by Drew Carey
The Shredded Beats Art & Music Festival is headed to Denver this weekend, bringing a vast array of musical artists and genres with it. Featuring names like Late Night Radio, Goldlink, Krooked Drivers, and Pretty Lights Family’s Paul Basic, it is guaranteed to be a key local music festival this summer season.
We recently got to sit down with KeepLove?, an artist who is quickly making his mark on the scene by creating what he calls “Folkstep”. Not commonly found, it is “what you get when you cross Eddie Vedder, Fleet Foxes and Steve Earle with some low-end Dubsteppy vybz” KeepLove describes. It is a sound unlike any other found in Colorado, or around the globe, and will certainly be a hit at this year’s Shredded Beats when he performs at 11pm on Saturday, on the Super Best stage at the Goosetown Tavern at 3243 E. Colfax.
With his funky tunes and interesting personality, we were thrilled to interview the musical innovator prior to his show. Hope you enjoy what he had to say.
You’re from Detroit which, in the music scene, is famous for rock, underground house, and Eminem. How did you get into producing “folkstep”?
“Well its been a long journey, but I started out as a “folk artist” before I even understood what it was, it was a way for me to express my deepest thoughts. When I first began learning guitar my dad made me take classical guitar lessons, much to my chagrin. That was the foundation of my folk playing style, learning to emulate artists like Andre Segovia.”
The Colorado scene definitely seems to fit your style. How many times have you played here? What’s your favorite part about it?
“Colorado is my second home, first because its a beautiful state and I have lots of family and friends there and secondly because its the epicenter of electronic and folk music in the US. Ive been fortunate to play some of the best venues in Colorado with my friends thru my own music and theirs. I dont know how many times I’ve played there, maybe 10 times? The people are open and want something new like #folkstep. I have yet to play a show in Colorado that isnt fun and engaging with the people. My favorite part about it is the majesty of the mountains, its hard not to feel small when your up in the middle of them looking down on the city. The air is clear and crisp and a mountain is not something easily altered by man. We like to think were in control, its nice to be reminded im not sometimes.”
Is that your voice on most of the vocals in your music?
“Any male voice heard on my music is me (unless its an emcee), they are all original recordings and production, nothing is sampled from another song. I sometimes pitch my voice up for effect but if you hear a voice that sounds like a woman its more than likely a woman.”
Do you ever play just good ol’ folk, without the step?
“I grew up playing folk music and when im just hangin out by myself jammin its usually what I resort to. I will in fact be playing a completely folk tune during my next set at shredded beats festival, which I havent really done in a few years. Its the full version of the song Sweet Remorse I did with Michal Menert, Paul Basic and C1.”
You seem to be pioneering a genre, subgenre, or whatever you’d like to call it, with your brand of “folkstep”. What advice do you have for any producers out there trying to carve out their own sound in a genre that is still blossoming?
“My advice is dont take anybodys advice, just be yourself, do you. If you dig what your making who really cares what anyone else thinks. But dont take that advice either cause then you would be taking my advice……”
Who are you most excited to see perform at Shredded Beats?
“Im pretty stoked to see my homies Late Night Radio, MuxMool, Grim And Darling, Willdabeast(aka Lighterman) KrookedDrivers, I may as well list off the whole lineup, im just hoping our sets don’t overlap. The Super Best Records stage is going to be pretty swell the whole time so id advise not missing it, but I will be on it at 11 on Saturday night!”
With everything that KeepLove has planned for this upcoming weekend we are more than ready for what is bound to be an unforgettable set that will highlight his revolutionary style! Be sure to check out his show on Saturday night at 9pm in Goose Town Tavern and listen to some of his latest tracks below!