Thursday, February 5, 2015

Kav Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

Kav is a one-man project currently located in Germany which plays raw, atmospheric black death metal. The project existed as an idea in my mind several years ago but only began to write and record as of the last few days of 2014. The overall sound tends to stay pretty oldschool, mostly in the vein of Von, Profanatica, or Havohej, but there's plenty of room for experimentation as well. It's a labor of love and a strictly underground and DIY entity.

2.So far you have released an ep and 2 split's, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings?

So far, these first few releases have mostly been the project finding its legs, so to speak. The exact musical direction hasn't been firmly established, so someone who listens to the first few releases will hear me poking around with a lot of different ideas. The self-titled first release is a good example of Kav at its most primitive: raw, downtuned Von worship with repetitive riffing and a very direct form of songwriting. The split with Ovin Taravlon is much more experimental; both of the original tracks are actually rewritten versions of songs originally composed years ago and the material is much more melodic. Finally, the split with Amargo is an elaboration from what was heard on the first demo, with a greater focus on short, compact songs as well as oldschool doom/death influence.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?

This depends on the release. For more experimental works, I tend to just play with whatever imagery strikes me when I listen to the song. They tend to just be short stories brought to mind by the melodies.

On the more traditional works, though, the case is different. All of Kav's lyrics center around an otherworldly occult concept of my own imagination. I try to keep things nonspecific and write very quickly; on nearly every release, the lyrics are all written in one long stream with very little revision or examination after writing. This results in a lot of repeated images and themes cropping up over and over again from song to song. This is intentional. It's something I like to play with in my music and has a lot of room to grow and develop.

To get into too much detail would I think spoil the mysterious and haunting feeling I try to cultivate in my music, and I don't have a very well defined sense of exactly what it is myself. But in short: imagine Buddhism in reverse, where knowledge and transcendence doesn't bring tranquility, but access to a realm of shadow and fire. Wisdom is a curse.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Kav'?

Kav actually has no meaning beyond what I've given it. It was mostly inspired by Von; I appreciated how that band created their own occult mythos, much in the way I try to do with my own music. The name Von has only personal meaning to them; the name Kav has only personal meaning to me. I like to think of it as the closest human approximation of a word we can neither speak nor understand that communicates the nature of the things I attempt to describe in my lyrics. In my own mind, I imagine that it is a word which means some combination of "terror," "darkness," and "underneath."

5.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to remain solo?

This is a tough question. On one hand, I've been in full bands before and enjoyed the experience greatly. On the other hand, Kav is a very specific sort of project that I wouldn't necessarily want to compromise. In an ideal world, I would have a drummer to collaborate with, but various moving pieces in my life prevent that from being something I can do at the moment. Even then, I would really rather have a friend that I connect with musically learn the drums for Kav rather than bring someone into Kav that doesn't understand it.

That being said, I will collaborate with others in one-off or guest arrangements. In an upcoming EP, a friend and fellow musician is providing drone and noise textures for my own musical compositions. I look forward to doing more things like that in the future.

6.On one of the releases you did a cover of Crowbar's  "The Lasting Dose", what was the decision behind doing your own version of this track?

In truth, it just seemed like a fun experiment. I've loved Crowbar for a long time and wanted to try my hand at covering one of their tracks in a very different style. When it comes to covers, they're mostly a fun experiment, not something I take very seriously. And when it comes to selecting a track to cover, I'd prefer to do something unexpected and experimental that shows off music I love that isn't necessarily an influence to Kav directly. I don't have any interest in doing another cover of Transilvanian Hunger or Funeral Fog; those are both great songs by great bands, but I'm sure everyone would expect I enjoy them and they've been done enough. Crowbar, though? I think that's more interesting.

I have a cover of a somewhat forgotten oldschool grind band planned for an upcoming split, so that might be something to look forward to. I don't plan on making covers a very frequent thing, but I'd like for them to be a cool little surprise when I do them./

7.Recently you where a part of a couple of split's with Ovin Taravlon and Amargo, what are your thoughts on the other bands or projects that have participated on those recordings?

I enjoy both of them; I wouldn't have worked with them if I didn't respect them as artists. Ovin Taravlon's first material was rough and had an amateur quality to it, but it also had a unique atmosphere and a stark thinness to it that I really enjoyed, and I think their side of our split is their best work yet. Amargo is a very cool project; I'm a big fan of black/noise projects, and as soon as I heard how bleak and strange his music was I knew I wanted to work work with him.

8.Both of the splits where released on Wolfmond Productions, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

They actually haven't been released yet; both splits were published digitally and only after were arranged for release by the label. Wolfmond Productions is an underground DIY label also located in Germany. They release a wide variety of music; mostly black metal, but often with an experimental edge and a willingness to try something out regardless of genre. They've been very supportive and cool to work with, and I hope to collaborate with them on more underground releases in the future.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and death metal?

Kav is still a very new and underground project, but so far the reaction from the scene has been very positive. I started Kav as a creative outlet after a few years of not really playing music, so I didn't really expect much but my own satisfaction, but the reaction from others has been really enthusiastic. It seems like a lot of people have been inspired by what I've put out so far, and that's more than I could ever ask for.

10.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

I'm not sure about the first question. I'm not particularly invested in the full-length as a musical format; I like short songs, short releases, compact ideas. A full-length is kind of a daunting idea. That being said, I imagine I'll probably produce one sometime this year, though only the very vaguest ideas are in place for what it would be like. If or when it happens, I'll be taking my time with it and working slowly. I like the spontaneity and immediacy of my releases so far, but a full-length would be a very different thing. We'll see what happens.

As for where I'll be going personally, I imagine I'll be staying the course. Many more small releases: demos, splits, EPs. Experimentation. Finding Kav's voice and seeing what works along the way. Kav is something I want to exist on its own terms; instead of trying to fit it into a narrow concept of what the project "should be" like I tended to in the past with over musical endeavors, I'm just setting it loose to grow and evolve on its own. It's a liberating feeling and I'm very excited to see what will happen with it.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, the basic influences to Kav are pretty obvious: Von, Profanatica, Havohej, maybe some war metal like Revenge or Conqueror. While those are the root inspirations, I don't really think Kav sounds much like any of them. You get a little closer with more modern bands in those styles such as Prosanctus Inferi or Grave Upheaval, both of which I love. But there's other stuff, too: Mortician, Blood, Winter, Coffins, Bolt Thrower, and many others, mostly oldschool bands. I don't think Kav sounds immediately like any of those; if you know any bands that do sound like Kav, let me know- I'm sure they're out there. I like to think it's a fairly unique combination of sounds though.

In my own listening, it varies a lot. A lot of Slavic black metal, slam death, and grind as far as metal goes, but apart from that, a lot of hip-hop, power electronics, and various little things I take a liking to. Instead of going on and on, I'll just provide a random sampling of artists I listen to a lot lately: Sargeist, Defeated Sanity, Revenge, Goemagot, Whitehouse, Runzelstirn & Gurglestock, Deniro Farrar, and Big K.R.I.T. I also listen to my own music a lot, but that's mostly to just study what I would like to change or expand upon on my next work.

12.Does Occultism play any role in your music?

I suppose it does in a way, since I think of the lyrics as rather occult in nature, and the music as sort of "occult sounding" in a way, if that makes sense. But it's not connected to any occult tradition in particular; all the dark, ritualistic themes in the music are mine alone, though undoubtedly unconsciously influenced by reading I've done in the past. On a personal level? No. I'm an atheist. I simply write about themes I enjoy and find interesting.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks to everyone so far who has taken the time to listen to my music. Kav is intended to be strictly DIY and underground, which means that releases will always be available for free download, opportunities to collaborate will always be available, and the barriers between myself and any fans will always be minimal. I don't want to be a rock star; I want to make music I love and share it with others. Plenty of new releases are planned for the near future, and you can keep appraised of what's going on with the project on its Facebook page or download any past or future releases on the Bandcamp. Keep the underground spirit alive.

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