#POPULARPLAY: DAVE KODA
Sep 9, 2020
Dave Koda returns with more music for the masses through his latest release “Let Go.”
Originally shared with fans in early August, this feel-good track has already captured countless listeners across streaming platforms through its genuine lyrics and catchy chorus. Koda’s vulnerability through this new single allows listeners to not only relate to his feelings but also understand the inspiration behind “Let Go” and potential future tracks as well. Fans of artists such as Mac Miller and Frank Ocean will absolutely fall in love with his uniquely diverse sound.
Dave Koda’s sound undeniably blends genres, similar to artists like blackbear and Machine Gun Kelly, making his music already on the radar of fans around the world. In fact, the “Sixteen” singer has made waves in the industry early into his career. In an exclusive interview with PopularTV, Dave Koda opens up about his new single, dream collaborations and more.
1. Tell us about “Let Go” and the inspiration behind it!
“Let Go” was written to talk about the struggle of doing the things that are right for you. As human beings, we have a natural ability to create a barrier between ourselves and what is beneficial for us for growth. “Let Go” examines this issue from a fun perspective, while also talking about the things that people use to create the barrier. Whether it’s alcohol/drugs, people, or our minds creating excuses, “Let Go” examines how the use of them separates us from what we truly want.
2. Being such a Lo-fi icon, we really have to ask you about the creative process behind your songs. Is there a specific rule or order?
Truthfully, I didn’t even realize my music was technically “Lo-fi.” Nor, do I consider myself an icon yet by any means…but I appreciate the compliment so much! My creative process varies a lot song to song. The main thing that always stays the same is I need to hear the music first before creating any sort of melody or main idea of the song. I get really awkward writing music around people, and that usually leads me to write in the privacy of my own home. Although I have been working on that, and I’m getting to a place where I really enjoy creating with other people around me as well. I tend to write about whatever I’m dealing with, or what the close people in my life are dealing with at the time. Recording comes after I feel I’m 100% satisfied with getting all the thoughts out that I wanted to on the song. Much like my writing process, I like to record with few people around. I’ve definitely had moments where too many people have been in the studio with me and I get uncomfortable, and can’t perform to the best of my ability. But that’s another mental block I’ve been working on.
3. Your song “Sixteen” feats the incredible Nohidea. How did this partnership happen?
Nohidea is such an incredible producer, and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to work with him. I got in touch with him through a close friend of mine, shout out Greg Ross, who worked with Nohidea in the past. I loved his stuff, and wrote a couple of songs over some of his work that was already out. Through Greg, I was able to send them to Nohidea, and he loved what I came up with for “Sixteen.” After I recorded it and sent it over to him, we decided we would release it as a single, and being that it’s my most played song ever, I’m so grateful. Nohidea and I might have some stuff coming in the future too, who knows!
4. Who are your musical references?
Right now, my musical references are Frank Ocean, Dominic Fike, Gus Dapperton, Clairo and Briston Maroney. I cycle a lot with artists that I’m listening to, and these are currently the artists that I’m really into right now. My own personal sound gets heavily influenced by what I’m listening to at the time. For example, if I’m on a big Nirvana listening spree, my music starts to take on a punk feel to it. I’ve really been into artists that are using a lot of guitar melodies in their songs right now because I’m just starting to learn guitar again. Growing up I played guitar, bass guitar, and cello, but quit them to pursue sports more heavily. My parents definitely influenced my musical references. My dad exposed me to classical rock and alternative, while my mom exposed me to pop music and hip-hop. I believe they not only helped shape my music tastes today, but also heavily influenced how I blend different genres of music into my own sound.
5. What is your dream collaboration?
My dream collab would 100% be Frank Ocean. Frank has been hands-down my favorite artist for a while now, and in my opinion, he’s one of the best songwriters of all time. As much as I’d want to have him feature on a song of mine, or vice versa, I would love the opportunity to just sit in a studio and make something from scratch. If you can’t tell already, I’m a huge fan.
6. How do you think quarantine influenced your music?
Quarantine definitely had a massive impact on my music. Before 2020 started, I had just changed my stage name and completely changed the sound of my music. I officially released my first song under the new name in December, called “Bonfire,” and it got me attention from some pretty big labels. I was in New York City at the time, so I was going out to shows and meeting artists and A&R’s on a pretty consistent basis. When COVID hit, everything came grinding to a halt. I was down in Baltimore staying at my girlfriend’s apartment, and decided that I didn’t think it was too safe to come back seeing how bad NYC was. From then on, I wasn’t able to meet with the people I was starting to be in contact with, nor was I able to record at the studios I typically go to in NYC and Connecticut. But I can’t say quarantine was all bad. It gave me a tremendous amount of time to sit down and really face issues that I had been internalizing, which allowed me to write some really awesome songs in the process. It also gave me the opportunity to start playing guitar again, learn more about music production, and the time to learn how to record on my own after I set up my home studio. I had plans to go on a small tour before quarantine, but hopefully that can happen soon when this all calms down a little more.
7. What are your biggest inspirations in music?
My biggest inspiration in music are the people that are close to me. I never really thought I was ever anything special as a music talent when I first started, and I definitely continue to doubt myself even now. The people that are close to me have always talked me up every step of the way, and it just feels so awesome to feel supported so often and unconditionally. I believe we receive signs to point us in the right direction when we’re starting to feel a bit lost, and outside of the people in my circle giving me them, I definitely am inspired by strangers who give them to me as well. I remember at 16 a boy emailed me saying he heard a song of mine called “Lucy” that helped him get through a really tough time, and he thanked me for it. Those words from him gave me a feeling that I always wanted to chase. Music has helped me so much in life with anxiety, and I just want my music to be that same escape or comfort for someone that might be dealing with the same feelings I am at the time.
8. Do you have any upcoming projects?
I definitely do! I have a couple more singles dropping in 2020, with one coming out on Birdhouse Records called “Snooze”. My favorite song I’ve ever made called “Jenny” will be coming out in September with a music video following it soon after. I also have a 4 or 5 song EP that’s being finished right now that I haven’t set a release date for as of yet. And finally, I just started working on my first full length album that I hope to release around a year from now. Hopefully I’ll be able to go on tour then too!
Keep up with Dave Koda on Instagram and Twitter.
Stream “Let Go” below!