Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been good. Just trying to stay sane amid this whole Coronavirus shit show… J
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Dark Side Of The Light”?
This is a track about longing and a lost love that inspired songs and moved mountains.. a song about a woman I loved that cast me into depression (the “Dark Side”) after we parted, because all I could think about was how much she represented “the Light”. Although she is long gone and we don’t speak, I do wish she could now see my successes, which speaks to the start of the first verse “I wish you could see me now in all my glory, and wonder how I made this my story”. “You know it’s a battle with sin” is just a simple reminder that relationships will always involve a battle against temptation (“sin”). “One side’s here to stay, one side’s gotta win” emphasizes that whatever happens, whether you triumph over sin or not, that will be the pervading reality. The chorus concludes with “You know, I missed you so, on the Dark Side of the Light” in falsetto as the gradual buildup rises into the ether.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes… I used to live in Vancouver, CA with someone I really loved for about two years, but who I knew for about 6 years before that, and thought I’d write a typical post breakup song. Hah. Once I started playing bigger shows in the months after we broke up I just wished she would’ve seen how far I’d come. I could’ve recorded this one in 2017, the year it was written, but I wanted the emotions to truly age and be given room to breathe. Longing doesn’t happen over a few months.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
I don’t think so to be honest. I’ve kind of lost faith in my Youtube visibility. There’s a bunch of Japanese anime (among other random videos) with the same name as mine that have dominated the first search results for God knows how long, lol. Also, it was never in my plans to record one for this song. I’ll probably release an audio of the track on Youtube, but not a video.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was pretty good. I has it recorded at my own music studio here in Larnaca, Cyprus, Hot Soap Studios, with my engineer Andreas Matheou. He’s a very talented producer, guitar player and recording engineer. This was the first song I recorded there after having the studio inaugurated two years ago, which is a stretch, but I sort of took a break from music for a little while since moving back from Canada to my side of the world. As I said I wrote the track in 2017, so it was just a matter of recording it. Recording was pretty seamless. I just had to practice the song with Andreas on bass and Julien Koukkides on drums a couple times. Julien got hang of the song’s vibe pretty quickly. Recording took a few days. Guitars laid out first, then bass, then drums, and lastly vocals. Mixing took part at Hot Soap as well. Looking back, if I were to redo anything in the song at this point, I would do some minor changes to the vocal part, which I just might if I re-release the track as part of a potentially upcoming EP.
What role does the Middle East play in your music?
Well.. as I have spent the majority of my life in the Middle East, I have witnessed the atrocities of war in neighboring countries and how it’s blistered our landscape, and I’ve watched our international reputation as Arabs progressively worsen over the years.. So basically, I didn’t have a classic western upbringing even though I’ve always mostly resonated with “western” music and western pop culture. I’ve also felt like somewhat of a nomad for over ten years because I’ve moved around so much and wasn’t ever sure where I’d end up for the long haul, but I never wanted to stay in the Middle East, even though I am technically here now (Cyprus). I guess that’s offered me a unique perspective on things. So I like to bring a part of that story into the music I make and within the lyrics I write, but I always aim to send a ubiquitous message at the same time.
What is it about the 90s that you find so fascinating?
If you’re referring to the song being 90’s oriented, I never actually considered that, but I do love 90’s music. I guess there are elements of 90’s music in the song itself, but I’d say the song is inspired by more contemporary artists like Ben Howard, Fink, RY X, Jose Gonzalez, Coldplay.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
There is some new material in my arsenal. Although I’m not really churning music out like I used to, as I’m trying to focus more on honing the approach to song writing and production. And family business obligations are quite time consuming as well ;-).. I’ll probably be focusing on releasing a few singles or EPs (as opposed to albums) moving forward. But they will be spaced out. Also, I am considering going under a different artist moniker for upcoming material, as I’ve had terrible issues ranking well on Spotify over the years, and as I mentioned on Youtube as well. Also, the google real estate of my current name seems to be pretty competitive. I’m just trying to figure that stuff out at the moment.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
For upcoming material? Maybe 1/1/2021 😉
What else is happening next in KAIS’ world?
I’m not really sure. I’d like to go back to Canada for a little while, but I have responsibilities towards a family business in Jordan and run a music studio in Cyprus now. I mean it’s already quite difficult taking the 1-hour flight to Jordan amidst this coronavirus mess. Do any of us really know what is happening in OUR world?