Q: The band is AMAZING and the lead singer’s vocals are INCREDIBLE! It’s like a mixture of Alex DeLeon from The Cab and Gavin DeGraw. Has that soulful touch to it, which is one of the reasons why “Lucy” had my soul dancing out of my body. That’s how good it is. How were you able to write and create something so magnificent and breathtaking like “Lucy”?
MUSIC BY KOTA: It’s funny, really. We were playing a show one day, and at soundcheck Bryton, our drummer, said we should do a song with a cool bass line. I started playing the bass line to what is now “Lucy” and the whole band jumped in. The only lyrics I could think of on the spot were “Lucy, why you gotta be so rude.” I then took the idea home and went deeper with it. The song to me illustrates so many circumstances that we come across in life; the idea of wanting something that we don’t have. All that tied with a cool bluesy chord progression in the chorus. It was pretty easy for us to pick this song as our first release as a band.
Q: The thing I love about “Innocence” is that it’s relatable because I’m sure some of us was afraid to get out into the world at some point. What effect do you want this song to have on people?
MUSIC BY KOTA: I hope that the song shows that it’s okay too fall off the right track every once in a while, it happens to all of us. The important part is how we deal with it and where we go afterwards.
Q: So much emotion in the song “Casualties” and it had me on the edge of my seat. What was the energy like when writing this song?
MUSIC BY KOTA: This song was super fun to write and was truly a collaborative effort. I initially came up with the chord progression one morning and the verses. Later, the whole band came over and stayed at my place for a weekend and everyone got to put their own element in; this is what made the song so great.
Q: “Legacy” is such a beautiful song. Is there a reason why it’s last on the EP?
MUSIC BY KOTA: “Legacy” is the oldest song on the EP. I wrote that song probably 2 years ago at a time where I felt I was really coming into who I was going to be as a person. The song is about growing up and becoming who you’re meant to be while still holding onto your roots. To me, this was the perfect closer to the EP.
Q: You moved to Memephis to further your music career. What change has Memphis made to all of your personal lives and music careers? What is all of your favorite things about Memphis?
MUSIC BY KOTA: Something that I realized a long time ago was that in order to grow in any way, you have to leave what was familiar. Us moving our music to Memphis allowed us to start fresh in a whole new demographic of people. Being able to say we are a Memphis-based band is incredible. The community and support for everyone in this city is incredible and has opened doors to new opportunities as well!
Q: You guys went to the same school and have been playing together for years. From the beginning to now, how has the relationship been? What remained the same? What changed?
MUSIC BY KOTA: What works best about the band is that we are all best friends! We were friends before we were band mates and that’s what makes us work. Our playing style has evolved into a well-oiled machine. We can easily read each other on stage and know exactly what each other is going to do next.
Q: Why is the group called, “Music By Kota”?
MUSIC BY KOTA: When I originally moved to Memphis, I had this idea of pursuing a solo project. With my name being Dakota, having the artist name KOTA only made sense. It didn’t take long for me to miss the camaraderie of the band dynamic. There is something magic that happens when you get to collaborate with not only minded musicians, but your best friends. We just kept the name KOTA and threw “Music by” in front of it.
Q: Do you have anything to say to your new and current listeners?
MUSIC BY KOTA: If you’re new, welcome! We hope that you can relate to the music and stories we are putting out, that’s all that matters to an artist. If you are a fan, you literally mean the world to us! Thank you so much for listening to our music, coming to our shows and just hanging out! This is only the beginning for us, we have so much in the works and have so much in store! See you soon!
Interviewed by Taylor Berry