PHOTO CREDIT: Ellie Nonemacher  



THE splendid Kramies has been letting me into his world…


and talking about the new single, The Hill Dweller. I learn how the song came together and what it was like working with producer Jerry Becker; what themes go into the E.P., Of All the Places Been & Everything the End (out on 19th October); which albums and artist are most important to him - I ask how he got into music.

Kramies discusses his upcoming plans and how he relaxes away from music; which artist he’d support if he has the chance; whether there are any tour dates booked in the diary – the songwriter ends the interview with a great song choice.


Hi, Kramies. How are you? How has your week been?

I’m in a happier place these days. Its Sunday here in Colorado and I’m planning a few trips for the end of the year. Especially excited for one adventure where I’ll be holed up in a little cabin, tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to start writing again.  

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

This has always been the hardest question for me. I always try to answer it with humor, but I’m sitting here with someone struggling to find the perfect answer and we’re laughing so hard at the weird things I say…

The simplest introduction is I’m an artist living in the mountains of Colorado and, for some reason, I seem to create dreamy, dark - yet optimistic – fairytales-laden music. Also, I laugh…a lot…and loud. So, we are creating quite a scene here. I’d say people mostly recognize me by my witch cackle - that can echo throughout an entire building I'm told.

The Hill Dweller is your new single. Is there a story behind the song? What was it like working with Jerry Becker on the song?

I only seem to write when a story starts to develop in my mind and they always seem to develop really fast. This particular story came to me while walking through the landscapes of Ireland. It’s a small piece to an entire tale. The whole E.P. is actually a story that came to me while residing that castle. The Hill Dweller was originally supposed to be the end of another song but it actually became the ending of the entire E.P.

I wrote it in the farmhouse of Shankill Castle in Ireland where I recorded the acoustic and vocals of the song. I then sent the project over to Jerry Becker. And, roughly 1 year later, Jerry sent back The Hill Dweller. He completely arranged it beautifully with deep layers and I fell in love with it. He’s a huge part of that simple song and I was pretty lucky to get to work with him - and it’s extra-special to work with a long-time friend.

Of All the Places Been & Everything the End is your new E.P. Is it true it was written in an Irish castle?! Did you find it a particularly inspiring place to be?

Absolutely. Ireland has always been a close place to my heart - the history, culture; landscape and architecture. I don’t even know where it comes from but when you’re given that setting to create, there are two things that happen. It either transports you to a different time frame, which helps you create, or it completely enamours your mental vision so you create something that is all your own. I have to say it was one of the hardest times to write because it was a struggle to push myself a little further. Further than what I have been doing. And, in the end, that experience has become the biggest part of the story.


PHOTO CREDIT: Ellie Nonemacher  

Is there a song/collaboration from the set that stands in the mind?

Yes. There are two, actually first: Everything the End. I originally wrote that song as a terrible Christmas song… I've always wanted to write an eerie Christmas time song...but that’s a story for another time. After I put it aside for some time, I finally sat back down with it and changed a few things. I just started piecing it together again, rearranging it and then sent it to Jason Lytle. When he returned it, I realized that this collaboration marked the first moment that the E.P. started to take shape. It all finally started to come together.

The second was The Hill Dweller. Hearing the ending of the E.P. really helped create a place to work backwards from and Jerry produced such an amazing ending.

When did you get into music? Which artists influenced you growing up?

As a kid, I grew up very shy. I always found myself putting on my dad’s headphones and listening to old Christmas and a Halloween records, to the point where my dad had to take the records away from me and tell me to go play outside. Those records had a huge impact on me. Then, I got to the age of where whatever was put in front of me that’s what I wanted to do or wanted to become. One Christmas, all I really wanted was a keyboard...but my parents decided to buy me a guitar instead. So, I would make up my own tunings and pretend it was a keyboard.

I think my self-isolation and youthful nervousness projected me into music further and I taught myself how to play the guitar. I never tried to learn others’ songs and I never really fit into playing in a band. It was a combination of this and old holiday music that, I believe, shaped my sound. As I got older though, I fell in love with David Bowie’s album, Hunky Dory, Simon & Garfunkel and Led Zeppelin III. These all helped as well to mold my strange de-tuned songwriting style.


PHOTO CREDIT: Jérôme Sevrette

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

That’s a hard question to think about. Well; I would hope to find more comfort in the writing process and I hope to live enough experiences for another story to come to me...since I never know when it’s going to hit.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Unfortunately, most of my time in the early-’90s was fueled by drug addiction. It wasn’t until I got sober in 2004 that my music and life started to shape a beautiful chemistry. Since then, I have a lot of great memories - especially opening for really cool bands like Yo La Tengo, Granddaddy and Spiritualized. Playing some really unique sold out shows in Europe is always very memorable. But, just the fact that I still get to do this and create new E.P.s makes me so thankful.


PHOTO CREDIT: Jérôme Sevrette

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Well, first: I have the tendency to listen to songs over and over, not a particular album. But, as far as the albums go…

The second side of Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin

It is perfect by being imperfect. It has this depth of heaviness and intention that I find beautiful.

Hunky Dory by David Bowie

I cherish it because that’s how I taught myself to sing. The melody and emotion behind the vocals entranced me as a young kid. Being able to hear studio noise (the phone ringing in the background) is something that stuck with me my entire life.

Nothing Shocking by Jane’s Addiction

This is the first time I experienced heaviness on an album without it being considered straight-forward Rock ’n’ Roll.

And, one more, because today I’m enamoured with Joanna Newsom’s songs -’81 and Divers - because she is one of the most talented songwriters and has the most beautiful voice. I have listened to the song ‘81 a thousand times and still get choked-up.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

As for a musician, without a question, it’d be Joanna Newsom. And, for rider: having a place to pass-out from nerves would be ideal too.

Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?

In the spring of 2019, I will happily be roaming through the Netherlands and France (and a few more other days are being booked and released soon too).


PHOTO CREDIT: Ellie Nonemacher

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

As cliché as it sounds, don’t follow a trend or be try to be anyone else. There are million artists out there and everyone has a purpose. But, there is only one you. Be genuinely you and create from your personal emotions, heart and vision. That's where strength is - the rest will fall into place

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

It’s funny, because most of my inspiration comes from architecture and landscape so I never really listen or search out the new. New work typically falls in my lap, or I hear it in a movie; or maybe even heard it in passing.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

This last E.P. was the hardest to unwind from. It’s just now, after a year-and-a-half, all starting to subside. I’m not sure why I’ve struggled the most with this one or what the result will be but the most I can do is spend time in nature and try to get away from the thought process that comes from creating.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Divers by Joanna Newsom (or ’81). I’m slightly obsessed!


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