In person, Jeffrey Konrad is a laid-back, unassuming guy.
But in the studio and on stage, the Rock Island performer becomes simply Konrad, an electronica musician with oversized eyeglasses who combines a melange of sounds into a power-pop sound.
“On the pop end of things, but not pop in the bubble-gum sense,” he explains. “The pop singer-songwriter verse-chorus structures are there.”
Konrad will debut his second album “Shadow Boxing” with a CD release party Friday — his 37th birthday — at Rozz-Tox in Rock Island.
In his studio for his own Radical Turf records, Konrad combines the sounds of a synthesizer, loop pedals and a laptop with sampling from various musical and non-musical sounds as well as his own voice. He said he’s received comparisons to The Eels, Russian Futurists, Of Montreal, Beck and other singer-songwriters with heavy electronic influences.
“It’s kind of a presentation as well as a performance,” he explained. “It’s a matter of triggering sounds and mixing them as I’m performing them.”
Although Konrad is introducing “Shadow Boxing” with the Friday show, it was released to radio stations in the middle of last month and is on sale from online retailers. Last week the College Music Journal, or CMJ, debuted his album as No. 170 on its top-200 list.
“That’s exciting for us because it’s getting played by radio stations around the country,” said Konrad, who has hired a Georgia-based promotion company to get the work out about his album nationwide.
He expects it to climb higher on the CMJ charts this week and is already making plans to tour in college towns where the album is played on student radio stations, as well as in Chicago, St. Louis and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Konrad was born in Davenport and raised in the west part of the city, moved to Pleasant Valley High School and then went to Augustana College, Rock Island, for his music degree.
He’s been writing and recording original music since 1995 and has kept working steadily since then. In a combined effort with Future Appletree Records, his Radical Turf produced compilation albums of artists that were released in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
Besides Konrad, he has released an album of more electronica and experimental work called Robot USA.
His post-college career has included working for several radio broadcasters in the Quad-Cities. He’s currently engineer and technician for WKBF (1270 AM), the Bettendorf-based all-Spanish station known as “La Jefa.”
He said there are many overlapping aspects of radio and recording.
“If you work in a recording studio it doesn’t mean you can work at a radio station, but it’s a similar mindset to solving problems and trying to find the chain of events to solve what needs to be fixed or upgraded,” he said.
“Shadow Boxing” includes samples of such diverse sounds as doorbells, video arcade music and Charlie Sheen’s “Winning!”
The album took about two years to complete and is a reflection of his music collection, which has every form of sound delivery from vinyl albums to mp3s.
“It kind of spans the genres and the decades for me,” Konrad said. “Whatever I can get my hands on is good.”