December Fades: Crash and Burn

Photo by Erin Laméy

DECEMBER FADES HAS CAUGHT our attention with his moody, melodic alternative tracks and dark, melancholic lyrics. This is the type of music that melts us into a deeper frame of mind, and brings on a cathartic creative spirit. Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Rogers is masterful and imaginative in his soundscape portrayal of the emotionally raw and gripping moments of tragedy and romantic upheaval. In this evocative interview with the artist, Rogers describes an intimate connection with his own demons, his artful approach to songwriting and his windfall underground successes after the release of the ingenious Is It Love EP.  

December Fades - Los Angeles, California
Song Submitted: "Crash and Burn"

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I’m an artist, singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, audio engineer, producer and composer. Music has been an essential part of my life-a passion that drives me. I also enjoy fashion for it is what helps me live fully on the stage. It’s true that when you look good, you feel good, and it shows on the stage. I love that Deitra combines the two together because they go hand and hand demonstrating the character of the heart of the artist demonstrated. I would love to be able to connect to an audience that may understand and relate to me. I respect Deitra for supporting indie and undiscovered artists.

MUSICAL BACKGROUND: I played saxophone in high school band, marching band and played drums in rock bands in high school. I attained my degree in Music at Cleveland State University as well as a degree from Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA. I began composing instrumental piano pieces in middle school and high school, then decided to switch my focus to drumming alone. In 2011 I reconnected to composing. In 2013 I started writing lyrics creating songs. Soon after the floodgates opened, and songs flowed out of me. Songwriting became my outlet, my way to deal with the ups and downs — tragedy and triumphs of life. It became my water and my air.

Songwriting became my outlet, my way to deal with the ups and downs — tragedy and triumphs of life. It became my water and my air.

INSPIRATION: Love, romance, beauty, heartbreak, struggle, sadness, depression and addiction all inspire me to create music. Other inspirations that seep into my lyrics are science, poetry, art, nature, the earth, the stars, the universe-all that is life. I just love weaving together words and melody to paint emotional pictures. One of my favorite parts of creating music is watching it grow and evolve. It’s so cool to see the inspirational idea take shape like a clay sculpture.

SIGNATURE SOUND: Dark, emotional, dramatic, memorable, anthemic. It’s hard to classify, but if I had to I would say it’s alternative indie dark electro dream pop. My music often comes from extreme emotions, whether it’s romantic heartbreak, sadness and suffering from loss, or overwhelming joy, love, lust or blissfulness. I’m usually inspired to write when I’m going through that intense emotional state. Honestly, I’m pretty dramatic internally. My mind has the ability to take me to exponential cloud nine or to the bottom of the ocean. In a romantic relationship, “small bumps in the road” feel like the very purpose of life is over. It’s pretty useful as a songwriter. I especially go through extreme emotions when scrolling through my news feed on Facebook. Each image or video takes me through an emotional roller coaster. Aww, cute kittens, political bullshit, a whale jumping out of the ocean to an ocean of plastic, and dying people to people saving lives. From tears to laughter and back again, Facebook is an emotional trip every time. Why am I talking about Facebook? Moving on…

My music often comes from extreme emotions, whether it’s romantic heartbreak, sadness and suffering from loss, or overwhelming joy, love, lust or blissfulness. 

ON SONGWRITING: I have a lot of love songs. Some songs were inspired by specific people, others were inspired by a romanticized idea of the perfect love, romance or meet-cute magic. When I am emotionally suffering, I create the opposite — songs of heartbreak, hurt, and pain, songs about struggling with addiction and depression. Once those moments surpass, I write songs about hope and fighting for what you believe in. Rather than gather, I just allow. I just listen. I’ll hear a phrase, or say something myself, and it’ll just resonate with me — like it’s meant to be a lyric or chorus hook. Sometimes I feel inspired to write but am busy working or dealing with other things. I write the lyric or record the idea via voice memo. It’s usually the beginning of a topic or theme that later blooms naturally. I’ve also written songs inspired by photos that I really connected with.

FAVORITE ORIGINAL SONG: That’s like choosing a favorite child. Out of the six songs on my Is It Love EP, “Crash and Burn” is definitely one of my faves because it’s the one I connect with the most. There’s something about that song that just instantly takes me somewhere else emotionally.

photo by Justin Higuchi

CREATIVE PROCESS: I usually start with chords or a riff on piano or guitar. I’ll improvise or literally put my hands on the keys and just start playing anything, like stream of consciousness writing. Something will really resonate with me or immediately alter my emotional state. When I’m beamed into a different dimension, that’s when I know I’ve got something good. It’s like for moment time is frozen, and I’m in this bubble of whatever emotion or soundscape has been created. This special chord progression or riff usually instantly inspires a melody. I may come up with 10-20 different melodies or versions. Many times it’s the chorus hook. I’ll just throw in some temporary words until I the correct ones are revealed. I say revealed, because that’s how the song takes shape. I have to be patient with each part, lyrics, melody, chords, drum beat, production, tempo, phrasing and it eventually falls into place. I’m not happy until I feel like it’s perfect, or meant to be part of this song. It has to define and shape the song, otherwise it’s nonsense. Some songs are written faster than others. But it seems like the more patient I am, the more time I take to let the meaning and the story steep, the better it comes out. It just ends up with more depth, character and definition.

When I’m beamed into a different dimension, that’s when I know I’ve got something good.

FAVORITE MUSIC ERA: It’s hard to say. There’s so much good music from so many eras. Let me just rattle off a few of my favorite bands: Sia, Halsey, Arctic Monkeys, Mutemath. Let’s not forget some of the legends that paved the way: Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2.

ON RECORDING: I love watching the song go from bare bones or the foundation (lyrics, melody, chords), into a fully produced song. I never know where it’s headed or how it’s going to end up. I literally just open Pro Tools and start trying things until something really works. It has to support and enhance the foundation, not get in the way or distract. I’m always “trimming fat.” My brain likes to add more and make things intricate and complicated. So, I’m consistently taking away to make space for the vocals, lyrics and thematic phrases.

FASHION + ART: I would say I kind of have the dark emo singer/songwriter fashion going on. Dark clothes, almost always black or dark gray. Rocker look, slightly gothic, but somewhat sophisticated and elegant. I like very fitted clothing. I recently got a jacket that I can barely move in! I had to stretch it out for several days. Lol. But it looks damn good! As far as art element, sometimes I describe my music as a dark Monet meets Edgar Allan Poe.

Photo by Erin Laméy

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES: I boxed myself in and limited myself to thinking I had to do the one thing I’m best at, and that was drumming. For years I neglected piano and guitar, and was even afraid to sing in front of people. In fact, I was afraid to sing in my own apartment! I also, made up my mind that I couldn’t write lyrics. I was so afraid of of being cliché, or ordinary, or sucking, that I just decided I couldn’t. I was in fear of failing. Also, the everyday struggle of being an indie artist. I wear every single hat. If I want something done I have to research it, learn it, and do it on my own: booking shows, learning Photoshop, making websites, making flyers, editing pics, every aspect of recording, mixing, social media, rehearsing, playing shows and funding everything. It’s all on my shoulders. Some days I feel like I’m suffocating because there’s an overwhelming amount of things to do, and I don’t know where to start. I just have to realize I’m a human being and can only do so much at one time. I have to make a list and prioritize. I just need to make some sort of progress each day. After riding the biggest love tidal wave of my life, and being stranded on a deserted island with a broken heart, the only way to move on was to write. My own expectations got in the way. For a while there, I really thought my dream and destiny was to be a rock drummer. I felt like everything had let me down in life, even music, which was my love, my passion and my escape. I felt like music had failed me. It was just let down after let down. People turning me away or critiquing every aspect of my work. Little did I know, this was all just a stepping stone to prepare me for the next chapter in life; Kevin Rogers the songwriter, December Fades the artist. Deep down I wanted this, but was so afraid of failure and success. I didn’t think I had what it takes to be the artist/front man. Now here I am playing at some of the best clubs in Los Angeles and getting ready to perform two showcases in Austin, Texas during SXSW weekend.

After riding the biggest love tidal wave of my life, and being stranded on a deserted island with a broken heart, the only way to move on was to write.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: I went from being afraid of writing lyrics to completing a whole library of songs. I’m proud of finishing my first album, Is It Love EP. It was completely self-produced, written, recorded, mixed and mastered. I even designed the logo and cover! I’ve never worked so hard in my life! I’ve been booking shows in other cities. I’ll be playing two showcases during SXSW weekend in Austin, Texas! It’s always exciting to perform shows, to hear my music on Internet radio and getting added to Spotify Playlists. I’m excited to be featured in Deitra Magazine! It’s an honor and a pleasure to be part of Deitra’s bi-annual magazine. I also had an instrumental piece in a feature film. It was an exciting moment to hear my music and then see my name on the “big screen.”

FUTURE HOPES + DREAMS: I would love to have my music in TV/film, commercials and video games, whether it’s December Fades songs or instrumental compositions. I’d like to play shows around the world. But the main thing is I am happy with my life and my music right now. I accept and love my life, as is. I could be playing stadiums, house concerts or performing on the street. It doesn’t matter, as long as I have music and can share it with someone. It’s just in my blood, and deeply seated in my soul. I need music to live in this world.   DM

Official Website:

Written by Tamara Styer

This article can also be seen in Issue 15 of Deitra Magazine

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