able to be where I was. I dove deep into the program and fell for how easy it was to use. For arts programs across the board… this is the future. Schools, prisons… so much of the funding towards art has been cut. It’s applications like this that can keep getting music to the people. It’s important now more than ever. If we dismiss music for visual stimulating popularity… we will only continue to fail in the connection of being a group of people who want to understand each other. Music is Identity. It’s the greatest form of communication. It’s like “the bees… the bees go, we go.” Keep music going.
10. Nyles Spencer/Bathouse studios
I’ve worked on 10 records with Nyles at that lovely studio. He’s a friend, magician and a peer of mine. The studio is a house with a rich history that only helps you be at your best. I believe the most wonderful of ghosts drops by our sessions from time to time just to be a part of the subconscious execution. Nyles and I put together this K.D.A.P record combining the house sound with the application. I trust his instincts beside the record button and always come to the other side of albums better for it. I’m grateful for his wonderful work and his addiction to reverb.