Driven by a passion for music that was established from childhood and a desire to create meaningful songs California ambient/alternative rock group Dear Kora have entered the spotlight with their debut single, "Sunflower." Although the track is about running away to pursue what makes you happy - something this trio has a lot of experience with - it is left open to interpretation, to mean something different for each listener. With "Sunflower" out now, Dear Kora already have plans to hit the studio once more this April, and with California tour dates in the works for May, this summer promises to be a great one for this young band.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Dear Kora for any readers who might not be familiar?
Sean Baker [drums]: We’re an ambient, alternative rock band.
Avery Robitaille [vocals]: We sing sad songs.
Kevin Holm [guitar]: Because sad songs make us happy.
When did you first become involved in music? Who or what was it that first really inspired you?
Avery: I started writing when I was like five years old. I listened to mainly Evanescence, U2, and Casting Crowns, which helped inspire how I like to write in metaphors and make things very real and raw.
Sean: My dad was a musician and he inspired me since I was a kid to appreciate musical expression and feeling, mostly through blues and classic rock records.
Kevin: I started playing when I was in 5th grade. All my elementary school friends were getting electric guitars and I didn't want to feel left out, so my parents bought me one. Out of all my childhood friends, I was the only one who continued to play guitar. When I was in college, I was on my way to become a doctor. During my last year of college, I questioned my career choice. I asked myself why I was working so hard for something I didn't want. I realized that all I wanted to do was play music, and I wanted to work as hard on music as I did with my academics.
How you feel that your upbringing and hometown have affected the kind of music that you write today?
Sean: From the time when I started playing music, to what I’m doing today, I’ve just been realizing how important it is to create music that has meaning. Yeah it’s super easy to make a song that sounds good and that is fun to jam to, but creating music that has depth and just pure emotion dripping out of it really just is the definition of what we are doing now in Dear Kora.
Kevin: Growing up, I would always listened to what my older brother would listen to. He would listen to metal, punk, or hardcore, so I would do the same. As I got older, I started to listen to more pop and alternative music. I began studying jazz a few years ago, which helped me with theory and chord extensions. I have a jazz playing style and my songwriting reflects the music that I grew up listening to.
Avery: The fact that I was brought up in the middle of so many different cultures, I think and dream and feel in two different languages (Indonesian and English). Growing up I was given the freedom to feel my emotions so freely and rawly, all the sadness, pain, happiness, love, joy. That paved the way into how I deal with my emotions today, which is through the music I write.
As a fairly young group, how did Dear Kora first come together? How did you know that you wanted to write music together?
Kevin: The Tuesday night open mic at The Night Owl in Fullerton!! We decided to all jam together one day, and it was just like yes okay we are definitely supposed to be playing music together.
Sean: We all just felt so comfortable with each other right away, and it just felt right.
You guys just released your debut single, “Sunflower” last month! I know that this song has a very significant meaning to you, but it’s also very open to interpretation for listeners. What is the story behind the track?
Avery: I wrote it with the intention that it could mean something different to each listener. But I wrote it in a state of transition, letting go of everything so that you can fully pursue whatever you want in life. Our culture is so focused on the immediate, what is right in front of us now, that we sometimes lose sight of the future. We need to act now in order to obtain what we strive to attain for our futures.
What would you like listeners to take away from “Sunflower?”
Avery: Nothing specific, they’ll take from the song whatever it means to them, and that’s going to be different for every person. And I like that about Sunflower, it’s one of the few songs I have that could be about a million different things.
It being your debut single, did you have any major goals for the song or any others that follow it?
Avery: We’re playing the Troubadour next Tuesday, and that has been on my bucket list for about 5 years now. So the fact that we get to do that almost exactly a month after releasing Sunflower, I guess you could say that was a big goal, and it’s coming true!!!
With “Sunflower” out now, do you have any plans to release some more music soon?
Sean: We’re set on getting back into the studio in April! We have so many songs, we just want people to be able to hear them as soon as possible.
What does the future hold for Dear Kora? Do you have any other big plans for 2017?
Kevin: We’ve a little California tour with Sink In! and Hideouts in the middle of May!! We don’t have all the details yet, but it’s something we are really looking forward too.
Sean: Yeah! And we’re gonna record another single within the next month or two.
Avery: Well, yeah. I already dyed my hair 4 times in the past 2 days, so, we’ve big dreams and we’ll keep you updated them as they become solidified ;)
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
For sure!! Yeah we’re currently trying to raise more funds for recording, so if you’d like to invest in our band, you can check out https://www.investperdiem.com/dearkora
We’d appreciate it so much!