I've said it before about the Kardash siblings, and I'll say it again ... move over Arcade Fire and embrace the future of Canadian musical wonderfulness, originating from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, going by the name of Violent Kin. With a new album released today, Indie Sounds caught up with Maygen to find out more about how it came to be.
Photo by MakiFotos
Indie Sounds: You're releasing your sophomore album today. It's called People. So what's in the name?
Maygen Kardash: To be honest, when S.J. and I (and our Junior Pantherz bandmates, Terry Mattson and Arnold VanLambalgen II) were really frustrated, we had begun exclaiming as a joke: “people!” Like, say someone doesn’t follow through on a promise: “people!” Or no one responds to an invitation but everyone comes anyway: “people!”
Well, those minor frustrations began our rumination on how much of a disconnect there was between, well, people, in a time where the "Age Of Connectedness" is lauded through commercials for cell phone providers and computer companies. So early on, we decided to title our album People. Actually, it included an exclamation mark until we wrote a few songs that were more compassionate and we thought, it’s not about “people!”, it’s about “people”, if you know what I mean.
IS: How would you say this album is similar/different to your debut Bitter Blood?
Maygen: It’s similar in the way that our lyrics are very personal, very true to us. And we recorded it in much the same way: S.J. or I would bring an idea to the table and we’d expand on it together. But, oh-my-gosh the differences are huge!
On Bitter Blood, we didn’t know what Violent Kin would end up sounding like and we didn’t know how to use a synth as a bass, so when I listen to it, even though I’m still proud of the album, I crave space on a lot of songs. We learned a lot from Bitter Blood. Creatively though, all of our work is a real snapshot in time since we compile and release it so close to the time of its conception, so that leads to the biggest difference between the two albums: we’re in a different moment in our lives now, a more outro-spective one.
And instrumentation-wise, as much as we’re kids of the 80s, it dawned on us how much fun the 90’s and 2000’s sounds are. For some reason, that teenage part of our listening lives came springing to the surface on People. I’d even found my pink Garbage album which turned my Camry into an awesome time machine where I still rocked blue hair and glitter-nail-polished sneaks.
Download People from iTunes.
IS: What's the story of making the album. Where was it recorded, and when, and who performed on it, twiddled the knobs, etc.?
Maygen: Like all our works to date (except for the tail end of Bitter Blood, whose recording was moved to my place due to a landlord issue on S.J.’s end), People was recorded by S.J. at his Living Space Studios. Tallus Scott came in to record drums, mostly mimicking the scratch-tracks that S.J. layed down but with that Tallus Scott pro feel, though S.J.’s drumming stood the test of time on The Honesty.
S.J. and I played everything else, pretty much making our parts up by trial and error, trying the most ridiculous melodies and beats until one of us says, “I like that.” It’s hard to say exactly when the recording started and ended - the best part of having a studio at our disposal is that we can just lay songs down whenever we felt like it - though we did have a busy month at the end of our process as we polished everything up.
IS: And for those that don't know you. What's the quick musical life story of Violent Kin?
Maygen: S.J. and I met when I was one and a half but it took me a while to warm up to the little guy because he was such a baby. Eventually, we played music together (S.J. on double bass, Me on trumpet) in the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and in high school, we began writing and recording these really contemporary, almost country-pop songs under the name Better Than Blue. We never played those songs live and thankfully they do not exist on the internet.
Meanwhile, S.J. had been a professional musician since age 10, touring worldwide playing bass in a blues band, then he joined garage rock band called Junior Pantherz, and then he went back to the blues band and signed a contract with Sony. At the time, I was pretty sure I’d be a lawyer or an actor or something so I wasn’t jealous.
Then, when all of my little brother's projects suddenly disbanded, and he'd seriously played with everyone he could think of except me, S.J. taught me to play drums (I later moved to keys) and we formed The Blood Lines with another set of siblings. That went okay until it did not, and now S.J. and I are Violent Kin!
IS: Now what's the plan to get it out there to the masses?
Maygen: We never know what the response is going to be when our music leaves our hands, but so far, the critics have been super kind and hopefully that'll encourage people to buy our album on up. We also have some shows coming up so as always, we're looking forward to meeting some new fans and reconnecting with the friends we've made along the way.
IS: You've played a few gigs in NYC, are any more in the touring future?
Maygen: We love New York and if visas weren't worth a first born and didn't expire, we'd be eating a slice at Rosario's this instant. But I guess the short answer is “yes!” We'll announce something there soon, I swear.
IS: And what's next for Violent Kin musically?
Maygen: S.J. and I are always writing, but right now, our focus is our tour dates. We have a lot of fun with our live show, so we're just gonna play our hearts out for as many people as possible!