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Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States | INDIE

Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States | INDIE
Band EDM Jam


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"A rhythmic transition: Kalamazoo band Harvyst talks about move from metal to electronic"

KALAMAZOO -- After a year defined by change -- political, environmental and certainly economic -- local live electronic trance/dance band Harvyst is reaping the rewards of a change of its own: In the past year, the band has transitioned from producing the metal-based music it has performed throughout the last decade to creating the dance-inducing music it performs today.

Aaron Klamer, the 32-year-old bass player of the group, said the band is still getting used to its new sound.

"What I usually tell people is that we're trying to emulate a DJ set with a live band," Klamer said. "But I think that we're still learning how to do that to an extent. ... Basically, we're trying to do electronic bass music that people can dance to that has a strong live element."

Harvyst -- made up of Klamer, drummer Randy Ferguson, 39, and keyboardist Ian Pool, 24 -- will bring that live element to Harvey's on the Mall, 416 S. Burdick St., at 9 p.m. Saturday, when they put on a free show with DJs Jenna3Fires and S.P. Chase.

The band arrived at its current lineup of three over the course of a 10-year evolution that has included extended forays into the worlds of noise metal and industrial metal jamming. Up until a year ago, the group was a foursome, the shift in musical styles corresponding to the loss of their guitarist to graduate school.

Jennifer Harnish / Special to the GazetteAaron Klamer of Harvyst."It was a combination of gradual factors and the more immediate factor of our guitarist leaving, but we had been sort of changing over a period of years," Klamer said of the band's shift to more accessible dance music. "At the same time that our guitarist left, we had started getting into electronic music and the electronic scene around here. When you combine all of those factors at the time when our guitarist left, we decided to try doing a show that was intentionally more dance-oriented and it went really well.

"And so we just kind of went with it, and it's been going really well with us so we've continued to roll with it."

Of the four albums released by the band in their various incarnations only the latest ("Live at WIDR Studios," 2009) features the band's newer sound.

While not everyone has been pleased with the band's decision to move away from their heavier metal sound, including the elimination of guitars and all vocals, Klamer said most of their fans have been supportive.

"I'd say this is one of the instances where you might lose a few people but you gain way more," he said.

Jennifer Harnish / Special to the GazetteRandy Ferguson of Harvyst.There have been some changes in the format of their live shows, like how the band hardly plays shows with other bands anymore, working more often with DJs. The actual performance of the music is different as well.

"Our old music was a lot more riff-based," Klamer said. "And our newer music is much more groove-oriented, which is obviously important for a member of the rhythm section. So as a bass player, I had to adjust from playing a more riff-based style, which metal is, to a more percussive, groove-oriented type of bass playing, which is pretty much completely different."

At the "Jack Your Body" dance music event held at The Volt teen nightclub in Plainwell on May 2, Harvyst played a chest-thumping, bass-heavy set which, between the music and the smoke machine/laser light combination -- defiantly put the "trance" in trance/dance.

Klamer's throbbing bass notes and Ferguson's penetrating drumbeats pulsed relentlessly, the band transforming into the venue's very heart -- each beat surging pure energy like blood through the veins of the club's black-lit walls as Pool's keys and programming effects crooned through the space like something from the soundtrack to a dystopian science-fiction flick.

And in these uncertain times, when it seems like change is gunning for us whether we like it or not, a metal band turned live electronic trance/dance band who can put on a good show is the kind of change Harvyst hopes we can believe in.
- Kalamazoo Gazette









It is difficult to imagine another band experiencing the same musical journey as Harvyst. Their ten year existence has seen them transform through various incarnations into a dance-inducing mind-meld of hard techno, jamtronica, and trance. Harvyst have successfully infiltrated the dance/DJ scene in a short period of time, performing at festivals, breweries, and underground raves, and sharing the stage with many popular Michigan electronic artists such as Jay Denham, SuperDre, Punisher, and Detroit Techno Militia artists DJ Seoul, T. Linder, Dark Cube and DJ Psycho. In addition, Harvyst have kept one foot in the jam band scene, opening for national artists such as Boombox and Signal Path. A Harvyst show has always been a unique performance unto itself, a one-time event that will never be repeated, and listeners across the state have long been confused, intrigued, and entertained by their sonic explorations.

Management/Booking: Stefan Sandelin - harvyst@gmail.com