RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW BERLIN ARTIST KATIE DRIVES
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I grew up on classical music, learning piano and singing in a children’s choir. I always been fascinated by popular music and noticed as a young teenager that I really like to sing and that it doesn’t sound too bad. I guess then I was hooked on listening to a lot of music and becoming a musician myself. I also work in the music industry so I have the best knowledge of music marketing which makes me ambitious to implement it into practice as well as possible.
Introduce us to your project and your musical history.
Katie drives is a solo pop-rock project I’m working on together my producer Ole Kuhlmann. We arrange the songs together, I write the lyrics and he plays bass and guitar and does the mixing and mastering. We started in 2020 and I released my first songs in 2021. About the history: After I quit with piano and choirs I used to sing covers in different loose constellations. I was hoping to found my own band but it never happened so I realised – if I want to have a music project, I have to just start it on my own.
The music industry is one of the hardest industries in the world to progress in, how do you feel you are doing?
I guess for a bloody newcomer I’m doing quite well. Nothing blew up yet but I trust the process and work hard in my free time. I’m not living on my music so I don’t feel too much pressure.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
The first songs I released also were the first songs I ever seriously wrote. For these songs, I asked for help from a friend with way more experience in writing. Now I already feel much safer in writing and also enjoy it a lot.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
I never had any negative experiences ever. All the men I worked with and met at gigs were kind and respectful. I guess I’m lucky here. Generally speaking, everybody needs to be taken seriously, in their work, their creative existence, and as a person. No matter concerning a man, woman, non-binary, young or old person, professional or newcomer. Also, everybody can dress and behave e.g. on stage however they what without getting sexualized and getting treated in an inappropriate way.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Definitely on TikTok. I’m still a very small creator there without any huge attention, I never made it to trigger the algorithm properly as it seems. But even a few movements got mirrored in more user-generated playlists on Spotify and more Streams. Instagram is only useful to reach out to your existing audience nowadays and even that doesn’t work really well any more thanks to the changing algorithm. I can only advise being as active and creative as possible on TikTok.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
I see Spotify critically as it’s super hard for small musicians to gain any amount of money there. But in my opinion, it brings more advantages than disadvantages as it gives small artists a stage and incredibly more people get to listen to their music possible without Spotify. Also, Vinyl and the wish for a live experience still does exist and always will. As a user, it offers such great value as you are able to access an immense catalogue of songs from all over the world.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
Absolutely not. I am very careful about Covid-19 because I want to protect my parents. I get angry and anxious being surrounded by people who don’t care about any infection risks.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
I remember I started shopping for a few more clothing pieces online but I actually don’t regret any of them.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I had one cover gig where several band members were stoned and couldn’t hold the rhythm. We also didn’t practice enough together so we really sounded bad which made most of the audience disappear. But also the whole event wasn’t organized favorably for us as they basically forgot us and the DJ just started his set. After our reminder, he had to take a break, with a 1 ½ hour delay we got on stage so the audience who just wanted to dance and the party wasn’t very motivated to listen. The organizer then came to us during our show to tell us to come to an end fast so the party can go on. Luckily I didn’t know a lot of people there but still, it was very embarrassing.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
My new single “Next To You“ is out now since December 2nd and it appeared together with my first ever music video – directed, filmed, and produced by Geraldine Hutt and Juliette Lejeune, two women from Berlin. The song is about feeling bad next to a person who might be prettier, smarter, more talented, more successful, and more popular. It’s about self-doubts, envy, admiration, and all the feelings that come along with comparison. It’s quite a pop sound mixing rock with electronic dance elements. “Next To You“ is the second single off an upcoming EP that will be released in the first quarter of 2023.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
When arranging the songs I always work with sound references from the beginning on. I consume a lot of music so I catch a lot of ideas for my own stuff doing so. I love mixing 2000s elements with a few modern influences from different genres and in the end, it always turns out as pop rock. I collect all my ideas for lyrics on my phone, sometimes in a little book. Then I try to get them together and structure them into proper songs. I always rely on my personal feelings, thoughts and opinions so most of the songs talk about rather serious and burdensome topics.
What was the recording process like?
I worked on fully produced demos together with Ole, then I went to the studio KlangRekorder in Berlin and recorded together with Matze Kuhlmann (no, they are no relatives). All in all, it took quite a long period of time because we all have full-time jobs.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Thank you so much to everyone who is listening! I’m happy you are part of my journey and it’s just the start.