Dakota Sweet, an up-and-coming Rochester musician, is finding his voice — one genre at a time.

The “Innocence” EP by Sweet’s solo project, Kissing In Cars, was self-recorded and -produced over the pandemic-dampened summer.

“It was really, I think, a beneficial time for me,” Sweet said. “I had never had that much free time to work on something that I loved, which has, in a lot of ways, been a blessing.”

The cotton-candy-hued album art — and a new persona — have given Sweet a new mode of self-expression. Previously, the 19-year-old musician had headed up metalcore band No Pulse, which was influenced by Beartooth, Crown The Empire and Knocked Loose.

Kissing In Cars, however, counts Blink-182 and Halsey as influences for the five-song late-summer release.

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“It’s more of a taste,” Sweet said. “It’s being released with the knowledge that I will be releasing more music soon.”

Kissing In Cars and the “Innocence” EP are available on Spotify and Apple Music, with updates on Instagram @kissingincarsmusic.

So, how is quarantine finding you?

Quarantine gave me a lot of extra time, as it did for everyone. My family is all safe, we’re all well, so I haven’t had any exterior stress from it, so I’ve taken a lot of this time to write and record music. That’s what this EP is. It’s technically a COVID project, where I got out of school five months ago, we were in lockdown, and I (had) nothing better to do.

This isn’t your first foray into music — but how did you become interested in pop music and getting into that sound?

My other project, which is called No Pulse, is primarily metal, and it’s pretty heavy music. I wanted to explore different sides of music, as I listen to all types. I consider myself a pretty big fan of all types of genres, and I didn’t want to feel stuck in one type of sound. Kissing In Cars has become my outlet for pretty much everything else. The EP ranges from pop-punk to alt-rock to stuff that’s closer to just pop. I feel like I’ve been able to explore myself and my abilities much more when breaking down the barriers, instead of having to stay within a genre.

Is there anything that ties the EP together — an inspiration or theme?

I think it all draws a lot of inspiration from the parts of modern pop that I really enjoy. The way that they just produce their music where it isn’t just stuck on the formula of guitar base, drums and singing. Some of (the EP) is very instrumentally forward, some parts have guitars in it, some it’s acoustic and it’s barely there. The tying theme is, in reality, more of the pop sensibility to it. … I tried to look really deep into what those big artists are doing, because obviously, they’ve got it figured out. They’re big for a reason.

Did you learn anything from working in this genre?

Melody and melodic parts, within music that is softer, has to be a lot more strong. That was something that I found myself struggling with at times, until I found a curve. Whereas songs that I put out as No Pulse might only have choruses that have a very strong melody in them. Every single minute of this new stuff has to have a strong melodic element in them. There’s a thing with pop music and it being produced, with people calling it less “real” and important because it’s “not technical.” But there’s so much that goes into it than meets the eye.

How did you accomplish the self-production and release while at home?

I’ve been learning how to produce my own music since I was 15. It started with me just being a guitar player in a band, and it’d be sometimes easier to work by myself, so I learned how to play every instrument. And record, and mix and master — in a lot of ways, truthfully, to avoid the high costs of studios and other things. For a one-time cost, I could buy equipment instead of paying for hours in a studio. But it is, very obviously, not as good of a final product. We have a fantastic studio in town — Carpet Booth — and I would love to work with them in the future, once it becomes more financially viable.