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Why You'll Soon Be Hearing Frank Kilpatrick's Music

Airain Balen

Songwriter and musician Frank Kilpatrick freely acknowledge that you’ve probably never heard him on the radio, but, chances are you will very soon start hearing his songs.  For the past two years, he has been writing and recording songs that span the musical spectrum.  Forming his own music company with collaborator Rayko, Frank has created countless tunes that strike a powerful chord in today’s world. There is seemingly no subject he isn’t willing to tackle, from interracial relationships to politics to mental health. Below, he talks to JustLuxe about his musical past, present, and future and why he makes music that matters: 

When did you start working professionally as a musician? 

Songwriting has been a new exploration for me over the past two years: I had run an advertising agency and had written ads (and shot video), so I knew something about the power of words. But writing lyrics is different: There’s a fairly consistent format for songs accepted by Pop Music listeners that requires a sparse narrative and strict discipline as to format – while endeavoring to make the piece universally appealing. So that was a new learning for me!  (Funny story: Now, when people ask me where I went to school, I proudly say “Berkeley.” But today, they sometimes make the mistake of thinking it is “Berklee” – the music school: So I say: “No, the one with the football team…”) My motivation is always been to create music and messages that are memorable and connect with listeners emotionally enabling them to think about the topic from a new perspective, if only for a moment. I am aiming to achieve some level of “Social Contribution,” if I’m lucky; that’s my “Through Line.”

Rayko

Tell me a bit about your company, Frank K Music.

“Company?” Surely you jest! (And don’t call me “Shirley” Ha!) In the main, it’s me and my very talented collaborator Rayko, who contributes top line melodies, vocal performance, arrangements, and sometimes more stylistic diversity than I might have come up with on my own. Though I do connect with others from time to time.

How would you describe your sound?

Well, that’s a tough one. Though folks in the music industry say that to be successful you have to concentrate on creating a brand around a single musical genre, I have found that messages and melodies come forth to me in several musical styles. 

One of our most important current projects is Gender Genocide, a song that highlights the issue of women’s abuse. Based on Rayko’s personal observation, we put together a song to raise awareness and shift behavior and empower women; we hope that it can become an “anthem” for this movement.  If you’ve seen or heard the song recorded by her band, Lolita Dark, we hope you’ll feel that we’ve put it all together! On the other hand, I also like to create retro songs – happy harmony-based pieces that take us all back to simpler sunsets on the beach.  I have refocused them for audiences who have experienced a thing or two as they explore the idealized aspects of nostalgia. (I am hoping that these tracks can find additional homes in a Film or TV Show or Commercials). 

In another direction, our upcoming Gratitude Video series we are creating will provide positive daily inspiration through a Meditative Journey. (We will be putting this series on YouTube.) At the other end of the spectrum, we explore Dark Themes that connect with alienated audiences, too, as in Agony Flows With The Beating of My Heart, an introspective journey for sure. As you may see, we are always seeking “Melodies With Meaning,” “Stories Worth Telling Through Music” and “Messages Promoting Diversity of Thought.” And, on many of our songs, we seek to deliver the Therapeutic Value of Music; it impacts us all! (“If Talking doesn’t help, nor do the Congress and The Courts, maybe Music can!')  

Who are some of the musicians Frank K Music has worked with?

So I’ve been very lucky here: First, there is my very talented songwriting partner, Rayko,

Alex Wand a 2018 Grammy winner for his unique micro-tonal performances with Partch ensemble, is collaborating with Rayko and me on a unique kind of musical offering: Through our shared interest in esoteric elements that we share, we are creating Gratitude as a series of inspirational daily videos with music and trance elements; we intend for these offerings to provide a great starting place for listeners at every day’s start. Right now, we have completed roughs on the first two of what we envision as a seven-part series -- one for each day of the week. Stay tuned!  

Arif Hodzic has produced, arranged and sung on most of the stuff I’ve done. (He hung in through three re-writes in recording, re-recording and re-mixing You Gave Me Nothing with its ironic title until we got it just right. And it was great to have the sound textures of Jed Smith in the mix as well. Arif has also sung and added multiple instruments to a many of our songs. (By the way, Arif’s band Olio just bested all the competition to advance to the Beach Battle of the Bands Finals: I am so impressed with his group that has been together for 17 years and sounds like they just walked out of a frat party!)

Billy Hinschehas contributed to the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson on the road and in the studio for 30+ years – and who sang, played keys and guitars on all the Retro stuff we have done. Like songs California Souland Take Me Back in Time. And he’s provided such great guidance on the keyboard, 12-string guitar and arrangements. While encouraging us as we’ve gone worked through stuff to make it great!

Scott Page, former Pink Floyd, Supertramp and Toto road band member added such great Tenor sax licks to several of these songs! 

Michael Carey is another great Producer who delivered vocal and orchestral magic on one of our newest songs Broken (Open) Michael has also sung leads, while adding magical guitars to a number of our arrangements.

Tara King sang some of my first Girl “Crush” songs; when she’s not performing and offering her

own singing yoga process to singers. Tara’s songs include Please (Don’t) Seduce Me, a sensual romantic narrative, and Call or Hold or Hold The Phone, exploring teen crushes, among others. Tara and I also organize “Artists’ Night Out” – a regular music session in our “Music Cave” that provides a supportive environment for professional musicians trying out new musical material. 

Finally, I have another wonderful, high-profile singer friend who contributed to our music – while we have contributed songs to hers – who has remained anonymous until her new album is released. 

Tell me a bit about your work with the singer Rayko?  When did you two begin to work together?

Rayko and I began working together about two years; I collaborate with her on about 95% of my songwriting: We first met when I needed an artist to sing the controversially-titled song Yellow Fever, a song about Caucasian guys who are obsessed with Asian women. From first knowing of Rayko as a “Growling” singer in her symphonic rock band Lolita Dark, I was floored to learn of her musical gifts in so many more diverse genres – from Pop to Jazz to Classical Music. And remarkably different vocal and composition styles, “from ABBA to Zappa,” as she describes it, including singing in both English and Japanese. 

I learned that she had written two songs for the Amazon Prime network’s “Man In the High Castle,” had completed a Japan tour the prior summer, and was signed to a record label there, and had also done a bunch of film and music videos. And often performed with a symphonic orchestra backing her up!

In collaborating, Rayko and I typically meld the themes of varied conversations to come up with diverse and unexpected material. Describing herself an “Emotional Conduit” (she does not read music), Rayko continues to amaze me in that, upon reading the words I have written, says claims to immediately “See and Hear” the melody, arrangement and other parts to a song. (Should I be so lucky to have such a severe case of Synesthesia!)

Rayko moved to the US when she was just 13 to advance her music, has retained her interest in Japanese culture, and continues to perform in that language. She is also “Licensed” (What formality in that culture!)  as an Intermediate-level Tea Ceremony Assistant.

One of her newest songs is titled Gender Genocide, how did that song come about?

Rayko and I were talking about the issue of women’s abuse: The experiences she had seen with “Mighty Moguls’” in the music and entertainment business came pouring out. Based on these personal observations, I worked to refine Gender Genocide’s words; Rayko added the attitude and melodies; she and her husband Rain put together the pissed-off Rap section. Then, Rayko’s band, Lolita Dark, recorded it. With the goals of raising awareness, highlighting the issue of women’s abuse, shifting behavior and empowering women, we hope that Gender Genocide can become an “Anthem” for the movement. If you’ve seen or heard the song, we hope you’ll feel that we’ve put it all together!  

Does she have any upcoming concerts of performances?

Lolita Dark often plays Anime conventions; they appeared in Pasadena a couple weeks ago. They sometimes appear at Comic-Con. The band often plays locally at the Viper Room and other LA venues. 

In fact, here is an incredible story of Rayko’s involvement in likely saving the life of “The Power Ranger,” Jason David Frank, from an obsessed fan who had stalked him at Comic-Con; Rayko performed a brave service while putting herself at considerable risk.

What are your long-term goals for your music and your company?

We would like to continue on our path of making “Meaningful Music” – and expand our placements on TV, Films and Commercials, both here in the US and globally. Getting millions of YouTube views is certainly an objective. Along with a contract at Capitol Records. (With a Mic and Recorder – along with a great roster of collaborators (a couple are Grammy winners/nominees; everyone else should be…) – what could stop us?! HaHa! In the short-term, though, we would like to get Gender Genocide out there to millions.

What other projects are you currently working on?

We would like to expand our politically-themed songs: Parodies like Wouldn’t It Be Nice (No More Guns), a pointed satire of the Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” that highlights one of today’s top cultural divides. Sweet Little Fourteens about Roy Moore – who admitted having relationships with underage girls, Born In A WalMart – about Immigration… and My Unfavorite Things – a send-up of both Hillary and Trump that was performed at a political conference last year in front of 1500 attendees. (I did mention the Berkeley part, right?!)

Continuing the theme of conveying musically the Stories of our Life, we are working on Staying Alive – a song aimed at speaking directly and coherently to those who may be considering suicide.

Music is a powerful tool to unite all different types of people around a variety of issues. Franki K Music is doing just that to express not only his own voice but the voice of this generation. Frank, along with his co-collaborator Rayko, aim to awaken and unite this generation through influential and meaningful music. 

To find out more visit:  www.FrankiKMusic.com

Airain Balen

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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