Updated: May 7, 2020
Interview with Von Kaiser - May 2020
Synthronicity: When I first had my idea to do this project as daunting as the task truly was the trepidation turned to complete excitement when I realised the places I could take it. My first stop was never in question, Neon City to interview one of the best bands on the Synth Scene of late. I was super happy they took time out of promoting their new Album to talk about all things Von Kaiser. Go ahead & take a look.....
Tell us a little about the band, where you’re from and how you got started in Music?
Von Kaiser was formed in Grand Rapids, MI on the back of a rock band that had started to fizzle, we had recently been looking for a change and synths have always been in our previous music, so it was a natural evolution to Synthwave.
How has your sound developed over the years? & has the current market been of any influence in that?
In the year we’ve been a band we’ve constantly been in the studio writing. Because we put out a full length and an EP every year, we only have a small time frame where we have a break between releases and as such we’re evolving constantly because we never really stop writing.
How would you describe the music you make? I think we’d describe it as smooth. Like a landscape or an idea and the words are meant to sort of wash over that like a wave on the shore.
How has your 2020 been? With the Gig situation how have you all managed to stay reasonably sane?
Live-streams!! Of course we’ve been playing live still. We all work together outside the band so we’re all around each other anyway still, so we decided to do some minimal performing to keep our chops up during the quarantine.
Who are your influences in music today, who did you listen to when you were growing up?
We are influenced by everything. From commercials to jazz to Vaporwave to TSwift, any sound that’s good finds us wondering how we can integrate that into what we do. For Jake it was lots of alt rock, metal and indie rock growing up, for Kaylin it was Celine Dion and American pop of the 90's. For David is was 80's hair metal and pop, thrash metal, hip hop, electronic stuff like Daft punk and 90's alt rock.
Tell us your best and worse gig experience?
Last summer at a festival in our home town, they literally cut our set in half even though there was a great crowd watching and into the music, so they could get a folk band on that the organizer was in. Very unprofessional, won’t be playing that one again.
Is there anything new you’re working on currently that you’d like to share a little bit about?
Obviously coming up on May 4th is the release of our second full length album, Ghosts of Miami. We feel really good about this one. Like we set some goals for ourselves to hit and think we did that with this one. Since the downtime we’ve finished 3 of the intended 4 songs for annual summer EP that drops August 31st every year.
If you couldn’t make the great music you are making today what would each of you be doing?
David, many people aren’t aware is a part time racing driver. I’m sure he’d be doing that full time. Kaylin probably would be in theater or opera again, and Jake would probably be playing bass somewhere. If you’re having a bad day what do each of you do to make yourself feel better?
Bitch to the other person. One thing that cheers everyone up is someone saying something positive or letting us know how the music has effected them. We live for that.
Who are your celebrity crushes?
Jessica Alba - for all of us, because I mean, come on?
What’s next for you as a band?
If we can publicly play, touring and a ton of it. We plan to play so much that we’ll be out for the year if we can swing it. Obviously fingers crossed that NEON 2020 is still a go. There are some acts we’ve been meaning to do some shows with like The Motion Epic, Honeybeard, Michael Oakley and a possible short Tour with our friends in Night Protocol.
If you could collaborate with anyone else on the scene who would it be and why?
Either Timecop1983, or maybe Dana Jean Phoenix. I think her and Kaylin doing a duet would be Synthwave heaven. We did a cool track with Straplocked (A Forged Favourite) that should come out that’s cool too.
Favourite Movies and why?
David - Princess Bride
Kaylin - Lion King
Jake - Office Space
Who or what got you into the Synth scene initially?
A friend showed me Ocean Drive by Miami Nights 1984 and that was it. I wanted to sing over this music but didn’t know if it was a thing at that time.
How do you feel about the popularity of the Synth Genre as a whole and the new Generation of Producers who keep evolving?
I feel like the genre is growing. It’s becoming a thin line between what is and isn’t “Synthwave” anymore. Like I’m sure some of what we are doing might push past the scope, but we like to believe our sound is collectively still 80's sounding and influenced. We think the future is taking new sounds and bending them to make the music that would have been made if 80's synth pop was allowed to keep evolving and didn’t get killed by grunge and other forms of EDM.
What type of Hardware/Software to you use, do you have a preference?
Taking the 5th on this one. We need to keep our shitty secrets.
Ghosts of Miami now available to purchase, please follow the link below.