I think the one thing that really changed me was taking ownership of my career. Now that I’m back in the game musically, I think this is some of my best work yet. I’ve really focused on making my songs excellent in every way possible. I love creating each instrumental part. Each one is so unique.
Live Interview Thursday May 30 at 8 pm et:
Episode #593: A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax
Interview by Jacqueline Jax
host of A.V.A Live Radio
Band Name: Radio Drive
Person Interviewing: Kevin Gullickson
Song name: Sweet Thing
Music Genre: Alternative Pop Rock
The song is about my wife. Yet another song to express my love and appreciation for her. My music is a lot of things – influences from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2 and Coldplay. It’s optimistic and encouraging. It can be heavy and deep and yet light and inviting all at the same time.
How do you think this release represents your current direction: This release represents so much to me. First of all, I’ve released a full CD – the first full CD in almost 6 years. It’s my fifth full CD release. I’ve released a best of CD and two singles over the last 6 years, but not an entirely new CD. I was in a bit of a slump for the last few years and needed to pull myself together and get back on track. My brother had passed away, which was devastated me.
Plus there was planning for a big European tour with my band that seemed to fizzle out. So much going on that took me out of the game. I had to step back and withdraw from everything to get regain my perspective. So this CD represents me getting back in the game. It represents my persistence, diligence and fortitude to keep on writing, recording and releasing music.
Musically, I think this is some of my best work yet. I’ve really focused on making my songs excellent in every way possible. I think – at least I hope – I’ve achieved that with the resources that I have available to me.
I love creating each instrumental part.
The Process of Creating Music…
I’m fortunate to have a home studio. So I do all my work there. I’ve learned to play all the instruments over the years, so I play all the parts on my CDs: Guitar, lead guitar, acoustic, bass guitar and keys. I will admit, the drums are midi – but, I did play drums for over 10 years in my teens. So I can play. I just don’t have the room for a big kit. I still think like a drummer, so when I’m creating the drum parts I hear it in my head first, then create the part.
I have a huge sound library for the keyboard midi parts and drum midi parts. I’ve got thousands of sounds and instruments. Sometimes I spend hours just looking for that right keyboard sound.
I usually start my process by laying down a scratch track with an acoustic guitar and vocal. Then I start adding the rhythm parts (bass guitar, rhythm guitar and drums). Then I begin laying more guitars and keyboard parts.
I love creating each instrumental part. Each one is so unique: The bass guitar – something that’s moving, melodic and yet laying down the groove. The keyboard parts – especially string arrangements. I love classical music and love songs that incorporate great string arrangements, like ColdPlay’s music – and The Beatles, like Abby Road and Sgt Pepper.
Then the lead guitar – I love playing leads. Then vocals, and finally harmonies. I spent quite a lot of time on harmonies.
Once I’m finished with all the recording, then I do the mixing. I went to a recording school several years ago and have kept up (as best I can) with mixing. I’ve got some fantastic softare – iZotope – which is incredible. I’ll mix it into the ball park – mixing down to stems, then I send out for the final mastering.
This last CD I was thrilled to work with a Producer in NYC, Robert L. Smith. He’s worked with some of my favorite artists like Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Aerosmith and so many more.
How do you stay focused and balance creating with life..
Good question. I do have a day job, 9-5p. So it can be challenging. I write songs all the time, but I mainly do the recording in the winter. I live in Minnesota where we have long cold winters. So I’ll hibernate over the winter and record. I’ll spend the evenings and literally all weekend recording. Whereas in the summer, I like to get outside. There’s yard work to do and everyone seems to have picnics, weddings, parties in the summer. So I’m busy with that.
Sometimes I don’t feel like recording or writing. Since I do most everything, on those nights when I’m too tired to create, I’ll edit or look for a keyboard sound from my huge sound library. Something like that doesn’t take much energy, whereas creating something, I feel I need to be focused and more alert.
There is so much. I think the one thing that really changed me was taking ownership of my career. For years I had been looking to other people to do everything for me. That can lead to a very unhealthy situation. For example, a person can get real desperate and make bad decisions and get hooked up with a devious shark that takes advantage of you. Sadly, I’ve been there.
“When I realized that it was up to me to make things happen and I took responsibility, things changed drastically for me.”
I live in…
Lakeville, MN which is part of the Minneapolis / St Paul area. As everyone knows, Prince was from here. So the music scene is huge. One of the most well known clubs – First Avenue – is here. I’ve played there several times. There are so many local bands, and so many bands passing through here, playing the clubs. It’s amazing. Plus, some great radio stations that help promote local artists.
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