Los Angeles-based artist Ronald Kaufman, better known to his fans as Kauf is ready to release his debut album Regrowth. After six singles, several Hype Machine topping tracks and an EP out in 2013, Kauf is prepping his most complete work yet.
It is about as smooth an album as you will hear this month that just like ice skater across a freshly-set rink from start to finish. It is not just one sound from start to finish though. There are atmospheric cuts like “Turning” and “Applauded” and then more upbeat, danceable songs like “A Ruin,” which has a bit of a RUFUS Du Sol vibe and “Let Slide.”
It features easy-going, soft and soaring guitars, his hazy vocals and alternating drums throughout the LP. It is a piece of work that begs to be listened to all the way through. We are happy to premiere the full album for you today before it comes out tomorrow. We also got a full breakdown of the album from Kauf. So if you want to hear exactly how the album came together, let him tell you and then he can explain exactly what went into each song.
“These songs were all written after moving across the country from South Florida suburbia, away from my family and where I grew up,” explains Kauf about the idea for the album. “Coming to LA and becoming completely financially independent from my parents was a big part of giving me a new perspective on my history and my past romantic relationships.”
This song is about childhood. The "Training for a battle" line is specifically a memory I have of playing video games and being told by my father to "Stop sitting in front of the tv and go outside and play." Looking back, I was wishing for him to be more interested in my inner life, what my hopes and dreams were, and help me figure out how to achieve them instead of telling me what he thought I should do with my life. The "savages" line is referring to us as kids getting into trouble and sneaking around, I believe, because many parents aren't open and honest enough with their children about what's out there in the world. They choose to make some things off-limits instead of taking the time to thoroughly educate their children and letting them choose. When kids are not under constant supervision they can go do what they want anyways.
"Lay on the lanes like the paragon" refers to my belief that children naturally want to be good and to help their parents, but when parents don't respect their children's desires and tell them to "do it because I said so" they wear down that natural inclination for goodness. This song has an optimistic chorus though, which is about helping each other to work through these issues and improve things for the next generation. We have so much more information at our fingertips about parenting these days that a lot can be forgiven simply because of a lack of knowledge back when my generation was growing up, but that doesn't mean I think parents shouldn't be confronted about the past.
"Key to Life:"
"I covered my mouth" - refers to keeping family secrets. There's a whole "blood is thicker than water" mantra that really bothers me. I don't think secrets should be kept if it's about something negative or traumatic that happened to you. The main "warn me you had the key to life" line refers to a bad joke that Bill Cosby made and was repeated jokingly by my parents (and many others) during my childhood - "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out." Wouldn't be so funny if you joked to your romantic partner that you could "take them out" yet somehow it is considered funny for parents to say. This song was written before all the recent allegations against Bill Cosby, but I think it makes it more poignant for me.
This song is about achieving real love. The metaphor of the 'wolf child' roughing it out in the wilderness is supposed to represent how difficult it is to objectively & accurately look at your history and gain self knowledge, so you can have healthy and positive relationships. The bright full moon is the goal, casting light to curb the darkness and guide the way. In the lyrics there is doubt that my efforts are working sometimes, but this song came from a more optimistic place.
'A Ruin' comes from looking back on a previous relationship and accepting my own shallowness - a willingness to forgo my values, or what I claimed were my values, for physical attraction/sex. I was impossibly unaware of this at the time and had convinced myself that things would eventually get better, like I could change the other person into what I was really looking for. I was, of course, sorely mistaken.
This one's about not being fully honest in a relationship and how even if things appear fine on the surface (chorus: "we never fight") there can be secrets or things being avoided in order to keep the relationship going. The line 'tongues tied in the limestone' refers to how your whole history with the person, and even before that with your family & friends etc, can all contribute to this inability to be fully honest.
It's about the photocopying of problems that happens through generations of parents passing down their issues to their children, which leads to problems in your romantic relationships later on, like codependency - "hold on like a cross". "Mastered an arc" encapsulates this. "Quick touch" refers to how sex can be used as a drug to gloss over problems in the beginning of a relationship but eventually that fades and the problems remain. "Turning in the fog" is that feeling of confusion and frustration when you're in a relationship like that, and also refers to this cycle of blindness.
It's basically about getting too comfortable as you get older and gain some success or self knowledge. I feel like success in one area can sometimes lead to denial or procrastination in other areas, but the body & unconscious part of the brain are always there to remind us if we're doing that. That's what the reference to sleep is about - "sleep for once, you're gold". I've had some difficulty sleeping in the past and I'm pretty sure it was because of other issues I wasn't addressing, causing massive anxiety.
This song came from an ongoing discussion with my boyfriend about how much good we are doing in the world. Are we living up to our own standards and using our time wisely? Can I really reach people and connect/make an impact with music to the extent that I'd like to? I'm always trying to fast-forward to my death-bed in my mind and make sure I'm happy with what I see when I look back.
"Through the Yard:"
"If you make a little noise" is about speaking out against commonly held beliefs - going against the grain. I think disagreements are where individuation occurs and in this song I'm questioning the belief that love is some unexplainable magical thing that happens randomly between two people. On the contrary, I think romantic love is very much a direct response to a person's actions - their virtue/character (in addition to some physical attraction of course :). So the song is about shedding false love and finally achieving what I believe to be real love in my current relationship!