photo credit: Courtney Surface
photo credit: Courtney Surface

Nashville electro-pop band KiND, comprised of Gabrahm Vitek (vocals, keys), Scott Shirock (drums), Brady Surface (bass),  Robert Gay (horn, synth), and Anthony Jorissen (sax, synth), will be releasing their debut album,  Eunoia, on Tuesday, June 9th.  The band is planning a blow-out release party at The Basement East on June 26th, with a DJ set by Mutemath frontman Paul Meany, and opening support from Nashville-based new-wavers Wildfront.  I sat down with Gabe Vitek recently, to get the scoop on the band, the new album, and their experience with a Cherokee buffalo-whisperer:

Eo8:  How did KiND become a band?

GV:  We all attended school here, at Belmont University, and we saw each other at times on various stages around town.  The first album we toured on was my solo album called Solar Flares that came out in 2009.  We did about two years of touring on that record, east coast, south east, midwest kind of stuff.  That was a roots/soul album, a seven-piece on the road with sax and trumpet and two female background vocalists, drums and bass.  It was very raw and soul-influenced.  That group of seven went in to the studio in 2011 and wrote and recorded a record called Kaleidoscope that we released in 2012 under my last name, Vitek, and toured on that record for a year.  After that, the female background vocalists left the band to pursue other ventures, which left the five of us guys, who’ve now been together for about five years.

Eo8:  Your debut album will be released on June 9th, can you educate us about the album’s name?

GV:  Eunoia (pronounced yoo-NOY-uh) means “well-mindedness,” which seemed like the perfect word to embody the messages and lyrics on the record.

Eo8:  You’ve been working on the album for a couple of years, why so long?

GV:  We decided that we wanted to take as much time as we could to make a great record.  We’d been putting most of our efforts into touring and had an awesome show, but not a great recording for people to take home from the show.  We recognized that to be a weakness and wanted to get an album out.  It ended up taking us about two years.

Eo8:  What was the recording process like?

GV:  The five of us started the recording process by spending a week on a buffalo preserve in Indiana.  The owner is a great guy, and there’s a groundskeeper that’s full-blooded Cherokee, who can like, actually communicate with the buffalo.  There’s big open lodge there, and we set up an awesome writing space in the living room.  There was this island in the middle of a lake on the preserve where the father-figure of the whole buffalo herd was buried.  His name was Bosco.  The groundskeeper created this massive bonfire over the gravesite one night and did this whole Cherokee ceremony with us where we were singing all these native songs, doing all these crazy dances around the fire, just totally losing any inhibition and care about what we were doing.  It was a really cool spiritual thing that none of us had ever experienced before.  After that, we ended up staying up all night and writing a couple of songs for the album.  We’d never done anything like that before.  We brought all of our voice memo recordings back to Nashville, wrote about four or five more songs, and took the next year and a half to flesh it all out.  We recorded it all in our drummer’s house, which was basically like a studio with a bed.  He engineered and produced most of it, and we whittled it down to ten songs.

Eo8:  Did you set out to make an electronic music album?

GV:  We wrote the majority of the album using these native instruments at the lodge, like Cherokee flutes and drums, so a lot of these songs were started as raw as possible, like on animal hide and wooden instruments.  Even though the album is synth-heavy and electronic, it wasn’t necessarily the original intention.  It evolved organically into all these synthetic textures.

Eo8:  Do you have lots of festivities planned for the release?

GV:  We just had a couple of really fun shows lately, one with St. Lucia at Acme Feed & Seed, that was an amazing experience, it was a blast.  We also recently played with Robert DeLong, and that was crazy.  We weren’t able to do a full band for that one, so we decided to do a DJ set, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  It was definitely an adrenaline rush.  We’ve also gotten some really cool remixes of our music to release, one from Paul Meany, lead singer of Mutemath, and one from one of the guys in St. Lucia.   We’re being careful with touring, and it’s been really fun, but it can be a financial and emotional burden, so we’re trying to make the shows really count.  We’re planning a release show for June 26th at The Basement East in Nashville.

Eo8:  People like to throw shade on electronic music, saying it’s not “real” music.  How would you respond to that?

GV:  I would have said the same thing a few years ago, actually.  I couldn’t stand listening to it, and I would never have imagined i’d be playing it.  I thought it was all fake.  I realized ‘you can’t knock it ’til you try it.’ So, I tried to make and produce that kind of music, instantly realizing how deep and meticulous of a process it is, just to come up with one simple sound.  Electronic producers are some of the most talented producers working today.  It takes a great appreciation to try to create that kind of thing.  We also try to reproduce everything live and not play with tracks with the band.  We’re very actively playing our instruments, even though they are making electronic sounds.  It takes a lot of pre-production to create the sounds in the studio and then lots of rehearsing to navigate creating those sounds live.  It requires a lot of skill.  There’s light coming into that shade for a lot of people.

Eo8:  There seems to be a lot more electronic music being created around Nashville now, do you feel like you have a community here?

GV:  I think that’s really exciting; the artists that are popping up around here that play this kind of music here are going to be the ones who curate and start the scene, it’s wide open.  We want to help make that name for Nashville.

Check out KiND’S single, “Gloss” below, and go to iTunes to pre-order Eunoia!  The 21+ album release show is at The Basement East in Nashville; tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of sale, and the show starts at 9:00 p.m.

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