Harvest Profile: Karina Rykman

Harvest Profile: Karina Rykman

By Adam Bowie

If you’re new to Karina Rykman’s music, you may be forgiven. Even though the New Yorker has already released a series of catchy singles, which have earned more than a million streams already, she’s currently promoting her forthcoming full-length debut. That’s set to be released on Aug. 18.

Rykman, who plays bass and sings, makes music that has been described as indie-pop, though she also has ties to the jam band world. Fellow Harvest headliner Trey Anastasio performs on her new album, and she used to play bass in Marco Benevento’s band. Over the years, she’s opened for bands like Vulfpeck, Guster, Khruangbin, Dispatch and others.

Now, she’s slated to bring her high-energy performance style to the Barracks Tent on Sept. 15.

For many years, Harvest has had a reputation for booking acts just before they explode into the stratosphere of the global music industry. There’s a good chance that Rykman is on a similar path.

We asked the talented artist to take a few minutes for some get-to-know-you kind of questions. We’re so glad she obliged.


AB: What song are you currently obsessed with?

KR: I’m obsessed with “Like The Sun” by Tanukichan right now. Thick fuzz bass, haunting female vocal, entrancing melodies?! Sign me up!

AB: What three things are always in your fridge?

KR: Eggs, ginger shots, sriracha.

AB:Name a book, or any other piece of writing, that’s important in your life.

KR: Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. I think every musician should read it.

AB: When you think about the music you heard as a child, who was choosing the song or selecting the radio station, and what kinds of stuff were they picking?

KR: My dad’s a philosopher and listened to a lot of classical music while he was writing when I was growing up. That definitely was most of what I heard around the house until I developed my own interest in rock and roll.

AB: What’s the most interesting or memorable place you’ve visited in your travels?

KR: Either Japan or Iceland! Both are incredible and I can’t believe I’ve gotten the opportunity to play music in both places. Eagerly awaiting my return! 

AB: What’s more important – talent or work ethic? Why?

KR: Option C: Charm! Just kidding. Work ethic always wins. A combination is ideal.

AB: If you had to cook for someone, what are you making and will they be complimenting you afterwards?

KR: I’m making a rare steak, oven roasted vegetables, a salad, and rice. They’re surprised I know my way around a kitchen while also wondering why we didn’t go out for dinner. 

AB: What’s a TV show or movie that you’ve watched a dozen times?

KR: Mr. Deeds, the 2003 Adam Sandler comedy. I’ve probably watched it over 100 times. I’ve definitely seen every Seinfeld episode atleast a dozen times….I’d take the over, really.

AB: Is there an artist that you think deserves more recognition for the inspiring work that they do?

KR: There’s an astronomical amount of artists so extraordinarily fantastic that will never be paid the proper amount of attention. It’s a very difficult pill to swallow and makes you grateful for every gig, every moment. Nothing is given to us. I’m very sensitive to the fact that there are so many incredible working musicians that will never get their due.

AB: If you could thank someone for a helping hand they offered or a piece of advice they delivered when you needed it, who would it be, and how did they help?

KR: Ah man, I have more of these than I can count. I’ve been extremely blessed to have so many mentors in my life. Trey Anastasio said to me, on the subject of writing lyrics, “words are everything, but you don’t have to say anything important”. That’s such a liberating thought. And much easier said than done. I’m in the midst of parsing through so many lyrics right now, and that simple phrase is always ringing in my head as I work and re-work. Thanks, Trey!

AB: Is there an example of what you’d consider a perfect song? For example, I might suggest George Jones’ “She Thinks I Still Care,” or Lauryn Hill’s “X-Factor” are perfect songs.

KR: There are so many, and I can’t explain why “The Things We Do For Love” by 10cc is the first thing that comes to mind. The second is “Oh! Darling” by the Beatles.

AB:What’s a goal that you have for yourself in this business? Maybe you want to make an album at a certain studio, or with a certain producer. Maybe you have a venue in mind that you’d like to sell out, or a festival you want to play. Maybe there’s an artist you want to work with. Anything like that?

KR: I have no lofty goals or expectations that could be quantified in tickets or records sold or traditional accolades or anything like that. My goal is to keep going – to keep playing live and keep making records. The way a degenerate gambler wants to stay at the blackjack table for as long as possible? That’s how I feel about playing music with my friends. And sharing that indescribable joy that I feel with other people, creating something larger than ourselves and beyond the boundaries of performer and audience member. And the second it becomes not fun anymore? I’m out.