Alternative Pop Rock band Radio Drive has been making quite the splash lately. As the engine behind Radio Drive, Kevin Gullickson has won international awards and nominations for his songs and music videos. Today Kevin discussed with us his collaboration with well known producer Stuart Epps on his latest single, his most memorable performance, and his plans for an upcoming tour.
Kevin is from St. Paul, Minnesota, and his journey into music began when he started playing drums at the age of 7. One year later, he got together with a friend from school and they began to write songs. In his teen years, he continued to write original songs and would play in local bands. It was after graduating from high school that he decided on making a career in the music industry.
“I just want to connect with people through music,” Kevin said. “I see music as a bridge connecting the songwriter and the listener.”
Currently, Kevin has released five albums, one EP and two singles since 2009. The music of Radio Drive has been aired on radio around the world, landing on charts on indie stations in Canada, Germany, the UK and the South Pacific. In addition, his music has been used on shows airing on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel in the United States and TV programs in England, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia.
Kevin’s latest release is a single called “Humanity” that was originally released on the Radio Drive “I Can See the World From Here” album. The song caught the attention of well known producer Stuart Epps, who has worked in the past with George Harrison, Bill Wyman, Jimmy Page, Elton John, Oasis and more.
Kevin said, “I was thrilled when he contacted me and wanted to produce my song ‘Humanity.’ I recorded all the parts myself at my home studio then uploaded the files to Dropbox. Stuart downloaded them and worked his production magic.”
One of the things that Epps liked about the song was its theme, which was about people coming together as one family and not letting our differences divide us.
“All you need is love,” Kevin said. “It’s a message that’s so relevant today, what with all the tension in the world.”
Kevin’s musical influences range from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2 and Coldplay, but one of the challenges he faces when coming up with new ideas is being original and creating a fresh new sound. He said he wants to follow the familiar structure of intro-verse-chorus but without sounding like other bands.
“Another challenge is finding the right sound for the instruments,” Kevin said. “I work a lot with MIDI. I have a huge sound library and it can take hours finding the right sound. I’m glad to have all the sounds, which is great, although the sound of an instrument can really make a song. I go to great lengths finding the right sounds.”
Apart from recording music, Kevin has a passion for performing it live. He put a band together last fall that has been playing in local clubs. They played intensely the first part of this year and then took the summer off. The band has been rehearsing in September with some planned gigs on calendar for October and November.
“I’m working with my management company Artista Group, putting together a tour,” Kevin said. “They’ve had their sights on a European tour, which would be incredible.”
Kevin said in May of this year, he played a show in St. Paul that was so great that it has become his most memorable show to date.
“It was one of those nights where the music just clicked,” Kevin said. “The band was so in synch. Some of our songs we go off on solos and ad lib. When we did that night, those moments were golden. We were playing like never before. It was happening and the audience loved it.”
Things have been looking up for Kevin recently. In 2014, Kevin’s music video for “New Direction” was added to Bongo Boy TV’s “The Bongo Boy Rock n’ Roll TV Show” that features indie music videos and airs on 20 syndicated channels across the United States including several NBC Comcast stations. Later that year, his video for “A Taste of Heaven” was also picked up on the same show. Also in 2014, Beat100 awarded “A Taste of Heaven” two Bronze Awards for music and video production.
Over the years, Kevin has lived in Los Angeles, New York City now resides in St Paul and remains active in the local music scene. He plays at clubs both as a solo artist and with his band. To learn more about Kevin Gullinker and Radio Drive, be sure to check out his website at http://www.radio-drive.com/index.htm and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.