For our latest ‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ feature, we spoke to Avi Kaplan, who releases his new EP I’ll Get By, out this Friday, 28th February.
‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ is when we talk to some of our favourite upcoming and established artists, delving into their greatest influences and inspirations, to see how bands, records, tracks, friends & family, hobbies and even environments have impacted on their work and music.
More about the new EP below, but first, here are Avi’s 5 Biggest Influences…
These giants have always been a part of my life. I grew up about an hour away from Sequoias National Park but I didn’t realize how much they meant to me until I couldn’t visit them anymore. The longer I was away, the more my heart felt pulled to them. I finally returned to them at one of the darkest times of my life. The healing that I experienced during those few days I spent camping deep in one of my favourite groves was nothing short of miraculous. My music career as it stands would not have been possible without that time. It opened my heart and cleansed my soul.
Living in the forest
After years of living in Los Angeles I knew I needed a change. After two years of searching I finally found the perfect place nestled in the beautiful tall oaks and maples of rural Tennessee. At the time it wasn’t possible for me to actually live there but it was something I had to look forward to, which was invaluable during that point in my life. Once I was finally able to settle in, everything changed. I could finally breathe again. It felt like a solace. A refuge. Many songs have come from sitting out on the porch watching those beautiful trees sway in the wind. There’s nothing like a safe place to call home.
Iron and Wine
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Sam Beam. His songs washed over me like nothing I’d ever heard and I couldn’t stop listening. At that point in my life all the music I’d listened to was given to me. He was the first artist I found on my own. Right after my first listening session I rode my bike straight to the store to buy my first CD. From that point forward he was the soundtrack to my life.. His songwriting, layered harmonies, and arrangements have influenced me more than any other artist. His music didn’t only inspire me, it soothed my soul. To this day I haven’t found a medicine that has healed me more than his music.
The first time I heard Bon Iver was coming down from Mammoth Lakes with my sister. It was a crisp winter day at sunset. His music was perfect for easing down than mountain road watching the colours change. His production has always had a beautiful juxtaposition of organic and electronic… I’ve been hooked on his music and inspired many times over since that day.
Jose isn’t comparable to anyone. Between his voice, his guitar playing and his lyrics he stands on his own. My favourite thing about his music is that it feels so deeply connected to the earth. That has always truly inspired me.
On I’ll Get By, Kaplan, the former Pentatonix star, raised just 40 minutes from Sequoia National Park in the rolling hills of central California, rediscovered his musical roots and delved deeper into the music he’s always loved. Exploring a range of sounds from soul to bluegrass, these songs are threaded together by the search for spiritual redemption, and cast with acoustic guitar, pedal steel, swirling organ and deep groove percussion that beautifully complement Avi’s haunting, other worldly vocal ability.
Kaplan has also announced a 13-date headline tour of the UK and Europe this November, including London’s new Lafayette venue on the 20th. The shows will mark Avi’s live return to the UK following two sold-out nights at Omeara in January this year.
In line with this announcement, fans can now listen to ‘Born In California’, the next track to be revealed from the EP, another gorgeous piece of blues and gospel influenced Americana, inspired by the rolling hills of California near the Sequoia National Park, where Avi grew up…
2020 tour dates below…
November 4th – Munich, DE – Backstage Werk
5th – Vienna, AT – Arena
7th – Krakow, PL – Kwadrat
8th – Prague, CZ – Rock Café
9th – Berlin, DE – Heimathafen
11th – Copenhagen, DK – Vega Small Hall
12th – Hamburg, DE – Grunspan
14th – Cologne, DE – Live Music Hall
16th – Utrecht, NL – TivoliVredenburg
17th – Nijmegen, NL – Doornroosje
20th – London, UK – Lafayette
21st – Manchester, UK – Band on the Wall
22nd – Dublin, IE – Whelan’s