Indiana musician Kevin Krauter is on the verge of releasing his second full-length album Full Hand – out February 28 via Bayonet Records. It comes about a year and a half after the release of his first record Toss Up. Following the release of his upcoming album, Krauter is scheduled for a lengthy tour that spans the entire United States, starting March 16th at SXSW in Austin, Texas and ending June 27th in Indianapolis at the Old National Centre. Kevin and I had a chance to chat briefly about the upcoming album and tour, being from Indiana, what he’s been listening to, and more.
Michael Cottone: Let’s start off simple. What have you been listening to recently?
Kevin Krauter: Lately I’ve been really into a lot of UK garage…like drum and bass kind of stuff. I’ve been trying to exercise more and my routine is just dancing. I do it right here actually, on my patio right outside the basement. I’ll just look up the genre on YouTube, find a playlist that has a bunch of shit and save the ones I like to my library. It’s cool because I’m finding new music while also dancing.
MC: In regards to the new record, what made you choose the name Full Hand?
KK: I actually wanted to name it something else. “Full Hand” is one of the tracks on the album, but there’s another track on there titled “Patience” that I wanted to originally call it. But then literally right after I made that decision, another band released an album called Patience and it got Best New Music on Pitchfork and I was like “damn, well I guess I should name it something else.” So I ended up going with Full Hand, but it ended up being a better fit for the album I think.
MC: And how do you see Full Hand as a step forward or a development from the past releases in your discography?
KK: I’m not sure, I couldn’t tell you an exact thematic development that I planned for, I think I just got better. At guitar, singing, writing, ya know? It just feels like a level up. I’m way prouder of these songs – and don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of Toss Up – but I’m really excited about these new songs. While I was writing a lot of this new material I was getting to a point where I was surprising myself, and it’s fun to surprise yourself. Like to have all these ideas in my head and initially think to myself “well I don’t know if that would work, but I want to try” then you try it and it just…works, hahaha.
MC: Do you have a favorite off the record?
KK: Hmm, I think the song “Piper” is my favorite. It’s on side b of the album. I wrote that one really fast and I recorded the drum machine and key part all together on this organ at Demi and Joe’s old place in Muncie. For the listeners, Demi is my partner and Joe is an old roommate. But Joe had this little organ that had a drum machine built into it and the buttons on it. And it was called ‘Piper’ actually. So I made this little tune and recorded it on my iPhone and then wrote the lyrics for it. I actually used the iPhone recording in Pro Tools, so the original recording done at the house is in the album’s finished product. When we started working on it in the studio it turned into something way cooler than I had planned, but that song is definitely the most exciting to me.
MC: So have you incurred any different challenges or frustrations with the whole process of either writing or recording?
KK: That’s hard to say actually, in some ways it feels like it’s gotten easier. I think that’s largely because I feel more confident and I have gotten a lot better at it. It’s a consistent practice, I’m trying to see it more as my craft. It’s my art, it’s what I do and it’s not going to be something that keeps happening if I don’t put all my effort into it. Which is something I’m scared of, because whenever I’m looking forward to a new release I don’t want it to be more of the same thing. Personally for me, I need it to be a big effort so it can show the growth in how I structure my approach to making music.
MC: I know that one of your unique influences you have is your interest in world and international music. That originated from Travis (Harvey) at Village Green Records, right?
KK: Yeah, straight up! I would go in there all the time when I was in school at Ball State and he got me into Brazilian music like Tropicalia and African music and from there I’ve kind of just done a deep dive on YouTube and have found lots of amazing stuff. I don’t even use Spotify or Apple Music or any of those things, I only use YouTube because it’s got everything.
MC: Do you think it translates over to what you make a little?
KK: I hope it does! Obviously I don’t try to directly emulate any of my influences, but at its best, I think that can happen by accident, which is what I can hope for. It definitely comes through a lot in my rhythm, though. I’m a big fan of rhythmic impulses of non-Western music. I did a big research paper in school on Bossa Nova and South American music and it was really fun to dive in and try to understand where it comes from. Obviously my vision is skewed being from the Midwest but regardless, the music I find from these outlets is very sick.
MC: Speaking of living here, how do you think being from Indiana has made your story different?
KK: I think for the longest time I denied any sort of influence that being from Indiana had on me… But lately, I’ve learned to be more grateful. For the life I’ve gotten to live here, my friends. Being from Indiana is cool when you play a show overseas or even in the states, people will be like “where’s that?” It’s like a funny little flex.
MC: What do you think is to be said about its local scene right now?
KK: I think it’s exciting. It always kind of comes down to what your friends are doing I think. I know I’m really stoked on what all my friends are doing music wise. There’s a lot of sick bands around here right now. Even outside of the people I know personally, just in the past couple of years I’ve seen plenty of bands either play here or I’ll meet people from Indiana or the surrounding regions that are new to me and involved…it’s really cool to see it all go on so close to me. It’s awesome to see bands from Indiana tour or bands tour here and play with locals and be a part of helping put Indiana on the map musically.
MC: And it does have a collective effort here.
KK: Oh yeah, big time.
MC: How does it feel to have Hoops be active again?
KK: It feels really sick. We took that hiatus for about a year, which was really needed. We were all just going through stuff and had a lot on our plates at the time to the point where playing with Hoops was just…not viable for the time being. Stepping away from that being able to sort of refocus and grow up a little bit was really nice because now that we’ve come back to it, the stuff we’re making is so much better. We’re so much more stoked about it. That was the biggest thing – near the end of Hoops last time we were all just really burnt out. Weren’t excited to record or touring, just didn’t really have much of a vision going forward. But now that we’re deliberately putting in that effort again it feels so much better and more natural, it’s really fun…We just finished recording the new album, just finished tracking all of it and got a good portion of it mixed already. But that should be finished in the next few months or so.
MC: And where did you record?
KK: At Russian Recording in Bloomington, the same place I did both of my albums. We did it with Ben Lumsdaine again. He engineered and produced both of my albums, and played on a lot of them. Yeah, and he did the new Hoops record, but yeah, he fucking rules, he’s so good, man. Shoutout Ben Lumsdaine. If you’re in a band and want to make an album, do it with Ben if you can.
MC: We talked about it briefly before the interview, but do you feel as ready as you can be for tour?
KK: Yeah, looking ahead to a big tour is always so daunting to me because there’s a lot of information just hanging, but slowly but surely things fall into place and get organized. It kind of always happens that way if I’m smart about it. But like a month ago I was a lot more stressed about it than I am now. I still am a little bit, but it’s more motivating stress for me to get my stuff in gear. But I’m excited, I’ve been off the road for a minute. It’ll be good to see everyone I know in different states.
KK: Oh, hell yeah, I’m so stoked for that. Those guys are like, the ultimate homies. Probably the chillest people in the world.
MC: And that tour with Hovvdy went well this past fall?
KK: Oh yeah, it was awesome, those guys rock. I don’t know, touring with cool people, that’s like the coolest part of playing music to me. You get to meet people in other bands and realize “you guys are just like the people I chill out with at home.” It’s just really fun to connect and live a weird life on the road together for a couple weeks.
MC: Anything else you want to add before we close out?
KK: Listen to my music, come see me on tour and buy some merch yooo!
Be sure to stream Kevin Krauter’s new album Full Hand on February 28th via Bayonet Records and listen to the singles for the album now! You can catch Kevin on tour in a city near you this spring or summer. Follow Kevin Krauter on Instagram & Twitter.