L.A. Native Kevin Litrow Transforms an Everyday Ritual Into an Album
At the crossroads of an intersection deep in the heart of Venice Beach, California, Kevin Litrow lived above a Chevron gas station.
For four years, the would-be musician of Litronix acted as a fly on the wall, watching people come and go. “Some people are local, most are not,” Litrow said of those who became transient and unknowing participants of his life’s observations. “Some are travelers, some are sex workers, some are drug dealers, drinkers, homeless, supermodels, actors, tweekers, surfers, professionals, and some are survivors. The gas station is always moving. Except for me. I stay still. I live here. I watch the never-ending movie and take notes, and this album is what I came up with.”
His album, Pump the Gas, was the brainchild of his gas-station-note-taking. While some may take it for granted, Litrow transformed this mindless everyday ritual into art.
Watch the music video for “Litronix,” a single from his album, here on Flaunt. Then, check out his Q&A below.
What artists would you consider to be your inspirations?
Steve Reich, Eno, Francis Bebey, Archie Shepp, Herbie Hancock, Terry Riley, Broadcast, Fennesz, Mice Parade just to name a few. As for film, I love Robert Altman. And as for life in general, my martial arts teacher Master Kim who I started training with when I was 12. He taught me everything: concentration, balance, meditation, energy movement, discipline, and flow. He was Korean and he loved Bruce Lee. He could take you down in a second. But he was humble. And that was his most important lesson, being humble.
Avi Buffalo has established his name as a multi-instrumentalist songwriter. What was it like to have him as your producer for The Good Life?
It was great! We work well together. He's very open minded and spontaneous and so am I. So.... we really play off of that constantly, and then ideas begin to harness, finding natural harmonies and coincidences in those creative moments that really shouldn't or normally wouldn't exist in a corporate reality. Avi really helped me be patient. I normally like to rip out a recording mixed and mastered in no less than two weeks. This album took three years. He pushed me to question every little sound and frequency until my body was completely satisfied. And our other co-producer Brian Frederick is pretty amazing dialing in good frequency. Brian took the sound to the next level.
The music video features you singing into the camera with a microphone in the forest. What gave you this idea, and how do you feel it adds to your music?
"The Good Life" represents the beauty and the adventure of nature. Letting go of the past and freeing yourself so you can enjoy the journey. At the same time, you trust, and release all worry. I feel that the hike is all of these concepts in one. The microphone kind of brings that subtle funny aspect of nature clashing with electricity. And the video director Azalia Snail, is pretty amazing at catching moments..... especially with sun light, using it as a tool. We both wanted to make something raw. And "The Good Life" is raw at it's purest.
You said you took notes of the people who came and went while you lived above the gas station. How did living there contribute to your writing process? Do you feel this had an influential impact on what you created?
Definitely. The title of this album "Pump The Gas" was derived from this apocalyptic gas station. It has a deep energy that can filter intensely through many different lenses and levels. Everyday, there was something going on. Something new. I'd see drug deals go down below my window.... so subtle... so passive....so quick. And others so obvious and sketchy. Young couples on date nights fighting, breaking up, and leaving separately. Other people getting it on behind the gas pumps late at night. Homeless drunks singing songs about beer. Gang brawls, swinging skateboards. Car accidents, hit and runs etc. Sirens every 10 minutes hitting frequencies not pleasant to the ear. Most people that roll into the gas station,are just passing by. They roll up, pump, and roll out. Where are they going? I always wonder. So many different kinds of people on so many different agendas and they all have one thing in common, GAS. They need it, in order to begin their trip.
What audience do you hope this music reaches?
All people and all living things. Universal. Locked doors are not part of my nature.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music or from you as an artist?
To physically and emotionally feel a lift.
Compiled by Bri DiMonda and Chelsey Sanchez
Video Directed by Azalia Snail
Music Produced by Avi Buffalo and Brian Frederick
Music Written and Performed by Kevin Litrow
Featuring Special Guests:
Sensations Fix (Franco Falsini) on Guitar
Jeremy Gill on Saxophone
Brandon Seger on Bass
Scott Dibble on Farfisa