After achieving success as the frontman of modern rock band Painkiller Hotel, Aurora musician Kevin Presbrey decided to change musical directions.
In June, Presbrey released his solo debut, “Dust Unto Dust,” an album that reflects his acoustic roots. The album was produced by Ryan Hadlock, who produced The Lumineers’ platinum-selling debut.
Presbrey will perform Friday, Sept. 27, at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora. The show starts at 9 p.m., and there is no cover charge.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Presbrey about his change in musical direction and new CD.
Eric Schelkopf: How did you hook up with Ryan Hadlock?
Kevin Presbrey: I submitted some of my stuff to him, and he liked it. The Lumineers were just kind of in their beginning stages at that point.
Later in the process, as I was still talking to Ryan figuring out when we could get out to his studio and record, The Lumineers’ album went double platinum and they were up for a Grammy and all kinds of stuff.
But he still wanted to work with us. So, we went out to Bear Creek Studio near Seattle in March and worked for two weeks with him.
It was a great experience, and I’m really proud of the product and how it turned out.
ES: Some pretty big acts have recorded at Bear Creek Studio, including Soundgarden, James Brown and Eric Clapton.
KP: It’s pretty cool and pretty humbling at the same time, when you think about the names that have gone through there.
But the guys couldn’t have been cooler and more laid back and easy to work with. It was a joy ride going through there.
It was a very comfortable setting to record music. It was kind of this very rustic landscaped area, kind of in the foothills of the mountains outside Seattle, so it was a just very inspirational place to work.
It was a really great place for creativity. I can kind of see now why a lot of those bands loved to work there.
ES: What do you think Ryan brought to the table?
KP: He brought in some very good musicians, and he brought in a good perspective.
He kind of brought in the “less is more” approach, which I think is really important when you’re doing a record, not to overdo it, not to overproduce it.
That was the one thing we really connected on initially. We both kind of had the same idea in mind that we wanted to do something that was acoustic driven and songwriting based, and that was produced in a way that didn’t take away from the songs.
ES: You are really moving in a different musical direction than what you did with Painkiller Hotel.
KP: That band started out with me as a songwriter. I kind of formed Painkiller Hotel around me.
We were having a lot of success and a lot of good things were happening. But kind of toward the later stages of it, the direction just felt like it was going the wrong way for me.
It didn’t feel as honest any more. Ultimately, I just decided that it was time to put myself out there, put my name out there and put my life out there for everybody to see for themselves and not really hide behind the band name any more.