Interview with Ritt Momney

Evolution is a tricky topic, especially in Utah. And if you were to name your band after the most famous Mormon in the country, you might assume that a lot of controversy would come with it. But local band Ritt Momney hasn’t found that to be the case. Yet.

With that said, it’s impossible to talk about this indie rock/pop group without noticing the transformations they’ve undergone since the band started 3 years ago. Only one original member remains, they have found a new age niche and taken Spotify’s bedroom pop playlists by storm. K-UTE Radio’s Jackson Card and Max Becker sat down with the up and coming group to talk about the creative process, future plans, and life in general. With a California tour coming up and an album in the works, it looks like this could be a breakout year for Ritt Momney.

New Beginnings

The current iteration of Ritt Momney, consisting of Jack Rutter on vocals/guitar/keys, Jonas Torgersen on guitar, Noah Hamula on bass, Auden Winchester on keys, and Sam Olson on drums, has only been together for a couple months. They found each other in classic Small Lake City fashion: childhood connections and high school parties. As Jack put it, “It was just kind of a string of people pulling each other along.”

Their memorable name came up during a jam session but was not borne of any particular feeling for the former presidential candidate. “It was not thought out at all, whatsoever. If we would have known [the band] was going to be this big of a deal, we definitely would have thought it out more. We like to keep it really neutral. We don’t want to be trashing on him or loving him either.” The name seemed a better fit for their initial style but the group doesn’t mind shaking expectations. “I’d rather have an odd fitting band name than a too fitting band name… It gets people talking about us.”

People are Talking

The hype around Ritt Momney has been growing steadily over the past year. They now have 100,000 monthly listeners (per Spotify) and generate more listeners in Los Angeles and Chicago than in Salt Lake City. Their unique blend of classic indie themes and chord structure, electronic production elements, and Jack’s signature croon has led to an explosion of popularity since “Something, in General” hit streaming services in 2018.

Their music takes on an undeniably endearing quality without being trite and it resonates deeply with listeners. That authenticity stems from their personable songwriting process.

Creating a New Sound

After the initial band left in 2018, Jack realized he could craft the band’s sound in a totally different way than before. “I’d gotten better enough at producing so that I could do my own stuff just on my computer at home. It’s so much easier to just use the electronic stuff because I can’t play drums at all but you can quantize it in logic. So that was somewhat convenience but also taste, I guess. I think we all agree the super basic indie rock feel of “Young Adult” and those earlier songs is just straight down the middle of indie rock. I think we all like the newer stuff better. Like more electronic, more experimental stuff.”

For as much credit as the band wants to give him for his brilliant writing, Jack concedes that he couldn’t do it alone. “Sending it to these guys and having them critique it is such a big part of [the process]… [and] the jam sessions kind of bring the songs life, make them different. When we’re trying a bunch of stuff… everybody’s had their input through just jamming together and thinking up parts.”

Art Over Business

The band runs the gambit on influences (from Feist to King Gizzard to James Blake) so the final output is never what you’d expect but it flows together seamlessly. Even at their live shows, the band doesn’t play exactly what’s on Spotify or Soundcloud. “[The music] kind of changes every show honestly just cause something might sound better the day before the show when we’re practicing it and then we put it in. We don’t have the attention spans to just play the same songs over and over. We kind of just want to switch it up for the sake of switching it up.”

Keeping it fresh is a crucial piece of Ritt Momney; in their music and their shows. They don’t want to sacrifice their creative freedom to appease fans or a label. As idealistic as that sounds, maintaining autonomy over their sound is a main priority for Jack, saying, “I think down the road, I definitely don’t want to ever be business over art.” Their sound is still developing and is going to continue to evolve as the group moves out of their teens and the confines of their hometown. Some A&Rs have reached out but the band isn’t ready to enter that stage of the process just yet. They’ve only just begun exploring what Ritt Momney could be and they don’t want to ruin the magic with industry pressure.

Future Plans

The group has plenty on their plate with four California tour dates this month, a South by Southwest performance in March, an opening gig for Death Cab for Cutie this May, and an album set to be released this summer. Jack’s been working on the album for a while but doesn’t want to commit to a release date just yet.

“I need to stop being such a perfectionist about it cause I just spend way too much time like, ‘Oh no, I need to figure this out’ or ‘I don’t like that anymore, I’ll just scrap it.’ So hopefully the rate at which I’m finishing songs will start picking up. I wouldn’t say we have a timeline but definitely this year. 100% this year. Should be before the end of the summer. Like 95% before the end of the summer.”

Ritt Momney has shown their ability to evolve and defy expectations, so however long the wait, I’m sure it will be worth it!

Artist Spotlight: CJSleeves

Here at K-UTE, we make it a point to support our local artists of all genres. We believe that each and every one of these artists has something to bring to the table and has a chance at success. One such artist that is particularly talented is Provo, Utah’s CJSleeves. The young rapper has a lot of potential and definitely deserves to be listened to by a large audience.  

Background  

If you are unfamiliar with CJSleeves, you won’t be for long. According to the man himself, he got his rap name by using his initials of CJ and adding “sleeves” after a teammate on his high school basketball team referred to the sleeves that would show under his jersey during games. Sleeves also likes to say that the latter part of his name refers to the fact that he is very honest in his music and “wears his heart on his sleeves”.

CJSleeves first started writing music in 7th grade, but didn’t really take it as serious until his high school years. One of the biggest things that he thought of when starting to make music was that he wanted to have the effect on others that his favorite artists left on him while he was growing up. Some of his biggest artistic influences include Machine Gun Kelly, Chance The Rapper, J. Cole, and Childish Gambino. If he could collaborate with one artist right now, he would choose Lukas Graham. He also cited the late Mac Miller as a dream collaboration (RIP Mac).

He has made over 100 songs in 5 years but has only released about 30 of them. His debut mixtape Junior Varsity was released on Soundcloud during his senior year of high school. He plans on dropping a few projects this year as well because he’s enjoying making music more now than he ever has before.          

Why you should give him a chance

If you can’t tell by now, CJSleeves is an artist that genuinely cares about the music he puts out. He doesn’t release everything he records, but that isn’t a bad thing at all. This is an artist that truly gives the music he creates his all. All of the hard work will pay off for him once he is able to help others through music and have a positive impact on others lives.

In regards to his rapping ability, this kid has skills. If you’d prefer to check him out for yourself rather than hear my opinion, check out the section below to see where you can find his tunes.    

Where you can hear his music

CJSleeves has quite a few tracks available on Soundcloud, including his brand new self-produced single “Paean (Alright)”. On the track (which is accompanied by a music video), Sleeves gets into some real-life struggles that are very relatable to young people. Sleeves said of the track “It speaks on the pressures of being in your early 20’s and having all kinds of decisions to make, but how even through that, I’m happy”. This one has been in constant rotation for me, and I’m sure the same will be true for you.

Check out his project Junior Varsity on Soundcloud for more of that real spill courtesy of a fresh Utah artist. Stay tuned for more new music coming soon.

What’s next?

This should be quite obvious, but CJSleeves isn’t going to quit pursuing his dreams. Right now he’s making more music than ever and is ready to drop some new projects and make a splash in 2019. If you enjoyed his music, follow him on Instagram @cjsleeves and show him some love.

Review: Talia Keys “Fool’s Gold”

Talia Keys’ Fool’s Gold album is soulful collection to be reckoned with. With songs she has developed and created over the past 8 years, each has unique tone, while seamlessly working together. In other words, none of her songs sound the same. Keys’ powerhouse of a voice has the range from grind and grit to the soft and soothing, which can be heard of in each of the songs. The convictions of emotions are heard right off the first track Help Me, and a softer tone is heard in Intergalactic Crime Scene. Politics combines jazz and rock, and to close out Fight With Love uses everything from trumpets and sax, to classic guitars and bass. Her lyrics express her opinions clearly with a variety of topics and issues. She is now pursuing a solo career, and with that she is able to connect more through her music. Openly bisexual, she uses her talent and artistry to make a name for herself and a figure for the LGBT community. In the song Help Me, she describes discrimination in its forms of sexuality, gender, and even race.  No Justice No Peace also equally shows her fighting activist spirit. From the lyrics, to the recordings which are basically live, everything you hear Keys’ soulful magic. Some of her lyrics can be explicit, however they add to the expressive emotion. Keys’ entire album is raw. Fool’s Gold is a progressive, soul-rock album and worth a listen.