Independent music culture depends on dedicated artists that create diversity & drive innovation in all aspects of songwriting, production & performance. We constantly feature new & notable indie acts on the verge of success. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview. Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: KEV.
KEV is a coalition of talents forged from various locations in Sweden. The fresh faced four-piece has utilised its inaugural year to push a unique blend of instrumental finesse, using their debut EP ‘Chapter X’ to throw their dreamy, alternative expressionism into the limelight. Formed in the fall of 2015 and hailing from backgrounds as diverse as Swedish pop and commercial dance music, the group formed together under the mutual vision of making original and unexpected sounds for lovers of music across the board.
Comments from the Curating-Editor
Hailing from Sweden (the land of amazing music production), up-and-comers KEV released their debut EP last Summer, entitled Chapter X. Instrumentally reminiscent of Troye Sivan, Parade of Lights, M83 and at points St. Lucia, the pop record is a collection of dreamy and accessible tracks that fit somewhere between the Soul/R&B and Dance qualities of contemporary pop’s fascination. There’s something more effortless about KEV’s 4 songs, however. That characteristic emerges in what the group refers to as the “dreamy lyrical properties of frontman Kevin’s childhood influences, offering pop inspired by genuine and ethereal moods, elements and feelings.” Each of these songs have a sense of authenticity and underlying angst that may go unnoticed under that pristine yet alluring veneer.
The charming vocals have a longing delivery, which convey lived-experience and honesty. Once you start to tease that out, you can sense a fuzzy and independent-driven quality in the beats and atmospherics. As we have come to expect with Swedish pop, the layering and use of electric texture act perfectly to convey the fervent passion central to KEV’s songwriting. Lead single, “Moments” is a great example: dynamic yet soothing, there’s a youthful synth glisten in the background, but a pensive caught-in-the-moment type vibe takes center-stage–showcasing both an attention to lingering unspoken feelings but also a matured intimacy. The ebb and flow there is quite captivating, making a case that transparent pop such as KEV’s, should be the gold standard.
What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music?
It’s a great question, I know that ‘Watch the Throne’ with Jay Z and Kanye West made a big impact on me when I started doing music. In the beginning I started to make rap and Swedish pop music, then it slowly changed into the KEV sound. Two albums that really inspire me musically today, are 22, A million from Bon Iver and Starboy from the weeknd. Two amazing albums.
What are your fondest musical memories?
I’m with my father, in the car, driving around in the Swedish landscapes, listening to rock music. The Beach Boys, The Mamas and The Papas, Bob Dylan. Great music and music that I grew up with.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener
Right now, I’m very inspired of artists that are making a bit weird and original music. Like Bon Iver, The Weeknd, Flume, and so on. I like when it’s a bit weird but with a great groove. I also love big sounds like M83 songs.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process? Is there a particular message or theme central to your creative works?
The process is pretty simple and very open and fun. We’re working with the mindset to try every idea and to be open. Considering we four, in KEV, are coming from different musical backgrounds, it’s fun to work to bring our influences together. With the lyrics, it’s almost always a story about people striving for a better life. Sometimes it’s from my life-story and sometimes it’s story from someone else. But often it’s hopeful lyrics with a feeling of something better.
We’re a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe your city’s music scene? How has it inspired you into crafting your sound?
We’re based in the Swedish west coast. We have amazing landscapes with the ocean, forests and big landscapes. I think that the Swedish melancholy might be heard in our music, maybe because of the Swedish weather with rain, snow, sun and wind. I think our music should be a bit more crazy if you see to the weather…
How would you describe your visual aesthetic, in terms of album artwork, music videos, and artistry? How does the music you create contribute to your visuals? Does this extend to your live show experience?
We have always wanted to have a through-line with the visuals, and it’s definitely something that you will discover in our live shows too. Coming from a theatre background I love scenography and also visuals that can strengthen the songs in different ways. I like when music videos and such have some sort of story. And why don’t we have stories in live shows too? Everything is connected, the songs, the visuals, the artwork. Every piece is very important.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
On the whole, I think the streaming and the social age is a good thing for the music. It’s at least easier for people to get their music out there. Streaming sites have been important for us to get our music out there without big labels. At the same time, I think it takes away the cool and fun feeling in going to a local store and buy an album or EP. So, there are many ways of seeing it, but as long people still go to concerts and get the feeling there and enjoy the live experience, I think it’s good for us musicians.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
Good question. Maybe Daft Punk? They are legends and their collab with the weeknd is really amazing. Coldplay would be nice, and M83 would be fun to make something weird and cool with.
Which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
33 “GOD” with Bon Iver is just amazing, I listen to it everyday, haha! I would recommend the pop singer Gallant, I like him, maybe not a brand new artist, but still a artist I think will go far. I would also say Amber Run, they are really cool, I love their song I found and they just released a new album too, haven’t listened to it yet, but I will do it soon…
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
Right now, we’re working with new music, we’re in a creative period right now just working with what we think is fun. Beside the creative process, we’re also working on our EP ‘Chapter X’, trying to get it out on a bigger scale. We have also worked a lot with the artist ‘Klahr’, it’s a project that will be really cool. Stay tuned.