Interview: Caleb Kopta

caleb koptaThough album releases have been a little inconsistent thus far this year, 2018 has been proving to be the strongest year for singles since this site started. Some of the best examples have come from Pennsylvania based artist Caleb Kopta and his synth tinged Americana, evoking the likes of Ryan Adams and Bear’s Den. His latest track ‘Anything’ is the kind of song that you could look back on one day as an important part of the soundtrack to the best days of your life. I had a quick chat with him about how his enthralling Americana sound came about and where it may lead him next:

Thanks for your time! You’ve just released your latest single ‘Anything’, what can you tell us about the inspiration behind the track?
Thanks for having me! This song was born during a jam session with a friend of mine on January 3rd, 2016. I remember the date because I just began a challenge on the New Year to write a song a day, and I remember ‘Anything’ being significant as soon as it started. It was the first one of the challenge to stick out to me, the challenge only lasted about 2 months. However, I wrote a lot of the songs I play live during that time. I wrote the lyrics out the next day and made a demo, it revealed itself to be a song about longing to be with someone that’s left, and hoping they’ll come back around.

With ‘Anything’, and your previous single ‘Burning House’, the production is simply immaculate. Who did you work with to help bring these songs to life?
I work with Jake Rye of Social Recording Company. He’s a friend of mine based out of Adrian, MI. I’m working with him on this upcoming project, and have just been very satisfied with our collaboration. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, so I spent a lot of time prior to the studio fleshing out demos of the songs until I find a place that feels satisfying, and I bring him what I’ve done, and for the most part we polish it. He’s got great ideas for the songs as well, so we add and subtract, and usually have a finished song within 2 days. He’s also the most incredible bassist I know, he plays bass on all the songs. He records, mixes, and sends it off to Mike Cervantes at The Foxboro to get mastered. Then they’re colourful and full of magic.

Both songs are also very hook driven, you have a real knack in that regard. When writing do you start with the hook and build around it, or start at square one and just see how the song develops?
It’s always square one for me. I write in most cases at the beginning of the song. Usually have an idea in mind, so I grab my guitar and record on my Voice Memos, and capture whatever I do, and if it sticks out to me after I turn off the recorder, then I move forward. That’s how it seems to happen in most cases. There have been other times where I’ve began demoing from the start, just deciding to make a song out of whatever comes out, and it goes the same. Sometimes its successful and sometimes it’s not. I think that for the most part I listen to music that’s got hooks, and I go after that repetition mindlessly.

If you were to capture your signature sound in a kind of mood board, what sort of images might we find on it?
Fast cars, neon lights. Leather jackets, white t-shirts, and Levis. Slicked back hair, converse shoes. I tried to capture some of that in the artwork for the singles. I love this question though, I love when a song can become visual.


From your artwork and the music video for ‘Anything’ it’s plain to see that you love classic cars. What’s your dream car?
My dream car is the Ford Freestar that I drive around. It gets me from one place to the next, and that’s all I really need. I love the look of classic muscle cars, I think they capture the vision of these songs, and thats where my fascination with them comes from. When I think about the car thats flying down the highway in these songs, its gonna be a Chevelle or a Gran Torino. Although in reality its a Ford minivan. It could be cool to have an old muscle car in the future, I guess I just haven’t dreamed about owning one yet!

 

If you had the chance to take that car on the ultimate road trip, where would you go and who would you take with you?
I take my Freestar on road trips all the time. But If I had to choose a location I could drive to in North America, I’d either like to drive the entirety of the west coastline, from San Diego to Seattle, or I would visit Banff, Canada. (I’ve been there once before and its a beautiful place.) This is such a classic answer, but I’d probably want to take my girlfriend, because she’s my best friend, and would enjoy the experience as much as I would.

Your music draws from a wide range of artists in that classic Americana sound, but if you had to name one band or artist that had the biggest impact on your music who would it be?
The Killers. I’ve heard The Killers music since they’ve been around, but never really listened to The Killers until about a year ago, summer of 2017. I’ve always heard people talk about music they’ve heard that’s changed everything for them. And I think the first band to really do that for me was The Killers. Its real rock and roll, honest songs, and electricity. Something about it just lights me on fire, I’m into it.

We’ve had a couple of fantastic singles from you this year, but can we expect an EP or album in the near future?
It’s something that could be possible. I would expect something of the sort near next summer. Thanks for taking the time to ask these questions!
Massive thanks to Caleb. His new single ‘Anything’ is out now.

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