Although Kiehl Carlquist studies film in the Media School, his hidden talent and passion is shown through music.
In his first solo album, “Inside,” Carlquist takes listeners on a musical journey through the last two years of his life at IU. His synth-pop music is created electronically and is available on iTunes and Spotify, as of Sept. 21.
The six tracks on the album were created entirely by Carlquist, including the vocal and synth work. The songs share Carlquist’s feelings at different moments in his life and communicate things he’s passionate about, he said.
“If I’m going to say something that I want people to listen to, it better be something that’s worth saying,” Carlquist said. “I want it to be something worth hearing.”
Carlquist explained each of the tracks has a distinct sound to it. Some of them are more simplistic, with few instruments involved, and others have a more complicated sound.
“A lot of the songs don’t really correlate in terms of theme or idea,” Carlquist said.
Although the tracks are different, Carlquist said he realized they are all connected because they all came from what he was experiencing internally. This is the reason he named the album “Inside.”
“I wanted to say, ‘what’s inside my head, what’s inside my brain, what’s going on?’” Carlquist said.
This idea of conveying Carlquist’s inner emotions was translated into the album artwork. The artwork was created by IU student Paige Hazelett, and it features a brain with flowers growing out of it.
“The flowers represent what is the fruit of what’s inside my head, which is the music,” Carlquist said.
Although the songs are about his experiences, Carlquist said he wants the music to be about itself, rather than about himself, which is why he gave himself the alias Ribbons.
“I think it’s more important that it’s about the music than about my personal identity,” Carlquist said.
He said he chose the word Ribbons for his pen name because there is no real connotation with that word. Carlquist said when people hear the word "ribbons," he wants them to associate it with his music.
Carlquist first started to explore music as a child. He said he would make random sounds and write simple songs. From making beats with pots and pans, Carlquist eventually learned to play the drums.
In high school, he was the drummer for the Chicago-based band Everything Says. He improved his vocal skills from years of choir and one year of professional vocal training. After moving to Bloomington to attend IU, Carlquist left the band and went solo.
“Being at school here was kind of me being on my own for the first time musically,” Carlquist said.
He said he realized he did not know as much about music as he first believed. Because of this, he started to take music classes and create music electronically.
Carlquist said being a film composer has been a dream of his for some time, but he's more interested in the musical side of film than any other aspect. At first, he said he thought of this goal as unrealistic, but he’s determined to figure out a way to reach his musical goals.
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