Sometimes, you have to step out of the everydayness of your life in order to make sense of it. This is the concept that Aaron Krause’s music has at heart. It transports you. It makes a sublime landscape out of the contours of the heart. His music has the ability to take us outside of ourselves. It beckons us to entertain new ways of seeing.
His new album, Holding on to Love, is a drifting and wandering exploration of the most inward parts of the soul. With spacious instrumentation, and a voice to match, Krause manages to capture the wonder and anticipation of things as simple as a summer night, or as complex as universal connectedness. His music takes us by the hand to places we know and offers us the chance to experience them anew.
NYMM: Where did this album come from, and how does it compare to your previous EP?
AR: For my previous EP, I had a few songs that I started when I was in high school, but hadn’t finished. I was in college and decided to see what it would be like to put them out myself, without going through all the hoops and money of recording them with a band. I did the recording myself in my dorm room. I wouldn’t say that the result sounded great, but I’d say that it’s endearing and listenable [laughs]. I still sell them. I’m not ashamed of them.
That EP led me into doing production work for other people. As I got more experience, I decided that the next time I did one of my own projects, I would produce it myself. I wanted to spend a ton of time on it, to get it right. I wanted time to figure out what sort of record to put out, so that I wouldn’t put it out and then three months later feel like I wished I could change it.
NYMM: I understand you did most of this album yourself as well. Was anyone else involved?
AR: A few. There was another keyboard player who did about 60% of the keys on the album. He plays for Robbie Seay, an artist from Texas. I grew up listening to Robbie Seay. I love his records, he’s such an inspiring artist, and I always loved his keys player. I got in touch with him when I was making the album, and it turns out that he does session work, so we ended up working together. The album wouldn’t be what it is without him.
NYMM: What makes you want to work through all the songs start-to-finish like that?
AR: I love working with all the different layers of a song. I like to be able to see a song completely through and not be dependent on someone else, just hoping that they understand what I want.
NYMM: Tell me about one of the songs.
AR: One of the last songs I wrote was “I Don’t Want to Lose You”. I think most songwriters, myself included, tend to have these one or two themes that we always come back to. We have these few things we are trying to express through songs, and no song expresses it perfectly. So we come around these one or two things from different angles and in different ways. I feel like that song really captured one of those more deeply than any other song I have. It’s about having a feeling of inspiration well up inside you – maybe you would call it happiness or joy or love – and not wanting it to go away. It’s a lament about losing that feeling of wholeness. Some of the songs on the album find a home in that sense of contentment and wholeness, and some find their home in the lack thereof.
NYMM: Does the album circle around that idea?
AR: It is hard to classify the record, genre-wise, but I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of all the things I feel. When we were trying to explain it, word “transcendent” popped up a lot. I think that’s a lot of how I use music. It’s how I rise above my self-imposed mundane crap that I get bogged down in every day. Even on a spiritual level, I’m trying to find something more beautiful to be a part of.
NYMM: What do you do when you have trouble being inspired?
AR: A lot of times I just go to bed [laughs]. I’ve been learning that that’s a good discipline. If something isn’t clicking in my head, I try to stay away and fix it, when what I really need to do is go to sleep.
Images by Jon Karr
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