Recording Connection grad Kolby Benton aka Kayp
graduate Kolby Benton
aka Kayp grew up in a small town, so small that his graduating class had a whopping thirty people. Nevertheless, knowing his goal was to become an EDM artist, he didn’t waste his time. When he found Recording Connection he took action, moved to Denver, and got the training and insight he’d need to elevate his chops and get his music out to the world. Now Kolby’s collaborated on the track, “Brutality” with Borgore, released songs on Buygore Records and frshblood (a Buygore Records’ sub-label), just dropped his EP, Isekai, and has collaborations in the works with Riot Ten and Typhon.
What led you to Recording Connection?
“I found Deadmau5 when I was like in sixth grade, I started listening to him. Skrillex, I thought he was the coolest person ever, and then I discovered Borgore. I got on a launchpad, and I started doing little mashups on it with like electronic music and stuff, and I just got like a really strong passion for it. …
Going through high school, I took music theory with the local community college, and I was just like, ‘Man, this isn’t it. I need to find something that teaches me how to produce music.’… I was looking through the internet and I found… Recording Connection, and I found they actually had a program for electronic music production with Ableton. And I told my parents… ‘Guys, like this is it. I got to do this. This is my way to actually learn. I can actually go somewhere and learn how to do this…. They got a whole program, they teach you everything with Ableton, how to make the music… I get to go into a studio. All this stuff [is] available for me.’ My parents were like, ‘All right, yup, let’s do it. Let’s go ahead and do it.’ And so, I moved out from that little town, up to Denver.” Learn more about how Kolby got his big break in our Straight Talk video below!
But first you had to get accepted. Tell us about when you went in to interview at ConwaySound. Please, tell us about that.
“Ryan [Conway, a longtime Recording Connection mentor] came walking down the stairs, he’s like, ‘You Kolby?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m Kolby.’ So, he showed me everything… and he wanted me to show him some of my music… I had a flash drive for him… so he plugged it in, and we started listening to it on the speakers. And he was like, ‘Yeah, your stuff’s actually a little more advanced than what we normally hear from students starting out.’… It was like we really connected super easily because, obviously, he knew about music, I knew about music. It was a passion of ours…. And when I was doing my interview, Ryan told me that my mentor will probably be Josh [Denhardt, also a Recording Connection graduate] because he said Josh is really big on dubstep music and things like that.
Kolby Benton aka Kayp
And so, when my first day came around, I walked in and I met Josh, and… this guy has the same humor as me. He’s instantly like someone I can joke with, super easy to just be myself around. Like, we’re just joking the whole time. He’s like, ‘Yeah, just sit down. Just work on some music. Your first day here, I’m just going to watch your workflow.’ And I’m just working on music, and like, I just feel comfortable with this guy. …
That first day, I learned a lot more than I’ve learned in months of doing my own little research through YouTube and trying to figure things out myself. Josh was just super big on taking me in, and actually like showing me things, and inviting me to come and sit in into the studio and watch how things are done. He introduced me to a lot of people he was working with [and] was just super cool.”
Right from the start, Josh wanted to observe your workflow. Under his mentorship were you able to refine your approach to songwriting?
“Before the program, I would get caught up so bad… on the smallest, little things… I’d be starting on just the intro and… get caught up on little details. And working with Josh… he taught me, ‘Hey, it’s okay. Just get the song done. Get the overall idea, and [don’t] worry about the little things… because when you’re doing that, you’re actually not writing the song, you’re just nitpicking.’… If you think you don’t like how [it] sounds, put little placeholders in it or something, so at least there is a song there, an idea…. Just get the overall idea out. …
He was like, ‘Just make a story in your head, it helps you visualize it.’ So that was a big thing.”
Anything else you want to say about your time with Josh?
“I love you, Josh. You’re such a fun person to work with. He actually had me working on a remix for Buygore. Oh, I never thought I was going to get on Buygore. I was like, ‘Dude, I’m going to do this remix alone, I’m not going to get on,’ and he was like, ‘No, do it, man. Your music’s good. You can do it.’ And I got on and I was like, ‘Bro.’… This guy saw it in me, and that’s the thing. I think Josh sees things in people. He’s a fun person to work with, he’s super easygoing, you can joke with him…. He’s just a good person. That’s all I have to say. I think he’s a great teacher, he’s a good mentor. He lets you work at your own pace, but he teaches you things along the way, so you don’t feel like you’re being rushed.”
You also learned that when it comes to building confidence, setting realistic goals is key. What can you tell us about that?
“Josh really taught me that. Setting realistic goals is a big thing, so you don’t disappoint yourself. Something like, ‘All right, I’m going to release a song and I want to get 1,000 plays on it.’ And you would [get those plays], and you build your confidence…. And once you hit that goal, you go to the next one. …
Now I’m at a point where I’m like, ‘All right, my goal is to hit… 100,000 monthly listeners, or something like that on Spotify.’… So that’s the next goal for me. We’ll see where that goes after the Riot Ten collaboration comes out but that’s somewhere we’re trying to go.”
Okay, so collaborating with Borgore, give us the lowdown. How did it happen?
“I had been graduated [from Recording Connection] for maybe five months. And I sent a song to Buygore Records. And they took a little bit to respond… so, I ended up releasing the song by myself, and the very next day, they actually reached back out to me saying they really liked the song, and they want to release it. And I was like, ‘Oh man, I actually already released it and everything.’…
Okay, so collaborating with Borgore, give us the lowdown. How did it happen?
They were like, ‘Oh, dang it. Okay, well, send us new music whenever you can.’ And so, I was kind of on the radar at that point and so I became a hermit and worked on a song for like four months…. I was like, ‘The song has to be perfect. I’m going to send it to them, and they’re going to really like it.’ So I sent it to them.
And like a week later, [Borgore’s] girlfriend, Sonia, she emailed me, said, ‘Hey, Kayp, what’s up? I actually showed the song to Borgore, and… he said that he really liked the song and wanted to know if you want it to turn into an official Borgore and Kayp collaboration. Just send him all the stems, and he’ll work on it.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’… I was so excited. I was there with my girlfriend, we were making breakfast burritos… and I kind of like blacked out a little bit because I had never had like a big release or anything, never done anything, and the first song like I sent to them, they responded well, and then the second one I sent, ‘Hey, let’s make it a big collaboration.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve been listening to this guy forever, since I was a kid.’”
What’s your advice to current Recording Connection students?
“My advice would be, be patient. I know everybody wants to be big one day, and they want to be playing concerts, releasing these songs that are just blowing up all over the place…. [But] if you rush yourself and you set unrealistic goals and expectations, like, ‘All right, by the end of the year, I’m going to be Skrillex’… you’re going to disappoint yourself. So, I say set realistic goals and expectations, and be patient. …
You’ll get there at some point, if you stay true to yourself [and] actually set realistic goals… you’ll see the progress.”
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