Over the last year, 22-year-old Kevin Jordan Ries, lead guitarist of The Ries Brothers has ventured into the great unknown of solo dub production, releasing singles galore as Echoing Dream. In his latest infusion, Kevin perfectly blended components of dub, reggae, hip-hop, and masterful production to engineer his juiciest creation yet…“The Greater Divide,” featuring the rapping talents of Jesse Lee (Oogee Wawa) and James Begin (Tropidelic)! I had the pleasure of finding out more about the recent track, available this week on Friday, February 26, 2021, and discovered more about the culmination of this song and his newest side project.
David 360: How did the “dream” for Echoing Dream begin? Were you trying to differentiate yourself from The Ries Brothers who’ve become a staple in the reggae scene, without really being a reggae band? What made you decide to try a solo act where you showcase not only your vocals but reggae solo riffs and skills in production?
Kevin: I started the Echoing Dream project as a way for me to lay down all the heavier reggae ideas I’ve had over the past 5 years. The Echoing Dream sound is definitely different than The Ries Brothers sound, in a sense of there is a lot more roots-reggae and dub influence in this project than The Ries Brothers. So I wanted a side project to focus on dub, reggae, and production and also my guitar playing.
David 360: What inspirations attracted you towards the vibe of reggae-dub? I tend to relate how you’ve portrayed your production process and sound to that of Scott Woodruff (Stick Figure), which would be fantastic to watch you rise to that level of stardom, as you continue to define your sound and create more music.
Kevin: I have no doubt in my mind, this project wouldn’t exist without Scott Woodruff’s music. The album “Smoke Stack” unlocked my curious mind for reggae production. I talked to Scott about it and he told me that was one of the first albums that he used MIDI instruments on and that opened up this world for tighter production! Adam Young from Owl City is also one of my favorite producers in the electronic scene. Listening to the detail he puts in his music is mesmerizing.
Roots-reggae has been a huge influence on me as well for dub effects. King Tubby and Scientist are two of my favorite engineers. Listening to all their drum effects on their records is super interesting to me especially given they didn’t have any modern production software.
Rebelution was one of the first modern reggae bands I fell in love with. I remember putting on a compilation video of some of their songs and I couldn’t stop listening to it so I let the whole video play which was over two hours! From that day on I knew reggae music would be a part of my life forever.
David 360: Can you explain the production process and meaning of this new track specifically? What made you decide to try and successfully meld dub with two of the most talented American reggae rappers, mixing super calm and radiant melodies/vocals with insanely swift rhymes?
Kevin: The production process for this track specifically was the most challenging and also was the largest amount of tracks I’ve done, but was so much fun and definitely helped me grow as a producer. Whenever I sit down to write a new track, I usually just start with a drum track that feels good and then move to finding chords that set a mood or vibe. In this case, the music came pretty quick and I finished a basic track in a few hours. Most of the fancy production tools and effects are the last thing I like to do. I like to get all of the basic stuff laid down and make sure it sounds tight rhythmically, then, I will keep adding layers and effects to the rhythm.
I knew this track would be cool for some features in the hip hop style, and one of my favorites is Jesse Lee from Oogee Wawa. When he sent his verse it absolutely blew me away and I knew this track was going to be special! The second verse was filled by James Begin from the amazing Tropidelic, and James absolutely crushed his part and I’m so grateful to have these amazing artists on this track! This song was inspired by the world today and how everyone seems to be sticking to one side or the other, and unity is a distant memory. Music is the one thing in this world that has the power of bringing people together. One of my favorite lines in the song is when Jesse says “choosing a side is the greater divide,” which inspired the title.
David 360: What else can we look forward to in the near future for Echoing Dream? The Ries Brothers “Troubadour” video with Nathan Aurora was exceptionally done, and so was your music video with Kyle Ahern “Beautiful Dream.”
Yes! The solo that Kyle does on “Beautiful Dream” absolutely blew me away and I couldn’t listen to my solo after listening to his! Definitely have a lot more music coming this year! If you haven’t yet, check out my track “The World Is In Your Hands” Feat. Cydeways! I’m doing a track with Ian Gastle for his production group “The Autos” which will come out in March!
I’m always down to collab with artists and I love the creation process that happens during collaborations! Also I am producing a reggae remix for a Ries Brothers song with some big features so we are stoked to announce that as well!
After listening to “The Greater Divide” on repeat (and learning it was originally called “Taking Control”), I was mesmerized by the complex production aspects Kevin incorporated, in what I think is his best handiwork so far. I myself was blown away by the spit-roasted fire Jesse and James spat on their verses, reflecting on how Kevin’s experimentation could perfectly unite a diverse chilly dub rhythm and vocals, with the rush of both rappers’ explosive rhymes! Keep an eye out for this track release at the end of the week, and stay tuned to see more of Echoing Dream’s collaborative projects, on the rise with a brand new player in dub!
Click here for the pre-save you don’t want to miss: http://smarturl.it/swac0s
Florida fans of The Ries Brothers, don’t miss out if you’re in their area this week, performing with Badfish – A Tribute to Sublime!
2/24 – DeLand, FL Cafe DaVinci
2/25 – Ft Myers, FL The Ranch
2/26 – Stuart, FL Terra Fermata
2/27 – Cocoa, FL Cocoa Riverfront Park
2/28 – St Petersburg, FL Jannus Live
Dates with Tropidelic
3/10- Omaha, NE
3/11- Kansas City, MO
3/12- St Louis, MO
3/13- Springfield, MO
3/14- Tulsa, OK
4/10- Ries Brothers and Echoing Dream both have sets at Reggae On The Rock- Daytona Beach, FL
3/25- Ries Brothers Live Stream Concert
3/27- Ries Brothers @ Crazy Uncle Mikes in Boca Raton, FL