While making his latest single, Jack Kieffer was at home, allowing melodies to download into his head. At his desk space, he glued his eyes onto the screen, and assorted chords into the song, “i hate that i’m addicted to the internet.” The new record speaks on self-awareness and the ways we perceive ourselves outside of external forces. Sonics from the 50s dreep onto the song, providing a contrast to Kieffer’s tech-centric narrative.
The singer’s musical style operates in an intimate space, tugging from his past as a former techno artist. Now, he has established his personal sound, and continues to reign in his purpose with his artistry. He spent the majority of his career perfecting his craft, and now, he has attached intentionality to his gifts.
Standing as a deeply introspective person, he spends time analyzing his relationship with himself through music, his environment, and social media. “i hate that i’m addicted to the internet” lets us into his world, allowing us to view the ways he gets to the root of his being.
Interviewer: Tell me about this new single, “i hate that i’m addicted to the internet.”
RM: I was in the shower and my brain was just like, ‘Make a 50s song.’ So that was my starting point. I listened to a ton of Doo-Wop on Spotify. I decided that I wanted to take the piano element and start with that. I'm making fun of myself, but I'm also saying something with it.
Interviewer: What is the origin of Restless Modern?
RM: Back in the day, I was making EDM stuff under a different alias. As I started evolving into more of a pop [sound], I wanted to just start writing and doing my own vocals. So at some point, I wanted to switch and get a new name, and the name actually came from The 1975. They have a remix done by Young Ruffian and I liked the vibe of that name for whatever reason. So I was like, ‘Let me just come up with something that's two words and kind of fits that vibe.’ So that's sort of where it all started. Funny story related to that- I'm now randomly working with the guy that commissioned that specific remix.
Interviewer: You’ve made quite the feat in your career. Over 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Does your future ever shine so bright to the point where it scares you?
RM: I think I have super big ambitions. So I would say no, but funnily, I'm married and my wife is seriously afraid that I'm going to get super famous and that people are going to start bothering her at work. One of my biggest long-term goals is to headline Lollapalooza, which is sort of full circle for me because I'm from outside of Chicago and that was my first concert experience. I'm definitely hoping to really take off and grow in size and scale.
Interviewer: I feel like powerful people who know their purpose and callings in life are tasked with great responsibility. That responsibility is promising and the future is filled with success, but having your ego boosted can be a scary thing. How do you overcome fear?
RM: I have constant self-doubt, but I'll also be like, ‘I'm gonna be one of the best artists of all time.’ I'm kind of looking forward to the ego boost initially, you know, cuz I've put out 70 songs. So, you know, it's just like, you put it out, nothing happens. You put it out and nothing happens. You put it out, nothing happens. It beats you down. I am looking forward to that moment when things are working and people are telling me that stuff is good instead of hating on it.
Interviewer: Your music is very introspective. Tell me about your relationship with self-awareness.
RM: I think self-awareness is one of the most critical pieces to self-development. I think it's very difficult to actually become self-aware. That's a painful process. And a lot of times there's negativity that is actually making your self-image seem worse in ways than it actually is. But then other things are maybe condoning pieces of yourself that shouldn't be condoned by friends. I think self-awareness is a lifelong journey, and probably best aided by other people. It's very hard to objectively view something that you're so close to, I mean, you're literally inside of it. And you have to understand also the biases of people around you, you know, because people might be gassing you up or tearing you down for reasons, you know, for their own insecurities, or because they want to be your friend or whatever. And so it's difficult to kind of gather all of the data and then get in you know, build an accurate picture.