Kiven
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Kiven

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Alternative

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Apr
23
Kiven @ Hemingway's Lounge

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

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2. Kiven
Speaking of bands whose musical chops exceed their years, the members of Kiven just graduated from the University of Southern California last year. And while they’ve all got day jobs in music marketing, they don’t sound too far from a full-fledged career as musicians themselves. All their work thus far has been self-produced and self-released — come on, they work in music marketing! — but no band with this much talent stays unsigned for long.
At least half the group have jazz or prog backgrounds – guitarist Danny Schnair studied jazz guitar at USC – which makes for a sound that is clean, precise, and rhythmically complex. But there’s also an element of hard rock that infuses their songs with a punky vitality. During their show on the tiny basement stage at the Delancey, the guys thrashed around and launched into extended solos with rock-star panache, piercing the frenzy with razor-sharp three-part harmonies. It was a remarkable marriage of furious prog-metal and grooves so precise you could dress them in Armani. - ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY


On Saturday night I headed out to Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater to catch Kiven’s EP release party. Bootleg Theater is a 1930’s warehouse that has been turned into a “space for art,” as their website puts it. It makes for a small, intimate venue that probably maxes out somewhere fewer than 100 people in terms of capacity. Not a bad atmosphere by any means.

Kiven was top-notch, which wasn’t surprising. Anyone who’s seen them before knows the deal: Passionate, aggressive, beautiful. Saturday night, it was business as usual. The only thing somewhat lacking from the show was a strong mix, but that did nothing to stand in the way of them demonstrating again why they’re one of LA music’s best kept secrets.

They opened with their signature drum circle and then slid into their cantankerous new single “Release” (if you haven’t grabbed it yet, you can do it for free here). Guitarist Danny Schnair drove the band for most of the night, releasing searing riff after searing riff and seemed to tap into something spiritual every time he did it. Front man Tyler Demorest was on point with his gliding vocals, and the rhythm section kept the pummeling beat needed to get the crowd’s feet moving and their heads bobbing. Again, nothing out of the ordinary for a Kiven show.

The band played a nice mix of Two in the Same songs and Step songs (their new EP). There’s a review for Step forthcoming, but without giving away too much, there’s a much more prominent blues vibe on the new songs, which allows Schnair to really let loose on his riffs to wonderful effect. The new stuff reveals a more experimental Kiven, which was highlighted when Demorest traded his guitar for the piano and vocoder effects on “Fire and Frames” and “The Blur Ensues.” It’s also a more mature Kiven, one that knows how to incorporate those elements into their signature sound to really enhance it.

They closed with “What I’m Looking For” and “The Irony” (from the new EP), the perfect pair to display the ways they’re evolving. On “What I’m Looking For,” they played their hearts out, crashing every chord and scorching every riff. They played their hearts out on “The Irony” too, but the music called for less aggression and more soul. But that didn’t stop them from pulling things together for a hard-hitting outro.

My only real complaint is that they didn’t play “Find the Time” (maybe I just wanted to hear the chugging riff), but in their growing catalog of brilliant songs, that was hardly a problem. You kind of sense every time you watch them play that they could get really big very soon – at least among the crowd that’s into bands like Thrice and Circa Survive. Tonight, that feeling was just as applicable as ever. - Absolute Punk


My favorite thing about Step is that it has that indie blues sound I always wished Thrice would explore. “On Through,” “The Blur Ensues” and “The Irony” all make use of dimly lit lounge vibes that give way to guitarist Danny Schnair’s soulful and electrifying notes. See, on Step, Kiven is no longer just another band trying to emulate their heroes – they’re looking inward now, crafting their own sound. The result is a collection of massive crescendos, exciting experimentation and more than anything, music that just sounds good.

Step can be divided into two halves on a surface level look, with the first centered on aggression. “Release” opens with a symphony of discordant sounds and dissonant notes a la The Mars Volta, and then pulls it together for a chorus filled with guitars that saw their way through the melody. It’s got the type of raw energy they had going on in their fall 2010 single “Find the Time,” but here everything is much more fleshed out and tightly executed. “On Through” is calculated – that pompous opening riff has got to have some math rock influence to it, right? – but it works much the same way in terms of energy, slowly building to a no holds barred rock out session. This is the first song where you get the sense that Kiven is really coming into their own. The way they use the organ in the chorus and integrate the closing cadence (which wouldn’t sound out of place in a metalcore track) is unique and quite frankly, just really fun.

The other half is focused on elements of finesse. Starting with the piano interlude “Fires and Frames,” the tempo slows and the EP becomes all about intricacy. The angsty “The Blur Ensues” isn’t shy about getting bluesy, contrasting pleas to “come break me” with icy, mournfully picked notes. Front man Tyler Demorest is at his best here, hitting soprano pitches seemingly effortlessly – though we already knew he could do that from Two In the Same. “The Irony” is more of a reprise: It opens lethargically, but by the 4-minute mark, everyone’s pounding on their instruments.

At the risk of sounding cliché, what Kiven have created here is really something special. Step is by no means a perfect product, but there are so many aspects of it that are just downright intriguing. If there’s one band that “oozes potential” right now, it’s Kiven, and this EP invigorates my anticipation for what’s to come like few other albums have lately. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s finally a band bringing blues into alternative rock, or maybe it’s the spacey atmosphere I’ve been in the mood for lately. Ultimately, though, the specific reasons don’t matter as much as the fact that Step is just patently well done. - Absolute Punk


ARTISTdirect.com has exclusively partnered with Los Angeles-based Kiven (kee-vehn) to offer a free download of the song "Release" from their latest EP Step, set for release March 6. The band boasts an energetic and exciting style, since the musicians that comprise Kiven come from diverse musical backgrounds, ranging from classic rock to heavy metal, and it shows in their tunes. Their influences brought them together, each longing for the rock music of yore. Together, they redefine that hard-hitting sound, with music that keeps the listener itching for more.

ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino adds, "Kiven conjure up a unique and unrestrained amalgam of sounds and styles that's for some truly intoxicating and infectious tunes. It'll make you think and it'll make you dream—like all great daring rock bands do."

Download the hard-hitting "Release" right here, right now. Free music is good. Free, good music is better. That's our mantra. - Artist Direct


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

What once started as a bedroom project in 2009 has now evolved into the powerful Los Angeles rock quartet, Kiven. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Demorest alongside guitarist, Danny Schnair, met while attending a music workshop in Los Angeles, California. The two began writing material with fellow hometown friends and musicians, only shortly before acquiring bass player, Matt Cohen, in the Spring of that year. The contrasting, yet complimenting musical perspectives and chemistry was felt immediately and it was that summer that they spent writing a collection of material that what would later be condensed into the 2010 debut EP, Two In The Same.

As the members continued to mature as individuals, the linear growth in the music was clearer than ever. Kiven is a band that writes their music to reflect the occurrences and situations that surround them at that place in time. In the year or so following the release of Two In The Same, Demorest, Schnair, and Cohen had been balancing countless long nights and hours after class to work on their music, while also being on the brink of finishing their studies and moving on to their next endeavors. In March of 2012, the band released their follow up STEP EP that would represent the members forward moving journey in music and life. It was from that EP that tracks like Release and The Blur Ensues began to receive online attention and premieres from ArtistDirect, Absolute Punk, Grooveshark, and a number of other tastemaker websites. With the momentum building from a number of sold out shows in the Los Angeles and Southern California area, Kiven continued to write truly genuine music.

Since Kivens founding, there had been drummers that had come and go, but it wasnt until the Spring of 2012 that good friend and drummer, Jake Reed, began rehearsing with the group. Reed brought, yet again, a complex and contrasting dynamic to Kiven. After the first run through, a spark of assurance and excitement was felt throughout the room. Without necessarily intending to do so, the now solidified foursome naturally began experimenting past material, as well as new. As a result, the 1840 EP was released in late 2012 with the lead single Hope & Smoke being premiered on Indie Shuffle, and went on to receive significant attention online and at college radio. 1840 was released as an ongoing transitional piece that reflects Kivens continuing musical and personal growth.

Following the release of 1840, Kiven began to receive national and international attention that would catapult them into a busy year of writing and traveling the country playing shows. In October 2012, Kiven made their first trip across the US to perform at CMJ in New York City. The performances later were named as the #2 Great Indie Discovery of CMJ 2012 by Entertainment Weekly. Several months later, Kiven appeared in Austin, TX as part SXSW 2013, upon completion of their first US Tour.

Now in 2013, Kiven finds themselves eager and anxious to take the leap. The majority of the year has been spent writing and recording brand new material, all of which took place in the late hours of the night. The soon to be released material is undoubtedly the groups latest and strongest efforts to date. The album, which is yet to be named, was recorded at East West Studios and Pie Town at MixLA and is set for a late 2013/early 2014 release.

While their musical influences have undoubtedly come from a wide array of musical and artistic spectrums, this quartet ultimately blends together to create the bands unique and personal sound. Kivens music is a culmination of musicianship, individuality and represents the balance of passion verses the necessities of modern life.

Band Members