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THE KENJI INTERVIEW



Sometimes conformity often eclipses individuality, but there is an artist who emerges as a musical nonconformist destined to break free from the constraints of normalcy. ✦Kenji✦ is recognized for his uniqueness that sets him apart, and embraces the idiosyncrasies that shaped his extraordinary persona. Inspired by those iconic artists who thrived on the fringes of societal norms, he embarks on a journey to cultivate his brand of inclusivity through the universal language of music. Unveiling the layers of his soul, ✦Kenji✦ shares, "Getting people as close to understanding me as possible. The idea of that deep human connection, moshing with people who love your music, that will always give me goosebumps." With his latest EP, 'Distractions,' he catapults himself into the forefront of innovation, releasing a composition of experimental sounds that simply put is parallel with his own music taste. Delivering an epic auditory experience that resonates with the heart. ✦Kenji✦ musical sanctuary beckons, inviting all who dare to embrace the beauty of his unconventional symphony. Continue reading our interview below to learn more.






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RIPDAYDREAM: Kenji, we have known each other for what 4-5 years now? It amazes me to watch your journey in music over the years and how much you have grown as an artist. For our readers who need to know you fill us in on who Kenji is and your story. 


✦Kenji✦: Thanks man! We have definitely had some adventures. I'd say this whole music career kind of started from an insecurity. I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is pretty boring, and I would be considered kind of an odd and stand-out kid in those days. I was very quiet, and very intent upon observing patterns. As I became more and more self-aware throughout middle school, I noticed people would make fun of particular traits and peculiarities I displayed in my personality. At first, that led me to conformity and I really embraced the boring. But after a while, I started noticing signs from the universe, things going wrong in my life, and I guess I got spiteful enough somewhere along the line to emphasize the traits I was once hiding. The collection of those traits is what led my thought patterns to align with this lifestyle. I was also introduced to a lot of music at a very young age, so finding new underground artists to study excited me when I was sad and didn't know where to go. I think the admiration I had for these people, and watching them change the lives of so many around them is what inspired me to buy Ableton when I was like 15. Later on, I met other artists online, and we made a plan to move to LA after we graduated high school. we would all live close together and grow in the industry side by side. Now here we are.


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RIPDAYDREAM: Before we dive into your new EP something I wanted to talk about is how genuine of a person you are. You are so inclusive with your fans and open communication with anyone that's struggling. Let me tell you this is very rare these days so tell me why this is so important to you and how you have built such a loyal fan base.


✦Kenji✦: Thanks man :) I really admired the emo-rap scene as a kid, and I observed the fans of artists like XXXTENTACION and Lil Peep, and noticed that compared to a lot of others, their fanbase connected with them on a spiritual level. They shared a common pain through their words that collected and healed vast groups of people in a matter of minutes. Me included. I decided that's what I wanted more than anything. I was 16 with the vision in my head of a dedicated group of like-minded people that really understood me. Maybe that's the goal. Getting people as close to understanding me as possible. The idea of that deep human connection, moshing with people who love your music, that will always give me goosebumps.




RIPDAYDREAM: I mean this in the best way possible that you make music for the people who feel unseen or are not sure where they fit into the world. How do you believe your music empowers and resonates with those who may feel like outsiders, and what message do you hope to convey to this unique and often underrepresented audience through your creative expression?


✦Kenji✦: I think the only reason that I could be attracting people who are lost is because I am lost myself. I moved here as a 19 year old after a bad breakup. I don't know what I'm doing lol. That might be the source of the connection I have with them. I just talk about what haunts me and maybe people just need to hear that to know they aren't the only one. That's what dug me out of the hole I was in originally. I've been lucky enough to watch Kenji Gang grow and become a dedicated support group for each other. It's autonomous now. Everyone just helps one another. it's dope. If I could say something to the people who are lost, it would be that everyone is lost and nobody knows what they are doing. If they say they do, they're lying. But there's a beauty in that, since it gives us the freedom to pick who it is we become. You can change your avatar


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RIPDAYDREAM: Kenji I absolutely love this EP! It is really important for us at Ripdaydream to showcase artists that bring unique perspectives. Showcasing your work adds variety and richness to the music industry. Let's talk about how this project came to be and just start at the beginning of the direction you went with.


✦Kenji✦: I made this EP with the intention of making things that pleased me. Recently I have been intricately caught up in the opinions of other people in regards to which way I should take my music. This ended up being a big downfall to my mental health, as I was in the same position as middle school. I was trying to conform. So this was me just saying fuck it and making what came out. I sometimes write an entire song without truly understanding it's meaning, then I come to the end and realize what it's trying to teach me. That's another thing I love about music. I would say this project was also supposed to be a versatility test on myself. I combined a lot of different influences genre-wise for this project, to create a culmination of stuff I like. I hope it resonates with people like it does with me.




RIPDAYDREAM: I feel like this EP is full of the human experience and specifically your life experience. I am always curious about an artist's writing process and if you take from memories or just feelings you are having at that moment.


✦Kenji✦: It depends, and it's kind of unpredictable. Part of the cool thing about songwriting and making music is that it doesn't feel like you are crafting something. It feels like something is coming through you. There have been times we will create a particular instrumental that reminds me of an exact place/moment in time, and I have no idea how that works. But that will usually inspire lyrics and direction. The opposite happens often too, where I'll come up with a cool lyric and craft a beat around it. It's pretty random, but a lot of times you'll start with something, and it will just hit so deeply in your core and touch your emotions to a point where you know EXACTLY where to take the rest of the song.


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RIPDAYDREAM: My favorite song off the EP is 'Polaroids' and that seems to be a crowd favorite as well. Everything from the production to your vocals is just perfect in my eyes. Walk us through what was going through your mind creating this song and why it made it on the EP tracklist.


✦Kenji✦: Thank you! Honestly, I listened to a lot of aldn that day. I wanted to make something in that kinda indie pop/hyperpop vibe. This one was made with 2 other producers, Dutch Revz and In Bloom. I think when I was writing, I had one of those split second out-of-body deja vu moments where I saw a Bowling Alley. Those places are really weird and liminal. I think I wrote it from that image I had in my head. I also never release anything because I get super insecure, so despite how annoying this song got after a while, I promised myself I would start dropping music. All in all, this one was kind of random and spur-of-the-moment. But I'm super glad it turned out how it did :)




RIPDAYDREAM: Now that the EP is complete and you can take a deep breath what is next for you? I love your visuals so hoping you could give us a little hint at some upcoming music videos. 


✦Kenji✦: I want to prioritize my live performances more this year. I'm gonna be on stage a lot! In terms of visuals, I was thinking of making a video for 'Hold Me' but I'm not sure quite yet. I have a lot of ideas. I have an entire catalog of unreleased music.










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