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Ked: Bleeding Into the NYC Music Scene

Written and Interviewed by Ashley Lavalle

Photography by Sophia Keefe

Creative Director, Production Manager: Mark Bluemle

Production Assistant and Videography: Jake Pranian

Creative Assistance, “Bloodwork,” Styling by Sophia Querrazzi

Heart Button Up Designed by Catalina Torres

MUA by Kindra Kirsch

PA2, BTS: Jazzi Almestia

Prop Master: Lee Mazzio

An artist who experiments with his music and style, Ked is one to look out for. While his sound varies, it always manages to consistently rip one's heart out, leaving you lying on the floor as every single emotion bleeds out. His ability to write exceptionally true songs, not only to him but to his fanbase as well, is absolutely spectacular, causing the listener to only yearn for more. If you’re someone who loves music that is both genuine and fluid, I highly recommend you take a listen to Ked’s frighteningly remarkable discography.

We caught up with the artist about his recent EP, “i’ll still be missing you.” Keep reading to find out the mystery behind Merwin's sound.

Your EP “i’ll still be missing you” just recently came out and it features a song by the same title as well as four others that you had already previously released. What was your reason for combining them all into one EP?

I hadn't really planned to make an EP, but I think when you're in a place in your life where you're experiencing a lot of intense emotions, it's just hard to stop writing. I dropped most of the songs as singles first before realizing it would be easier to just release them as a collection, especially because they're all written about the same situation.

Is there a reason that these songs are in a specific order in the EP?

Hmm. Yes and no. I don't have any exact reason other than that's the order I felt they should be listened to. I think if you're listening to all of the songs at once, that's the order that makes the most sense to me.

Do you have a favorite song on the EP? And a favorite song in general that you’ve released?

The fans have really been liking "bullshit" so far, and I love that one a lot too, but my favorite is definitely "company". It's the first one I wrote and the lyrics just flowed right out of me since I was in such a fresh state of emotion. It was the most painful to write though, but I think that's what makes me like it so much. It's very honest.

When you listen to your EP, each song seems to seamlessly transition into the next, both storywise and musically-wise. What would you, personally, describe your sound as?

This is tough! I've struggled with finding a genre title that fits. I guess the closest thing I could say is somewhere along the lines of indie-pop with indie-rock elements popping up every so often. I even dipped into a bit of jazz with "low again". I just love experimenting with genre and sound, I don't ever want to get too locked into one thing. I like to keep it fresh.

The raw honesty and emotion are incredibly apparent in your songs, especially in ‘low again’. Being able to get to a place of such comfortability that you’re able to share this piece of yourself with others within your music is so admirable. Overall, it seems to be very personal. How do you foster all of your thoughts and creativity while simultaneously ensuring you’re not stepping over your boundaries?

Thank you, that's so nice to hear. I don't really have any boundaries when it comes to songwriting. I like to think of it as taking a photograph of what my brain sounded like in the moment I wrote the song. In "low again" I was so tired of feeling so bad about myself, but also wasn't ready to feel good yet, so I wanted to find a gray area of feeling really down but being okay with it and letting myself feel that way.

Do you have a particular process at all when it comes to songwriting?

It's definitely evolved over the years. Nowadays I tend to start with poems that I write or journal entries, because then I'm not so worried about rhyming and the technicality of it all, and I can just focus on what I'm feeling. Then I take the things that feel the most authentic and I tweak them to fit into a track I've produced or a chord progression I like. Every song is different though, and I'm sure I'll continue to experiment with the way I write

Are there any musicians or bands that have inspired you and how you create your music?

Absolutely. So so many. I love the beats that Vampire Weekend makes and I love Fiona Apple's lyricism. There are a billion more musicians I could name that I've taken inspiration from, but the list would be never-ending. I definitely took a lot of inspiration from Olivia Rodrigo specifically for these songs. When it comes to breakup songs, she's a beast.

Going off of that, what songs are currently on repeat for you?

I've been really vibing with O. Rod.'s "GUTS" ever since it came out, but who hasn't? Also, I really like Jack Antonoff's production style, so I've been listening to Taylor and Lana a lot just because he produces a lot of their stuff.

Not only are you a singer and songwriter, but you also play multiple instruments (the ones I’ve seen being guitar and piano). Do you have a favorite instrument and why?

Well, I grew up in a very musical household- my dad runs an orchestra and my sister just finished her master's in composition. I was forced to take piano lessons and music theory ever since I was able to walk, so keyboards of any kind have a special place in my heart. I only started teaching myself guitar during lockdown a few years ago, and it was so hard for me to learn. But like everyone, I had a lot of time on my hands in 2020, so I practiced obsessively. I remember having terrible blisters on all of my fingers for the first few months because I hadn't built up the calluses yet.

Before we end, I have to ask- is there anything you plan to release in the future? A new EP, new songs, etc., or are you just going with the flow?

Now that I'm back at school, I don't have quite as much time on my hands, but I always find moments here and there to work on something. I have a song called ‘as a feather’ that comes out October 10th, and it’s my favorite one I've ever made, so I’m really excited for people to hear it. There's other stuff I'm working on too, but I'll keep the rest under wraps for now.

To hear more from Ked, check out both his Spotify and social media links below!

Written and Interviewed by Ashley Lavalle

Photography: Sophia Keefe

Creative Director, Production Manager: Mark Bluemle

Production Assistant, BTS, and Videography: Jake Pranian

Creative Assistance, “Bloodwork,” Styling: Sophia Querrazzi

Heart Button Up Designed by Catalina Torres

MUA by Kindra Kirsch

PA2, BTS: Jazzi Almestia

Prop Master: Lee Mazzio

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