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HTF Introducing: Kiev

Kiev are an astral indie band from the US. They are unsigned – but I seriously don’t know how. Their sound combines a plethora of musical intricacies to make empowered melodic whirlwinds that have a delicately haunting quality to them. They have a strong resemblance to bands such as Radiohead, with additional hints of other genres intertwined with complex melodic phrasing and use of instruments such as tenor sax (which makes me VERY happy). Click on their name above to go to their myspace and check out their video below – for their song ‘Opening in G’. I asked Kiev a bit about themselves – so read on to find out!

HTF – Hit The Floor
K – Kiev


HTF – Please introduce the band.

K – Hello – We are Kiev. We live in Southern California, though many of us travelled from far far off to settle here. I’m Robert Brinkerhoff (California) and I sing and play guitar. Brandon Corn (Washington) plays the drum kit, percussive things, and some electronics. Andy Stavas (North Carolina) plays pianos, saxophones, and other assorted keyboards. Derek Poulsen (California) plays the bass and does some programming. We often have a phantom fifth member on stage and in the studio. Currently, we’re happy to have the phantom sneakers filled by Alex Wright (Nebraska) who plays pianos, keyboards, and guitars as well. We hope he sheds his phantom status and stays for a long while.

HTF – Tell us the story behind your band’s name.

K – There’s a line in a poem my father wrote a while back about passing through unfamiliar places, one of which was the Ukraine. I liked the idea of naming the band after a foreign place I’d never been that had a bestowed significance. I later found out I misinterpreted some of the poem, which I now feel is suiting conceptually for the group. A whole lot of what we make seems to deal with trying to make sense of, and connecting with, things that have been around long before before us, but probably will never be fully understood, and most likely will be forever reinterpreted.

HTF – Who would you say your main musical influences have been for your music.

K – If we really think about other music that influences us, and not only the stuff that we think is great at the moment, it’d have to be music we can participate with, actually go see, groove with…that’s the only way for it to get in the blood and bones, right? If we could tear through outer space in a saucer, land at some wild Zappa gig in 74 or kick it with Moondog on the streets of New York in the 50s for a while, i know our deeply rooted influences would be different (not to mention we’d be way fucking weirder and cooler dudes on account of the time traveling). Music is a communal bonding / connection experience at it’s best. Something like being at a prime time Wilco show, watching a performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, or having your mind blown by Radiohead with your friends resonates much deeper for us than just smokin doobs while listening to Dad’s ancient prog albums (though that’s a cool scene too).

HTF – What is your song writing process?

K – Most of the music written so far comes from playing around with rhythms and placement. We usually start with recording some shakers, banging on some stuff, programming a loop, or laying down a drum groove. This is the easiest way we’ve found so far to explore the space between the space. We spend a good amount of time improvising as a group, playing around with noises, collecting melodies and phrases. We combine a few or all of these elements and watch it grow and mutate. Sometimes you have to chisel at the edges a bit and look for the song. Sometimes it pops out at you like those bitchin 3D magic eye posters from the 90s. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it ain’t.

HTF – How would you describe your sound in 4 words?

K – “Hold onto your butts” – Jurassic Park ’93

HTF – Where can people see you play?

K – Right now only near our home. We’re playing the House of Blues Anaheim April 3rd. You should come. It’s basically in Disneyland. We’d rather play near you.

Click HERE to listen to and download more amazing tracks by Kiev – my favourite is ‘Found! the real found’ – so listen to it and let me know what you think.

Interviewer: Jen Jaconelli

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