It’s me, the operator with my pocket calculator. I’ve got a new project to tell you about: I’ve started making music again, and have an EP Available, as well as a few singles.
You can find me as “kamuter” on your favorite music-streaming services, and the EP is called “espionage”. I even made a website for the project: kamuter.world
So how did I get here?
I’ve never called myself a musician, although I’ve been playing instruments since I was about ten years old. I played trumpet for five years, including two years as first chair in both concert and jazz band. I even competed as a musician during those years, and did pretty well. Back then, I imagined becoming a processional jazz musician, but then we moved states. My trumpet (cornet, actually) was packed in a box, never to be seen for the next two years because we lived in a temporary home, and my cornet could not be found. When we finally uncovered it, I was not enrolled in band, and I had newly installed braces on my teeth. So I gave all my attention to photography.
When I was 18, I was gifted an acoustic guitar. I was not great at guitar, but I played for hours a day. I found comfort in the creative process of music even then. And singing, which I’m also not great at, feels good. I made up songs constantly, although there is no record of any of them.
Five years later, I was living in Rhode Island with Julia. We were newlyweds in art school, and music was a huge part of my life. I was playing guitar a lot, as well co-hosting an open mic night at RISD where I would bring spoken word and samples on my Dr. Sample 404 every Wednesday and improvise with a friend on drums and a friend on bass. We were the house band for two years, and I would come prepared each week with a set of songs for us to play to fill time. I gave us the name The Mantis Ensemble.
Later, after Julia and I moved to North Carolina, I was releasing music as The Mantis Ensemble on Vimeo and MySpace, but it was all me singing with my old Silvertone guitar. Kinda folk/blues/spirituals inspired music of Appalachia. I still wanted to make samples and do spoken word, but this was the music I guess I needed to make at the time.
When we moved to Brooklyn, I had neither time nor space to really work on music. I still have the guitar, but rarely play. And really, I’ve been wanting to make electronic music since forever. So here I am, kamuter.
The EP developed somewhat suddenly. We visited a friend in Connecticut over Labor Day weekend, and I was showing his nine year old son the iOS app Auxy. He made an amazing dance track on my phone that he called Pooper Scooper. It was amazing. And I have been obsessed with the app ever since.
I started making musical sketches on my commute to and from work, sharing them occasionally with a few friends. At one point, a couple of them asked if I had considered actually finishing them as songs. I resisted. “I’m not an electronic musician” I said to myself. What right do I have making songs on my phone?
When I reconsidered, something changed in me. A name for the project came, then a visual language. Names of tracks. Finished arrangements. Excitement. I decided to take it seriously, but not be precious. For most of my life, I have made music, but never really got it to a place to share, even though I’ve wanted to for a very long time. So I’m doing it now. (Thanks, Chompies.)
Giving myself permission to be creative has been an ongoing journey since I was a teenager. My creative side was mostly discouraged at home growing up, but I have been fortunate to have creative friends in my life who have brought me along — most supportive of which is my loving wife, Julia.
In the new year, I plan to roll out all my instruments and my microphone, install some music software, and get to experimenting even more.
In the meantime, I hope you give it a listen. You can also follow kamuter on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Instagram.
Thanks for listening.
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