Tell us about yourself and your music
Rodello’s Machine is a the project of songwriters Nate Donnis (The Donnis Trio) and Kolby Knickerbocker. Our aim with this project was really to just have fun, make good music and enjoy our time while we do. We’ve both been writing music for a collective 25ish years.
The sounds of Rodello’s Machine are quite experimental for us and depart from what we’re both used to. The foundation of our music is based on solid songwriting. We’ll usually start with a basic story we want to tell, a nice chord structure and work from there. We find that a good song with a good story is far more easy to work with than say a just musical melody.
Once we have a solid foundation for a song, it’s really a question amplifying the emotional impact of the song through our production. We’ve produced songs that have a very light and beautiful tone, to tracks that feature deep resonate bass lines and growly distorted guitars. It’s really trying to get into the story of the song and trying to understand what elements would tell that song’s story better. One of my favorite tracks that we’ve produced is “Song of the Seasons”; we had this idea to work with a very talented classical Hindustani vocalist, Balaji Raao, a very skilled vocalist. His vocal opening to the track set a very esoteric element to the song that I still really enjoy today.
In our last album “Red Dust”, we really tried to mature our sound through using less production and relying more on good lyrics and skilled musicians. I’m not sure if we accomplished it though cause I remember working with a song that had 70 tracks in mixing…I think we went a bit far there ?
Talk to us more about your latest release
Our latest release “Animus” is a re-working of some of our favorite tracks, introducing different elements of production to “reanimate” some of our tracks.
It was a really fun project to work on. Knowing that everything was already recorded and basically mixed down, I was able to really just play with different elements, add small sounds here and there, chop up some vocals and come out with a totally different sound. It’s a great way to exercise your creative production chops; take an old song and see how you can reshape what’s already there to create an almost entirely different track.
What inspired you to write this release?
I think what really started it was we had this track “Rock Under My Feet” that had some cool, chopped up string pieces within. I was playing around with the song in the mixing stage and ended up soloing the vocals, strings and bass lines, just to hear what it sounded like.
It was a fantastic, floaty sort of feeling in the track with no rhythm section, no backup guitars, nothing distinct rhythmically. There was all of the sudden all this space in the track. I really like what I was hearing so starting from there, I added a deep synth bass, and I think a few other synth elements but basically left it from there.
It turned out to be a great track and sparked the whole album “Animus”. Each of the tracks on the album are based on that; examining the production elements of a song that I enjoyed, and trying to rework something completely different. Just a fun project really.
Any plans to release a video?
Right now, we don’t have any plans to release a video.
Any plans to hit the road?
At the moment, we’re both focused on writing more tracks and supporting our new families so touring is kind of out of the question at the moment. But who knows, maybe we’ll be on the road soon!
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I’ve never been good at branding my music as any different than other artists. I liken my music to give people an idea of what I sound like but I let my live shows set me apart from other musicians.
I try not to focus on branding and marketing nowadays. I’m comfortable just writing and recording music for myself and possible TV/film placements.
Who have you been listening to lately?
I’ve really been getting into “Sleeping At Last”. He’s a great songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. I really admire his ability to write about a song a week, and their good songs! Good songwriting, good lyrics and a captivating musical backdrop really make his music standout.
Tell us about your passions
I’m passionate about being outdoors and really enjoying the beauty of the world. I suppose that’s influenced my songwriting in my want to add more beauty to the world.
What else is happening next in your world?
Currently, we’re both writing more music and I plan to write a solo album of material I’ve been working on for the last two years of my life. Music keeps me fed ?
Thanks for an awesome interview, Kolby!
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