Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to become a solo artist?
After being in a few different bands, I realized that the best thing about bands is also the worst thing about bands – PEOPLE. Lol. Music aside, getting everyone on the same page is really really difficult. It’s given me a new respect for bands like U2, who’s line up has remained unchanged for over 40 years. That said, this is what initially made me want to go solo. Now that I have been doing this on my own for some years, I miss working with people and my opinion has evolved. Nothing is perfect and the benefit of other bodies, hearts and minds outweighs the frustrations that can and will arise. I’ve realized that Music, like Love, should be made with other people. I’m giving away a bit of a secret, and I might regret revealing this, but I do plan on a starting a new collaborative project in 2023.
Introduce us to you:
My name is Judah Kim. I was born and raised in Philadelphia Pa. I was the songwriter and singer for two Indie Rock Bands. One was called Stonethrown and the other was called Judah Kim & The Assassination (JKATA). Several of my songs from Stonethrown can be heard on 90210 (2000’s era), Geordie Shore, ESPN on ABC X Games and various National / international Television shows. At one point in our career we got to work with Henry Hirsch, who produced the majority of Lenny Kravitz’s catalogue. JKATA scored some success in the Philly area with an appearance at the annual Wawa Welcome America Concert in Philly, FM radio play and a tour of some of the nation’s southern states. Nowadays I write and record my music as a solo artist at my project studio SOak Sound in Philadelphia Pa.
Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed? The basic questions like: “What comes first – music or lyrics?,” or “What kind of music do you play?” One thing I love about modern times is podcasts. I love to go deep!
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I think the most fun conspiracy theory is that rocks are actually soft, but just tense up when we touch them.
What useless party trick do you have?
I can whistle my “S”’s
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Back in 2018, on tour with JKATA, we played a club called The Springwater Supper Club in Nashville, TN. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The Black Keys made a music video there and lots of other big names have played the club. It was the last night of a tour we did. It was a great turn out and there was beautiful tacit feeling on stage with my band. We had a great show and couldn’t have asked for a better final night of tour.
What was the worst experience on stage?
It was a show in Philly circa 2010. I was so wasted. Nuff said. Hahahh
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I am one of eight children
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
BLEEP BLOP BLOOP BLOP
What makes you stand out as an Artist?
I want to grow like any independent artist but I want to share my gains with fellow musicians. The problem I see today is that we all have a voice but it’s rare that we feel heard. Anyone can put out music but getting it in front of an audience is challenging at best. The music business is like a slippery fish. It’s constantly changing and impossible to get a hold of. Musicians capitalizing off other musicians and scams have run rampant these days. This has to stop. I understand that records don’t sell and streaming income is criminally low, but the state of things has put a wedge between us. As a result, people have become too cool to share knowledge and too cool to ask for help. The inner world of the everyday musician trying to make it has become that of cynicism, jealousy and isolation. I believe the way forward is community and that it is built by sharing information freely so that we can all have a fair shot. I know 2022 is going to be my most successful year in music and when the results come to fruition I vow to help the other incredible artists in my community.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus )
The grocery store being out of my favorite Ben n Jerry’s flavor
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
There are quite a few. For me, it’s the ones that make me feel something.. My favorite kind of musical emotion is the bittersweet kind. Life is full of complications and anything that can portray that sonically gives me the tingles and the tears. This is my barometer for a good song. So, back to the question. My favorites right now are unreleased. One of them is called “This is all I ever needed,” and the other one is called “We Always Win.” Both are coming out later this year.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
It’s my reaction to the US Covid lockdown of 2020. That period of time allowed me to reflect on what really matters and I was dreaming of the day I’d get to be with my friends and family again. I hope the song delivers that glorious feeling of reuniting with an old friend written through the lens of making amends and redemption. The lyrics start with the line “After the Wreckage…” Wreckage is a word I heard a lot in recovery (AA. I’m 9+ years sober). Writing with a little dash of that perspective made it feel more authentic and relevant to my life.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
During the lockdown, I was writing a lot of songs to pass the time. I remember fiddling with chords and mumbling words over a melody I just wrote. When I hit what is now the chorus, my then-girlfriend (now fiancé), who was in the other room, reacted with a “oooo babe!” and told me how she thought I was on to something special. She’s supportive of all I write but she almost never reacts this way. So that was the motivation that helped me see the song through. Because she believed in it, I thought it’d be good to release as the first single.
What was the recording process like?
Another result of the lockdown of 2020 was an investment in recording equipment and acoustic treatment for my project studio – I call it SOak Sound. During the recording of the basic tracks, I thought I’d get someone besides myself to play the guitar solos. Afterall, the song was inspired about being together with people. Thankfully, we live in a time where musicians can record music and transfer files over the internet. I called upon my friend Dan Hanrahan. I knew he had the chops to pull off what I was looking for.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
It was probably realizing that I need other people. I’m the kind of person that feels like they have to do everything on their own. After hitting walls with mixing the song I knew something had to change. I reached out to Ron DiSilvestro of RDS Music and Media. He’s been recording and mixing incredible-sounding music for many years. With his aid I’ve been able to get songs across the finish line. I’ve learned so much from him and I’m so grateful he’s a part of my musical world.
Would you change anything now its finished?
No. Not a thing. I’m so happy with how it came out. Also. I’ve learned so much from this and the experience is priceless.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
“Right Where We Belong” is the first of 10 singles coming out this year. Expect a new song every 5-6 weeks.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?