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Interview: Kevin Rumley

Kevin Rumley shouldn’t be alive. On April 7th 2004, whilst serving in the Marines on the Syrian border, Kevin Rumley was hit by an improvised explosive device, taking the lives of his closest friends, and nearly his own. Whilst using music as a tool for healing, Kevin honours this momentous date and his subsequent recovery journey with the release of his debut EP ‘VI’ on 7th April, 20 years on. As a drummer in a number of North Carolina outfits, this psychedelic, indie-rock release is a pivotal moment in Kevin Rumley’s solo musical journey. We sit down with Kevin about his incredible debut EP and the subsequent single 'Stay Alive' released today!

How has your journey from being a Marine to a musician influenced the themes and sounds of 'VI'?

Thank you! If anything, it has become an exercise in deconstructing my values and belief systems. For years, I lived under the constructs imposed on me. The Marines capitalize on this to achieve their end. My journey has been one of deconstructing everything I know and building it back up. One with an eye toward humanity, love, connection, and healing.

What are some of the major influences that have inspired your musical style and sound?

My biggest influences are any group with soaring harmonies. I love Phosphorescent. But I have been heavily moved by hip-hop lately.

Can you elaborate on your statement that you produce "musical snapshots of feelings" rather than traditional songs?

My limitations are really what informs my music. Because I am pretty unremarkable at songwriting, I simply pursue a few chords/keys that stir me and pursue that.  Ultimately, they are less songs and more ‘feelings’ or landscapes.

How has your work as a veteran counselor and mentor influenced your music, particularly in terms of therapeutic and healing elements?

Part of deconstructing my own values and beliefs is in pursuit of being a better therapist, musician, and human. I can be a true supporter only by showing up without judgment or a preconceived notion of the experience. The same is true of how I approach music-making. By not judging my own limitations, I am open to more melodic landscapes.

How do you balance your music career with your work as a counselor and mentor?

Music is my joy. But if I don’t have balance, I will find myself making decisions based on a deficit. I want to pursue greater balance in my life. Having music be “a part” and not “everything” is empowering.

What do you hope listeners take away from the cathartic exploration of triumph over tragedy in your EP 'VI'?

I hope listeners can find a sense of comfort and uplift.

If you could create a playlist with three of your songs and three songs from your biggest influences, what would you pick?

Kevin Rumley: TEAMS, Ohiopyle, For Clifford. And….Phosphorescent: Sun’s Arising.

Link Wray: Fallin’ Rain. Gillian Welch: Dream a Highway.

When you're not making music, what do you love to do to unwind and stay inspired? Any favorite hobbies or guilty pleasures?

I love listening to true crime podcasts. They give me a great sense of gratitude for what I have and remind me of the fragility of life.  Also- love to go hiking with my partner and golden retriever, Clifford!

Looking back at your time in the gigging/music scene, what’s been the most unexpected lesson or piece of advice that’s stuck with you?

Best advice ever: “If you can count to four you can be a drummer!”

Thanks so much for sitting down with us Kevin!

Listen to Kevin Rumley on SPOTIFY | APPLE MUSIC

Find Kevin Rumley on INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK 


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