RemK arrives at the final destination of his ‘On The Coast!’ road trip with debut EP [Interview]

RemK‘s On The Coast! road trip has finally reached its end. After fixing up an old RV, gathering hours of video footage, and spending countless days in the studio, all roads lead to one place: his debut EP. The Lowly.-backed On The Coast! EP is a seven-track triumph in trap and bass that continues to push forward the native-Southern Californian’s unique sound that helped earn him a nod as one of Dancing Astronaut‘s Artists to Watch in 2022. RemK sat down to talk about the inspiration, meaning, and creative process behind it all.The On The Coast! journey unofficially started back in 2020. “When the pandemic induced lockdowns first hit, that was when I was working on music the most and really trying to experiment and find what kind of music I wanted to push,” says RemK. “I just started writing music and starting new ideas basically every night. Then I eventually got down to these seven songs that felt the most special to me and it stuck.”Those seven songs became the compelling fabric of On The Coast!’s sonic DNA. The tracklist includes three previously released singles “Your Vibe,” “Daydreaming!” and “Take Your Time,” each of which gives fans a proper taste as to what to expect from the full body of work. But they don’t tell the whole story according to RemK. “I want people to be able to hear these songs in full together. It’s exciting for me because it gives people a body of work to associate with my name,” he discloses.And the story goes well beyond the EP itself. His attention to detail around the branding of the EP and his RemK project as a whole are essential to understanding the sonic tale he’s telling. The actual On The Coast! name dates back to a set he performed during Boombox Cartel‘s Cinco Mode livestream event in May of 2021 that showed off many of the tracks on the EP over a year and a half before their eventual release. “I went into that set and said all right fuck it, I’m gonna try to do an all-original mix and make it an ID showcase.” That set spurred a wave of momentum that he took with him throughout the process of putting the actual EP together.After that, the idea for what On The Coast! really was began to take shape for RemK, who says he uses Pinterest a lot to help him with his branding. “I remember I saw this old retro-styled map of California and thought, wait a sec, that’s sick. What if I could turn my music into something like this.” And so he did.After the vision for the branding behind the EP came to life, the next challenge was to back it with visual assets to build a world that fit the bill. “I spent the first few months of 2022 restoring this old RV my family bought a few years ago. The engine worked and everything, but the inside was pretty messed up,” he says. After, getting the “Rem-mobile” in working order, it was time for he and his crew to head out on their road trip.The trip was quite literally a sweep across the coast of California, with stops ranging from his hometown of Long Beach to the state capital of Sacramento and back. Along for the ride were RemK’s closest friends in music and in life including his fellow San Diego Waterboys Aleko, FrostTop, ISOxo, and Knock2 as well as friends Alex Baez, Riley Kubota, and of course, Jack Henry, whom he calls his “right-hand man” behind the project. “The trip was amazing,” reflects RemK. “A lot of the time we hang out it’s music related, you know going to shows, making music… but this was a situation where we just got to hang out and be boys and experience life a little bit. It was definitely a good bonding moment.”The road trip spanned far and wide, hitting California landmarks like Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Pier, Big Sur, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles before getting back into his hometown of Long Beach. They spent their time seeing the sights, hitting local skate parks, and simply enjoying life. When asked to elaborate on one of the highlights of the trip, he shares, “There was a part where we stopped in Big Sur and and we found this tiny river and we all jumped in. It was just another fun moment of the trip where we just got to enjoy ourselves without life’s stresses.”The visual assets that came from their road trip up the coast have been teased on RemK’s socials throughout the rollout to his EP’s eventual release. He even has a running series on YouTube documenting the trip through both their adventures and through his music. Building a brand behind an artist and their alias is something that some spend years chasing, and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars more before getting there. But with RemK’s creative and unique approach to his music, he’s managed to create an entire world for his music and his listeners to live in without having to break the bank.For as impressive as his ability to brand the project is, it would be nothing without the music itself. “I’ve always wanted to make music that a wide audience can enjoy,” says RemK. “I want to make music that you can chill out to in the car or at the beach, but also that’s hard and aggressive enough where you can play it out at shows.” And with this EP, he breathes life into this notion of great music’s ability to become as amorphous as we need it to be. Past tracks like “R U READY!” definitely assimilate into the realm of big festival tracks made for a live setting. But On The Coast! features a more atmospheric and melodic tone throughout much of the EP and is complemented at times with those massive drops that make fans want to white knuckle the rail.Many of the tracks on the EP were inspired from the artists he grew up listening to in high school like Boombox Cartel, QUIX, and Ekali to name a few. “Honestly a lot of the EP comes from me just experimenting with my sound, I was certainly influenced by those artists but made a conscious effort to make something unique to myself.”As far as what his favorite track is off the EP, he says it’s tough to pick just one, but that “Together4ever” is the oldest one. “That one in particular feels very special to me. I made that song when I was living in San Diego and every time I hear it now it takes me back to that moment when I first started making music and was super pumped on really finding my sound,” he says. “Together4ever” is the perfect embodiment of the microcosm of the sound he’s cultivated over the years. Beautiful melodic builds that make the listener feel deeply emotional into gritty neck-breaking drops that will get any crowd going in a live setting.“I probably made over 40 tracks,” he divulges. “My favorite part of making music is trying to start new ideas so there’s a lot of stuff on my hard drive I just don’t finish. But I felt like these ideas, these songs that made it on the EP are my best work. Once the songs were made, then I like made all the transitions and everything to make the story and made it more cohesive to listen to.”Now that the full project is out RemK admits the feeling is “rewarding and a huge weight off my shoulders.” He says he “can begin to stop thinking about it so much and just let it breathe in the world and allow other people to interpret it in their own way.”So grab some sunglasses, throw on your best beach attire and take a trip On The Coast! into RemK’s frenetic, ever-on-the-move musical world. Listen to RemK’s debut EP, out now via Lowly., in full below.Featured image: Ana WigmoreTags: , , , , , , , , ,
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