Devin Kroes has started his latest project under the moniker Rebirth. Growing up with a love for melodies, Kroes started his pursuit of music in the choir and continued to play a variety of instruments including: the piano, trombone, and guitar. Now as Rebirth, he is brings an organic middle eastern flavor into his bass-ridden tracks, which will push you to uplift your spirits and bring you into a sublime state of serenity. The recent release of his EP entitled The Silent Hearts out now on Street Ritual gives a new take on the glitch-hop and future bass genres leaving the listener “…to truly find themselves through the music and be reborn.” Check out this shining Bay Area star and read his in-depth interview below to find out how to be reborn.
For those who haven’t heard of Rebirth before, how would you describe your sounds to future fans?
First off, I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to interview me! I try to derive my sound from as many influences as possible, though currently I have been taking a lot of influence from world music. I’ve been an instrumentalist for most of my life. This whole electronic music thing is a much more recent development in my life. I think it’s because of this that I try to aim for a more organic feel when I write music. I try to recreate sounds that come from the world around me, or the world inside me as opposed to something that was created by a machine. I guess in a nutshell, my sound is one that is organic, familiar, and yet new and alien at the same time. It fuses old ideas with new sounds in a way that is all encompassing and representative of the entire human experience.
What instruments did you play as a child and young adult?
I remember starting with voice, I was maybe 4 years old when my mother started me singing with her. I did it for quite a few years. My parents were always fairly religious growing up, and had me performing with different choirs for their church, as well as musicals and other productions they could get me involved in. I started playing the piano at the age of 5, taught by my mother as well. I sometimes hated having to learn from her, and would fight back quite a bit, but I’m extremely grateful now she pushed me so hard into pursuing music. I played the trombone for a few years, and learned the flute not long after, but the instrument that really inspired me was the guitar, which I picked up when I was about 14. I’d always dreamed of being a rock star, and thought I’d found my calling. I played the guitar all through high school, and spent most of my time in my room writing songs and lyrics, though most were filled with all kinds of teenage angst. I’m somewhat glad I never saved any of that, from what I remember I would probably just facepalm reading through any of it. I tried starting up bands with various friends throughout high school, though all I really found is that I had a hard time accommodating other people’s ideas. This is probably why I enjoy writing electronic music so much, I’m the entire band. I still have difficulty collabing with people even now. I got into electronic music production probably 2-3 years ago, though it’s really only the past year or so that I’ve been really pushing myself as hard as I should be.
Silent Hearts has a great range of sounds that seem to be pulled from a variety of genres. What are your favorite influences to weave into a track?
Thanks! That’s definitely what I’ve intended with my sound. It’s sometimes hard for me to pinpoint my specific influences, as I have so much that I pull from. A lot of what I tend to pull from are just my day to day experiences. My emotions heavily affect the music I write, and I’ll try to come up with sounds that reflect those emotions. I can recount multiple times I’ve heard certain sounds in dreams that I’ve had, and woken up and tried my best to replicate those. There are certain artists that currently inspire me though. Kalya Scintilla has been one of my favorites for a long time, Thriftworks has been frequenting my playlists more often than not as well. Recently I’ve been in close contact with WALA, who just released an EP with Street Ritual. I’ve been playing it on repeat since I got my hands on it. Surprisingly enough, this whole Trap music craze that’s been going on lately has had a strong influence on me. I’m not setting out to create these gangster hip hop inspired beats, but I love the heavy bass and the minimalism of it. I’ve been trying to include more 808 bass in my music lately, and the minimalism aspect has been playing a role in my recent productions. I think a huge influence of mine is a small collective of producers I’ve been working with since I really got serious about music. Having a solid group of people who can be critical of your music is essential in my opinion. And listening to them improve over time is a huge motivation to keep pushing forward.
There is definitely an organic Middle Eastern feel on your newest EP, especially on tracks like Huasca and Silent Hearts. If you could go anywhere in the Middle East and immerse yourself in the culture, where would you go?
I’ve actually always wanted to visit India. I’m not sure if it quite qualifies as the Middle East, but it’s still a culture that has a great influence on my sound. I’ve always been in love with the culture, the religion, and the art there. Especially the music. It’s a beautiful place with a ton of culture and history that dates back to the beginning of civilization. Ancient culture has always been something that’s fascinated me.
Do you think people can use music as a tool to come into an enlightened state?
I really think they can. Isn’t that the reason a lot of people listen to music? It provides an escape, and it brings people together under the same purpose. There are few things in this world that can incite emotions in me like music can. I can think of countless times I’ve been out on a dance floor moving to music with my eyes closed and have just lost myself in it. The experience is very similar to meditative states I’ve experienced, as well as psychedelic experiences I’ve had as well. Though on the subject of drugs and music, I definitely don’t think drugs are necessary to reach these states through music. There are plenty of people who use them for this purpose, though I feel like learning to reach those states purely through the music is a much more rewarding (and safer) experience.
Any tips on how we can rebirth again?
Well, you stand on one foot, jump up and down, while whistling show tunes and balancing plates on your head. But in all seriousness, I think it comes down to always being a state of growth and change. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. The only way you’ll move forward is by being in a constant state of growth, change and rebirth.
What’s next for Rebirth? Where can we see you next?
At the moment I’m just continuing to write tunes. I’ve already got another EP in the works, and am hoping to release it by this fall. I also have quite a few collaborations in the works with various other producers, so be on the lookout for some freebies from me in the near future. I’ve got a few shows coming up as well. I’ll be playing at Manifest which is going on June 21-23, and have a show with R/D and Dubvirus at Temple Nightclub in SF on the 27th of this month, as well as Filth of July, which is happening July 5-7. I keep adding more shows to the list pretty consistently, so check out www.facebook.com/rebirthbass to stay updated.
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