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INTERVIEW: KiSMiT

Hi fellows, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’ve been great! Just living that freelance hustle, there’s no rest. Thank God for coffee … and thank you for your interest to interview us.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Cosmic Love”?

This song reflects the ups and downs, the light and shade and all of the magic and mundane parts that make up love. It’s a song that represents our move (sonically) towards engaging more booty’s into grooving along with us, especially for live shows. When we first started out we had a much more singer-songwriter vibe (Jason Mraz x Sara Bareilles-esque). Nowadays, Allen Stone and Vulfpeck has had a profound influence on us and we love the lively-ness of Cosmic Love. [Carly] I NEED to dance.. in my kitchen, at Trader Joe’s, and especially while singing – this song marked a change in direction for us that I have been craving!

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

[Baz] Not to my memory, the song is a reflection of our love story; Sometimes we are on cloud nine feeling all those fluttery feelings, other times we are folding laundry and bickering. With this ebb and flow, there is an interlocking of compatible opposites that is undeniable, she’s the yin to my yang. [Carly] (cue heart-eyed emoji!) We live together, work together and love together – most days it’s my most cherished blessing but we definitely have our moments. We often write songs like mantras – things to grow into or reminders when we forget the best version of ourselves. For me this one is a reminder on the days that aren’t so shiny, that we are imperfect, perfect humans doing the best we can and all we can control is our commitment to this partnership & the crazy ride that entails.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

YES YES YES!!! We embarked on our biggest adventure yet – a low budget, indie music video with our best friends! February to May was spent planning, scheming, fundraising, costume shopping, etc. to make this video come to life. [Carly] Alex Cantatore (Quick, Act Casual films) directed & edited the video and Amanda Spinella produced it, two of my dear friends from college. We turned my parents’ small business warehouse into outer space and the Red Rock Canyon into another planet. It’s the first time I’ve connected my love of dance to my original music and we couldn’t be more proud of how it’s turned out. We should be releasing it sometime this month so stay tuned for some partner lifts that give Patrick Swayze & Jennifer Grey a run for their money 🙂

How were the recording and writing process?

[Carly] One night while falling asleep the lyrics “We wax and we wane, I just want more of the same” came to me and I scribbled them down next to my bed without turning on the light to not wake up Baz. [Baz] With this lyric seed we pulled up a funk track I’d been working on (inspired by Andra Day’s ‘Mistakes’) and wrote the chorus and first verse that day.

After we finished that song a couple more, we met Wes Kos (a producer of Kairos Music Group) and decided to work with him to elevate our music to the next level. We began post haste on what would turn out to be an EP, with ‘Cosmic Love’ leading the songs out the gate. Our dear friends / band members (Balam Garcia bass/guitar, Dylan Hayden drums, & Dwight Rivera keys) then laid down the funk. After the first mix came back it felt trapped in the 70s disco-era and we realized we needed to add some fresh ingredients to the mix. Baz added in synths and arranged the horn parts, and Wes beefed up the drums with PHAT samples and added in spacey spices to enhance the cosmic flavor. It was after a lot of back and forth, humming and hawing before we arrived at this maximum funk level.

We are a new band still and part of this phase is establishing our “sound”. We are still exploring while living through this day and age which demands that we fit neatly in a box. Being categorized, labeled & branded is incredibly limiting to an artist’s journey, which is largely made up of trial and error. All we can do is make music that feels good to us right now, and hope, as a by-product, that others will enjoy it too.

What role does LA play in your writing?

[Baz] Songwriting in and of itself draws me to go deeper into the craft, but LA inspires me to: dig more frantically until I reach water, not rest on my laurels, dig another well.

[Carly] I’m a Cali native and maybe a bit biased but I just love the community that I feel in LA. I lived in NYC for 3 years and when I moved out here expected LA to be superficial and judgmental but it is so the opposite. We have the most incredible support system of friends & artists and we all feel each others successes and setbacks.

How did your time in Berklee influence your music?

[Baz] The Berklee experience has an unbelievable ability to flatten egos and make it just about the music. Of the countless master classes I was fortunate enough to attend, one sentiment I will never forget was when Nnenna Freelon said: “Imagine when you spoke on the microphone that the whole world was listening. Now what would you say?” **mind blown** Me to myself: “Well, I guess there’ll be no self-serving, ego-boosting crap coming out of me anymore.” Another priceless experience was when Victor Wooten demonstrated deep listening. He was playing a groove while he instructed us to listen to all the current sounds: car horns, passing conversations, squeaking chairs. As we listened closer the universal orchestra began coming together in rhythm, in pitch, in sync. Then and there I was convinced of the unifying power that music holds. Overall, Berklee showed me to treat music with respect and to use it with intention. [Carly] Berklee is where our love story began – so it’s a HUGE influence of our music. I went to Emerson and took a songwriting class just on a whim my senior year of college and met Baz there. 5 years later, here we are living our dreams together!

How’s your other tracks and videos coming up?

We have two other tracks (of seven total) ready to go, and one other music video for ‘Every Shade of You’. We are still brewing and stewing the others with great care…

Any tentative release date or title in mind for the next material?

Our next single is to be released the end of this month (August) and expect our video early September. Shooting for a September release for the 7 track EP, including Cosmic Love.

Would they all follow the same theme?

The common thread through the songs is the complimentary contrast of one another to form the complete picture of light and dark, waxing and waning, warming and cooling.

It’s important to us to show many sides of this love while also keeping our independence as people in this partnership. Our EP isn’t just 7 mushy gushy love songs about being crazy about each other – there are a few, but many others about the disappointment of people letting us down, perseverance in going for our dream, and even an angsty feminist song (F**k you, Mr. Misogynistic Trump – the song is actually called ‘Panther’).

Any plans to hit the road?

Of course!! We want to be playing as wide and far as the world will have us! Over the past two years of KiSMiT we have built up a repertoire fit for the stages (as opposed to coffee shops). East Coast tour with our hooligan friends in NYC is brewing in our brains, no official plans yet since we are waiting on our EP, but we’ve also earmarked a West Coast tour early March ’18, along with intentions to play festivals next year. SXSW are you listening???

What else is happening  in KiSMiT’s world?

We are the resident artist of SoFar Sounds this month in LA – we are playing Aug 4th, Aug 11th, Aug 23rd, & Aug 30th – at different pop-up locations throughout the city. We are also playing at Hotel Cafe, our first time on their main stage, on Sept 7th (Carly’s birthday!) at 9:30pm. Also, there are plans afoot to take over the world. More on that later…ᐧ

Listen here

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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