The Grand Rapids musician was this week’s guest for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted new tracks by Joshua Davis, How to Live Together, Tiger and Frame, Syd Burnham and more.
THE ARTIST: Jes Kramer
THE MUSIC: Electronic-driven, singer-songwriter pop
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 26) at The Pyramid Scheme for “Synth Night” with Pink Sky, Darkly and Bronze Wolf; Feb. 8 at The Intersection for the WYCE Jammie Awards
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For 13 years, Jes Kramer has created her own brand of electronic music, starting with songs she recorded in her mom’s basement and performed in all-ages venues such as the former Skelletones and the DAAC in Grand Rapids.
As she describes it, the music is really “pretty typical singer-songwriter” fare with electronic underpinnings – powerful, autobiographical songs that unfurl in gorgeous fashion on her third full-length album, a self-titled collection released in November.
“There’s always been an electronic element in it,” Kramer says of music she first created on a Roland JUNO synthesizer and now crafts with Casio keyboards, looping pedal and drum machines.
“I really love a mix of organic and electronic,” she says, citing artists such as Postal Service and Sylvan Esso, “where you still have those really human emotions and sounds but with an electronic foundation.”
So, her “pop songs” with a narrative work best channeled through synthesizers and other electronic instrumentation.
“I didn’t want a to walk in with a guitar and rely on that to create dynamics,” she explains. “I wanted to be able to tell a story and have almost a nostalgic feel; that’s where the Casios come in. That mix of electronic and organic has always really appealed to me.”
VIDEO: Jes Kramer, “Hindsight” (Local Spins on WYCE)
She unfurled “that mix” during this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, performing two songs on the air. Watch a video of her performance of “Hindsight” here and listen to the full radio show podcast below.
TALKING ABOUT – AND SHOWCASING – SYNTHESIZERS
Kramer will join several other Grand Rapids electronic acts at the first “Synth Night” taking place tonight (Saturday, Jan. 26) at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids. Hosted by Pink Sky, the evening will also feature sets by Bronze Wolf and Darkly. Admission is $10 at the door.
She says attendees will “get to experience the full spectrum” of electronic music with live instrumentation.
“I think people are opening up to the wide range of emotion and expression that you can get from electronic instruments. I’m pumped that people are getting into synths because I just want to talk about them all the time.”
Of course, Kramer — who’s also served for years as a mentor to young musicians for Girls Rock Grand Rapids at Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities — will also get to showcase material from her latest album, which features songs written over the past six years – much of the material “about being a parent and what that means for my identity.” The album is nominated for WYCE Jammie Awards on Feb. 8 at The Intersection, where Kramer will also perform.
Kramer wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the project entirely herself, minus a couple of guest spots by musician friends. “It’s a testament,” she says, “of what I can do on my own in my own space with my own tools.”
The Jan. 25 edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which airs every Friday at 11 a.m., showcasing local and regional music – also featured new music from Joshua Davis, Greensky Bluegrass, How to Live Together (this week’s musician’s pick by Kramer), Tiger and Frame, Syd Burnham Band, Tunde Olaniran, Barrel Bones and The Legal Immigrants. (The Legal Immigrants and Syd Burnham play the Perrin Brewing Ice Jam Winter Festival today – Saturday Jan. 26 – starting at 3:30 p.m.)
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (1/25/19)
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