After releasing their self-titled album in February and completing a US tour in May, KIVEN is one busy band. Thankfully, the band’s lead vocalist, Tyler Demorest, was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions for Planet Stereo.
Planet Stereo: I have to ask, what does KIVEN mean/stand for and how did the name come about?
Tyler Demorest: It’s cool we get this question a lot [laughs]. The name Kiven came about through an inside joke with our good friend and old drummer Ted. Long story short: he had a jerk neighbor named Kevin so we named the band in spite of him. The thing is, I’m of the opinion almost every band name sucks until you make something of it. We liked the name Kiven because there weren’t any attached meanings, so the definition of Kiven was our blank canvas to paint as a project.
PS: How did you all get together?
TD: We were lucky enough to meet while attending college although I had previously met Dan through a summer camp for guitar geeks haha. We jammed together a ton throughout that summer so it was pretty natural to start collaborating again once we got to the same college. Next Matt joined the band in 2010 follow by Jake in 2012. The band really caught focus after graduating and is now our full time effort.
PS: How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
TD: That’s always a difficult question… sonically, we like to say it’s rock music but I think it’s a bit different than just straight ahead rock. We get heavy, but throughout the album there are more intimate spacious songs that explore those kinds of interests we have as well. Our influences come from all over the place but we come together and focus really on the musicality of our compositions. There’s a lot of dynamics and different arrangements throughout the record so we’d like to think you can stay entertained while listening to the entire album.
PS: You released your self-titled album at the end of February. Can you walk me through the creative process
TD: We’re a very collaborative band and find it’s extremely important to write songs that focus on the composition and how each instrument can interact with each other. When writing this album, we’d all get in a room and just press go; slowly shaping and chipping away at each song until we felt they were at a place worthy of recording. At the time of writing the album, we were all lucky enough to be working day jobs in the industry – but the balance of working while still dedicating 100% of yourself to your craft was quite challenging. When we started, we really sat down and committed ourselves to dedicating our time to this project. It was our first full length so we really wanted to make sure it was as perfect as it could be in our eyes. We’d write songs, re-write them twice, record them, the re-write em again… but it was all worth it. Pulling long days and longer nights eventually felt normal particularly when recording as we’d go in and track instruments after working all day and were pretty comfortable with getting home during that blurred time when night becomes morning. A lot of people don’t realize the time and effort it takes to put together a full length record haha. It was nice to really paint a complete picture of what Kiven represents and sounds like with 13 tracks. In the past it’s just been EPs and we felt we were never able to truly put out the whole picture. So this full length to me and many others is our first real effort and it’s been amazing listening to the feedback and playing these songs on the road.
PS: Did you go into recording with a specific theme/concept in mind?
TD: Not really, just that we wanted to create a full album that supported the diversity in our writing style. We weren’t looking to create 13 songs trying to be the radio single but rather paint the first completed picture of what Kiven represented to each of us at the time which is why we decided to keep the album self titled.
PS: Do you have a favorite track from the album?
TD: This answer changes all the time [laughs] but I find myself coming back to One By One fairly often. It takes you on a bit of a journey of everything Kiven going from spacious soundscapes to heavy sections in odd meter to groove ridden verses with a melodic chorus colored by thick harmonies.
PS: How have crowds been responding to the new material?
TD: It’s been awesome. We’ve gotten to really tour for the first time off this record and we’ve really enjoyed the experience. These songs are difficult but extremely fun to be live.
PS: “I Can Take It” has been circulating on the airwaves right now. What is it like to hear yourselves on the radio?
TD: It’s exciting for sure. Hearing our songs on stations I listened to growing up everyday is an incredibly rewarding experience.
PS: What is so special to you about “I Can Take It”?
TD: “I Can Take It” is actually the only song we did on the album with a producer. We were lucky enough to work with Tony Hajjar of At The Drive-In / Sparta on this track and I’ll never forget that experience. They were some of my favorite bands growing up so being able to collaborate with Tony and create something under the guise of my own project was a memory I’ll never forget.
PS: Do you have any advice for young musicians who want to pursue a career in music full-time?
TD: Only two things…. First, to play together with your bandmates. Really listen to the parts you’re writing, the tempos you’re feeling, risks you’re all taking and ideas coming out of thin air. Really embrace the human element of creation and you’ll be happy with the music you’re able to create together. My second piece of advice would be that no one is going to do it for you. Work hard on your craft and be smart with how you handle your business engagements while you’re developing.
PS: You did a US tour in May. How did that go?
TD: It was awesome! We had all just left our full-time jobs and were lucky enough to be on tour with a bunch of great people in the band My Body Sings Electric. It doesn’t really get better than traveling and performing music you love.
PS: Were there any touring antics/pranks along the way?
TD: [laughs] Nothing too crazy. Our schedule was about 10 hours of driving a day, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time for pranks.
PS: What is a memory that immediately stands out to you from the tour?
TD: It was really the whole experience, but along the tour we did a date with Grouplove in Idaho at the Kibbie Dome… and that was pretty great. Playing a stadium was addicting and I’m looking forward to doing it again hopefully sooner than later.
PS: Seeing as there was a diverse lineup throughout the dates, what was the most fun thing about performing with all these other acts?
TD: Really just meeting other musicians in different parts of the country working towards similar goals. It’s interesting to listen to the sounds being created in each city and to become a part of that cities musical landscape if even for a moment.
PS: What is the craziest thing you’ve seen on tour?
TD: A moose [laughs]. In Utah we woke up and were all enjoying a bowl of chex when we were joined by a moose right outside our door. I think there’s probably some pictures up on our website, but that was pretty great.
PS: Are there any plans for new music?
TD: Most definitely. I can’t reveal anything too prematurely but we never stopped writing once we finished our album and hope to have another record available in the near future.
For more on KIVEN, click HERE.
You can purchase their self-titled album HERE.