Progressive Rock Prodigy Gavin Kennedy discusses current album, “Sunchaser”
19-year-old Gavin Kennedy has been hard at work on his current album “Sunchaser,” a fully instrumental progressive rock journey. The incredibly talented guitarist sat down with MiLLENNiAL to discuss his inspiration behind the music and what is next for him.
Tell us about Sunchaser and the inspiration behind the album?
Sunchaser initially started out as demos that never had the intention of becoming a finished album. When I was just beginning to develop my songwriting and production skills, so much of the material was created for the sake of having something to record and practice. I think that that was a very big blessing in disguise, to not have any pressure during the creative process, but most importantly to let things grow naturally and without any stress. In the big picture, I think that contributed so much, and I’m very glad we were able to keep that same relaxed state of mind throughout the entire recording process.
You have such a unique sound–who influences you? How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Thank you for the kind words! One thing that’s very special about the progressive music genre is the sheer size of amazing talent that you can find within it. There have been so many bands to influence me, but a few of the very big ones are Dream Theater, Periphery, Opeth, Tesseract, Meshuggah, Karnivool, and so many more. When it comes to sounds I try to go for, I usually like keeping a fun and lighthearted feel to things since, especially with the rock and metal aesthetic, things can get very serious very quickly. One thing that I’ve always loved about music is its capability to reach certain emotions that can’t have words put to them, and it’s always a great feeling whenever you find those moments in your writing. Gavin Kennedy
Can you describe how the artwork of Sunchaser connects to your music?
We were extremely lucky to have Dan Mumford create the artwork for Sunchaser! The entire process was incredibly easy and intuitive, and we wanted to give him as much creative license as possible knowing how amazing the rest of his portfolio is. Dan’s first draft was so awesome that we really didn’t even have a revision process, and from the moment the artwork was incepted, it felt like such a natural visual interpretation of the music. To me, it really embodies the sense of adventure and discovery that reflect on some of the best elements the album has to offer.
Describe your writing process.
My writing process tends to look very different from song to song, and that’s become something I’ve actually embraced. For instance, I wrote the theme of Yellowtail with all the instruments at once, but after the second repetition of the main melody, I wrote the whole rest of the song with the drum part only and then flushed it out with the other instruments later. In contrast, the first half of Doozy was written entirely on my laptop with synthesizers before adding the rest of the instruments. I think it’s very cool to change the process of writing because it is certain to give you a different result. Gavin Kennedy
What has been the most rewarding part of your musical journey thus far?
Being able to work with heroes of mine like Nolly and Mike Malyan were truly a dream come true, and to have their passion invested in this project is something that I never thought I would be able to say is a reality. Not only having their support, but having the overwhelming positive feedback of the people who have heard the project has been such a blessing. I have met so many amazing people throughout this entire experience, and I’m incredibly blessed to have become friends with each and every one of them.
What’s next for you? Gavin Kennedy
As of right now, we are excited that Sunchaser is growing into its potential, and in the meantime, I’ve been able to begin developing material for the next release. I’m really happy to see how everything present and future is shaping up, and I’m super excited to share more with you all!
JR Dominguez is a technology and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him in the studio producing music as Signal Froyd.