Initially started as a solo project by Klaus Von Barrel in 2010, The KVB first recorded and released their debut EP in the form of a limited edition cassette tape “The Black Sun” on FLA Records. After a number of acclaimed releases throughout 2011, Kat Day joined The KVB, performing duties on synthesizers and taking care of the visuals.
From there on, The KVB kept on making music as a duo and released their first full length LP “Always Then” in 2012 on Clan Destine Records, the sophomore LP “Immaterial Visions” in 2013 on Cititrax, while their EP “Minus One” back from 2011 got remastered, extended and released as a full length album on A Records in 2013.
In 2014, The KVB went to record with The Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe and out of that session came out the “Out of Body” EP released on A Records which also features the drummer Joe Dilworth, know for his work with artists like Stereolab, PJ Harvey, Add N to (X) and many others.
A collection of unreleased instrumentals and analogue experiments “Mirror Being” recorded between London and Berlin in 2014 is to be released on 1st June 2015, while The KVB is set to perform live in Zagreb on 19th April 2015 at Klub Attack together with two supporting local bands Das Rage and Kali Jugend.
Hello Kat, hello Klaus! I know you are already on tour, which can be quite tough (getting into bed late, waking up early, being on the move, loading out the van, setting everything up on the stage, loading everything back in and so on), so I will try to keep the questions as simple as possible. How are you doing? Is touring and performing live something that drains your energy levels or is it something that keeps you going on?
Naturally tiring, we aren’t morning people and some of the drives are pretty long but our energy is regained by showtime… plus traveling is always a great inspiration. We are actually currently en route to Milan to perform at the Design Week festival at a theatre.
In around 5 years, you released quite a lot of your music on cassettes, CDs, vinyl as well as digitally. As far as from what I managed to research, most of the music has been recorded in your own studio. Working with Anton Newcombe in his Berlin studio - was it in any way different? Has it been easy and pleasant? I am asking this because I remember Anton being quite a tough and handful guy to handle (from what I got to see in the documentary Dig! about The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols)..
Anton wasn’t there when we recorded but we were elated to be asked to support them on their Australian tour in December 2013 so spent two weeks with him and the rest of the band. Anton is completely different to the Dig days, still incredibly interesting to speak to of course – his mind races through ideas at a thousand miles per hour and whilst he still was getting annoyed at band members when they get it wrong (like in the Dig days) there was no violence or outburts, he’s more the kind of subdued backstage radio 4 / twitter kind of guy.
Listening to the two songs, from the upcoming release “Mirror Being”, available on your bandcamp page - “Atlas” and “Obsession”, I can almost tell or foresee that the new record is going to be somewhat different then your previous releases. Are you taking a certain turn, moving away from the slower shoegaze and psychedelic infused dark wave sound to maybe a bit faster electronic and industrial kind of sound? Or are you just trying out something different?
We’ve become more interested in the cinematics of sound and Mirror Being was an experiment in this direction and an attempt to convey a film via soundwaves. We are already in the process of recording the next album (post-Mirror Being) which hopefully combines the more shoegaze/psychedelic with the dark, cinematic/electronic… but its still a work in progress so you will have to wait and see!
According to my opinion, there has been a really good thing going on for a couple of years in the post-punk-industrial-electronic-psychedelic-shoegaze music scene around the world with bands like The Soft Moon, A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Skeletons, and of course The KVB. Do you think there is a common theme or a common source of (let's call it) inspiration that led to this? Or is it just a point in history, a period od time, where all these aforementioned artists and many others led to create the scene itself?
We love all these bands and I’m sure, like us, each of these artists have a diverse set of influences across all genres and its these influences that allows us to play at psychedelic festivals and electronic festivals without being too out of place. We aren’t attached via location and so perhaps its only in this age of internet that any sort of comradery can exist in this niche. The only band in this list that we haven't had the pleasure of playing with is APTBS, but we are hoping to catch their Berlin show after we finish tour.
Getting back to the inspiration mentioned in the previous question – what is your source of inspiration? What makes you motivated to create and write music?
Recent discoveries (and re-discoveries) keep our inspiration alive. Most recently Beak>, Mica Levi and Ed Atkin’s recent solo show in Amsterdam.
Visuals are an essential part of your performances. I see Kat is taking care of that and she is also making music videos for The KVB. What do the visuals mean to you? Are the visuals an extension to your music or maybe just a layer in the overall picture? How do you feel and what do you think about visual arts?
Visuals are integral to our desired intent for experience of our performance. We wish the audience to be lulled into an immersive, but at some times abrasive, environment via sound and light waves. It consumes the bodies in swathes of 3D, glitch and flicker which enhance the audio via the haptic and create a feedback loop between the retina and the screen, us and the audience.
You've toured a lot and this is going to be your first performance in Croatia. Have you maybe heard anything about Zagreb from other bands and artists? What do you expect from the local audience and what can the local audience expect from you?
We’ve only heard great things about Zagreb/Croatia and as its our final show on this tour they can hopefully expect an entrancing, immersive show worthy of the title finale.
Many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions! I am really looking forward to see you perform live in Zagreb. You might not know this but I know this for a fact - certain promoters were making efforts since late 2013 to have you perform in Zagreb : ) and I'm pleased that KVLT did it in the end!
Unfortunately we had no idea, it’s a shame its taken this long!