Kevin Koivisto sits down with Luke Sharkey to discuss his new album The Rain, killing your darlings and the worst fate for a musician.
THERE is something awfully surreal about a quiet UCD. Maybe it’s because people are still recovering from their nocturnal bank holiday adventures or maybe the first day of reading week has been universally decided upon as a duvet-day. Either way, the silence and the dull sky makes me feel slightly on edge and I’m delighted to have the company of Kevin Koivisto as we sit beside the secret lake. Koivisto is a Finnish native, moving to Dublin to study English and Music in UCD. He has just released his debut album The Rain independently and we begin our conversation on the virtues and vices of going the independent route.
“For me, the album is representative of the time and place where I wrote it”
“I feel like creative control is a blessing and a curse. I just felt like if I had approached a label with [the album] they would have said, ‘let’s re-record it, maybe cut some of it down.’ For me, the album is representative of the time and place where I wrote it,” he muses. So how does Koivisto stay critical of his own work in the absence of a label representative in his ear? “There’s this old art rule called killing your darlings,” he explains. “When you have something you really love and something tells you to get rid of it, you’ve become too involved with the piece.”
As brutal as this rule may be, Koivisto has clearly used it to excellent effect on The Rain. The double disc format is ambitious for even the most experienced song-writer, but every song on the album feels like it has earned its place. Koivisto develops a relationship with the listener throughout the album and you feel like you have arrived somewhere upon completion. This is helped in no small part by the conceptual nature of the release. “The album is conceptual, or quasi-conceptual,” Koivisto admits. “The idea of the rain is present in most of the tracks. It’s kind of an allegory.”
So where did the influences for the album come from? Koivisto breaks into a wry smile. “The big B, the Beatles.’ Then a lot of what’s maybe called dad-rock, ‘60s and ‘70s stuff.”
Upon his arrival in Ireland, Koivisto was surprised to hear some of his favourite modern bands on the radio. “I hear bands like The Black Keys on the radio, these people are playing songs off my playlist. It makes me think people here would really like my music.”
“I hear bands like The Black Keys on the radio, these people are playing songs off my playlist. It makes me think people here would really like my music.”
Koivisto reveals he has plans to start performing the album live around the city, though he wants to capture his audience’s attention thoroughly when he does. “I think the worst fate for a musician is to become background noise, performing the role of the tape.”
Somehow, I have little doubt he will do just fine in Dublin City.
The Rain is out now on Spotify