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PopCulturez Q&A Fridays: Dr. Folkman – Americana With Touch of Kafka!

PopCulturez.Com: Welcome to PopCulturez, can you start by introducing yourself?

My name is Kevin Scott Feldman, I play under the alias, better known as, Dr. Folkman…. I live in Claremont, California, and was born and raised on the westside of Los Angeles. I am the songwriter/singer/slide guitar man for the musical act, Dr. Folkman… a blues, country, folk, americana music act.

PopCulturez.Com: OK, so who or what inspired you to do what you do?

There are two things generally speaking that inspire me. First, music, and how much I am in love with it, in all its wonderful forms. I am a huge fan of music, the blues particularly, the Old Delta Slide guitarists like Mud, Robert Johnson, Skyp James (who is a personal favorite) to rock n roll, The Beatles (John Lennon and Georgie), Keith and Mick, Jimmy and Robert, Hendrix, Dylan, Young, Cooder, to Reggae, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Toots, Bradley, to alternative music, Nirvana, Beck, STP, Pearl Jam, Alice n Chains, Rage, JANE’S, Pixies, Radiohead, to the Country, Hank Williams Sr., Mr. Cash, Mr Nelson, Mr. Haggard, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Waits, to the modern-day Americana scene, starting with Ben, adding Trucks and Tedeschi, Robert Randolph, John Buter Trio, Avett Bros., Mumford, Mr. Tweedy, to the strip rock of Mr. White, Mr. Auerbach… There is just so much to love about music, it is almost endless. I am obsessed with adding to the canon of wonderful music.

The second part, and this is more important to the idea of Dr. Folkman, is Franz Kafka. Franz, a jewish lawyer working in Czech Republic, wrote about stories that were transformative of the individual, in the sense that one day you were who you are, and the next day you could be somebody or something completely different. He was a lawyer, but his writings are what have come to define him and his legacy. Dr, Folkman, or any alias, rapper or otherwise, is the embodiment of this kafkaesque moment in life. When you wake up and you’re a beetle, or maybe a member of the Beatles, or, in my case, a songwriter, this metamorphosis can be a reality. Think, like Snoop Lion (Snoop Dogg embracing rastafarianism and becoming Snoop Lion). Kafka inspires me to believe that what I do in music means more than the sum total of its perception by others, as writing was for him, or like starving was for the Hunger Artist.

Music is a visceral experience, and I try to bring that out in the music I play. Not a disconnect from the tragedy, but a way to bridge the gap between the viewer and what they see or hear into something entertaining, dark, and beautiful. Dr. Folkman is that bridge, so they see a songwriter instead of a Hunger Artist or a Beetle. There is a strange, almost uncanny connection between Kafka and a jewish lawyer wanting to be a songwriter bluesman. It reeks of tragedy, but in a beautiful way. Kafka’s personal story continues to inspire me to be a songwriter, regardless of the tragic outcome, because you can’t help the fact that you’re just an ugly beetle, or a broke fiction writer, or a bluesman songwriter…

PopCulturez.Com: What are you working on right now, can you tell us about that?

Right now, I am writing a new album and testing the songs out with the crowds before I commit to a full album. So, I am actively trying to play a lot, and hopefully generate some buzz around the new material. I have an early single release, one of the songs is on my press page and website at reverbnation.com, and, I am just enjoying playing music and being creative, indulging in how far I’ve come as a songwriter and live performer.

PopCulturez.Com: With so much competition around these days, what do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?

It’s hard to boil down to one quality. I have to say that, personally, I think its my (darkish) voice matched with the old-timey melodies and key changes I work into the music, with simple contemplative lyrics. It’s unique music, but old-fashioned at the same time.

I also believe that I am more than simply a musician songwriter. I am not some young teenage kid who is given money and fame and adulation and then set out to sea with a heap load of talent, and asked to write deep songs about heart-break, the meaning of life, or the Blues. It’s almost amazing to me, at times, how disconnected all musicians have become from the fact that wisdom is a virtue in almost every great song (structurally or content). Even Jay-Z’s really great lyrics have a grain of wisdom in. Kids don’t have wisdom to offer through their songs, they have a good beat and sweet melody, but does anybody really learn anything about themselves from a Taylor Swift album? Whereas take a gander at Steve Malkmus’s album that was produced by Beck. His lyrics and melodies, simply put, are amazing!!! Or check out some of Mumford or the Avett Bros catalogue, I think good music hopefully stands out to the more sophisticated musicphiles, no matter what.

I am a man with a life story, much like Franz’s, with true loss and heartbreak, with true triumphs and rewards, earned in the American Way – by the sweat of one’s brow – playing Open Mics, to booking gigs, to playing the shitty pubs and venues, to having to pay to play. By suffering loss and having success, for being an actual outcast, I do feel that my songs and ideas have a lot for folks of all ages to connect with, to look at more than just a sweet hook and pretty key change.

But, I do believe music has got a huge tradition, and is a big enough stage with enough fans that all can shine.

PopCulturez.Com: What would you like your legacy to be?

That I was a brave man, that I went after what I wanted in life, and that my music was honest. That I was a great songwriter worthy of his accolades, with a unique story to tell.

PopCulturez.Com: If there was just one message or lesson that you could leave for future generatins, what would it be?

Courage and Hope. That if you take risks in life, in terms of chasing what you want, whatever that is, and if you work hard and don’t give up, that something good will always come of it. And don’t buy into what your family and culture think is best for you, have your own ideas and your own thoughts. Do what’s in your heart, and have the inner strength to chase your dreams. To be an individual, in whatever one decides to do.

PopCulturez.Com: Finally, where can people catch you, either in-person or online?

The Trio is playing December 1st, 2012 at TRiP in Santa Monica, 9pm – Free Cover – and the World Famous Whisky a Go a Go, December 16, at 7pm – All ages, $10 cover.

Check out all the songs for download for FREE at reverbnation.com/drfolkman as well as videos from old shows. Check out Dr. Folkman on Facebook for cool fan updates!!

PopCulturez.Com: Thanks for your time, but before we go, is there anything more that you would like to add?

Thank you to my band, the Dr. Folkman Trio, Jeremy Lopez, bassist, and Dany King (Irish Voodoo Records) drummer, for being great friends and rhythm section. Thanks to Olivia and David at “I am Pr” for setting up the interview and loving the music. Ryan Canestro at Dtich Road Records, Eamon Ryland, my Mom, and most importantly, One Love!!!

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you unmasked, it has no choice, it will [rock n] roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

- Franz Kafka

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