The heart-racing track tells the story of an emotional rollercoaster complemented with dreamy guitar layers, creating a buzz of excitement for both NO1KNOWS’ dance and KVNE‘s pop/r&b audiences.
They had previously come together in 2020 for Been So Long. The energetic combination impressed Blanco y Negro, the legendary independent record label that previously worked with world-famous DJs such as Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Don Diablo, Hardwell and Nicky Romero
Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?
KVNE: I guess if I had to pinpoint it, it would have to be the summer of 2018 when I met NO1KNOWS at a festival while he was actually working in Toronto. We always kept in touch, but didn’t actually collaborate on anything until he had returned overseas! ‘Time of Death’ was one of many songs we worked on together.
NO1KNOWS – I would kind of say the same as KVNE: once we met, we just talked about our love of music. It was like we were two guys from different sides of the world who have similar experiences. We mostly joked about people we knew in the industry and how we had been screwed over a lot to be perfectly honest – it was crazy how similar our stories were. We were and still are two guys who make art, express ourselves through art and that’s what we want to do, for that reason and nothing else. Here we are two collabs later… I don’t think we could stop if we wanted to.
Is there a specific aspect of your art making that you love more than others?
KVNE: Honestly I’ve always tried to avoid getting put in a box genre wise, but with that being said there’s always the consistency of a lot of emotions in all my music. I think if you go through my catalog you’ll hear that through my voice & delivery. Music is really just my therapy & I’m just super grateful to have an outlet to do so.
NO1KNOWS – That’s a tough question. Honestly, once I started doing it for the sake of it, I just got carried away. It’s really easy to doubt yourself so it’s a breath of fresh air having KVNE to be like ‘Hey man your beats are good’. I think when I have an idea and I have a vocal, my obsession is just crafting and crafting to get the final product. Putting the pieces of self expression together is therapy for me: I can stay up till 4am with my headphones on. It’s a burning desire to express emotion for me, so I would say the specific aspect I love the most is when the pieces fit together and you smile and go ‘Wow this is good’. Then sometimes I can’t believe I did it, so I find it very powerful.
Who are your all time musical icons?
KVNE: Jeeze, that’s a big question haha! I’d have to say all time top three: Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain & Jimmy Page. I just feel like without one of those three artists’ music, I probably would’ve never got where I am today.
NO1KNOWS – Very big question, I used to know the answer hands down, but as I got older I started liking emotionally powerful music regardless of genre. I could name 50 artists but if I had to choose 3, it would be Avicii, Led Zeppelin and John Mayer.
What is your creative process like?
KVNE: Typically, it’s always after hearing an instrumental. Sometimes an entire song can come to me off of one melody. Other times, sometimes it’s a lot more back & forth with producers to get the right foundation for a song.
NO1KNOWS – I must have like 100 unfinished songs. I always try to start around 4 chords and find the key and tempo. I always envision a track with vocals on it, so I try and work from the ground up, and build up to the drops. Once I have something rough, I like to go back and forward with the singer. I’m really open to someone saying ‘I don’t like something’ or ‘I want to change something’: that is the essence of collaboration.
What inspires your lyrics?
KVNE: Life experiences, I think that’s really the key to creating. You know, to really be able to channel things happening around you and draw from it.
NO1KNOWS– Same for me, life experiences, whether it’s my own, a story, a topic that I find relevant in society or someone else’s experience. With Time of Death, I really latched onto the message and story Kevin wanted to show and I hope I did a good job helping to achieve that!
Do you draw inspiration from other forms of art such as paintings, literature, cinema etc.?
KVNE: Absolutely, I try not to watch too much TV haha, but yeah absolutely.
NO1KNOWS – Yeah absolutely, art is all self expression: whether it’s cinema, music, paintings, it all tells a story in a different way. I can’t paint but creating my productions is my way of showing my self expression and trying to inspire others with my sound and message.
Tell us about your latest release Time of Death and how it came about.
KVNE: Time of Death was a fairly interesting process. We actually wrote the song what feels like ages ago. It was one of the last pieces we worked on out of a little batch, kind of went back & forth with it. But I always kinda felt I was hitting up NO1KNOWS being kinda like, “Man, I still feel like this one has really got something to it” haha, & after optioning it for a release to Blanco y Negro, with their support, we ended up getting everything prepped.
NO1KNOWS – I had a really, really good time creating this one. It came about with a beat that I sent Kevin and he knew instantly that it was the one for the topic of Time of Death. It’s a really personal track that KVNE wrote, so honestly I’m honored and humbled he chose me to open up about his story. It’s always hard for someone to do that and it really hit me in the feels. I’m so proud of him for doing it and thankful I could be a part of it.
Do you have any peculiar pre or post show rituals?
KVNE: Hahahaha, I wouldn’t say anything too peculiar! Before: I always like to stretch, have a drink (whisky on ice) and then bring a second drink on stage as well as a few bottles of water.
NO1KNOWS – KVNE’s ritual sounds a lot better than mine! I get really nervous, I’m not going to lie: I mostly pace around the green room. However I haven’t done a show for so long now, as most of us haven’t! I tend to go overboard with coffee or energy drinks, then if it all goes well afterwards, I like to have a couple of tequilas and a few beers with the guys I did the show with. It’s always hard to come down of such a high like that.
What’s the future looking like for you?
KVNE: I’ve got a bunch of new music ready to come out this year that I’m really excited about! I feel like the next few KVNE singles are really some core sounds we’ve been refining to get to.
NO1KNOWS – I’m working on a lot of music but I’m not pushing anything, for me this is about the journey. If I make something good I hope it can come out and get support. I really do want to get back to doing shows, but for me the future is always studio bound. In the future I hope I can inspire others and have fun doing so. That is my main goal.
Who inspires your style and aesthetics?
KVNE: I really just want to have lots of fun with all of it, you know? Like, when it comes down to it, I don’t want to ever have to say “Ah man, I wish I had tried this or that’. I’d much rather just give it a shot & have a blast doing it. I’m also blessed to have such a great tight-knit team that helps with the visual aesthetics: both Teagan Walker & Jessthesnapper who I’ve been working with for about two years now.
NO1KNOWS – Tough question for me as I’m a guy in a mask! I think maybe Marvel: I like to have a dark scary look which I think is kind of cool! Of course I have the classic DJ look most of the time all black with a backwards cap! I totally dress like a 20-year-old wannabe DJ.
What is the achievement or moment in your career you are the most proud of and why?
KVNE: I think the feature in Rolling Stone India was pretty major for both of us haha. Also just sharing the stage with some massive artists such as Lil Tecca, Virginia to Vegas & Rich the Kid are a few.
NO1KNOWS – Yeah the Rolling Stone Feature was really, really cool. We had a video premiere on We Rave You, so any proper dance music nerds would know how that makes me feel. Before that, I would say getting my first Beatport Top 20 with Been So Long, that was cool, and then Nicky Romero bumping the track, that was so cool for me.
What is your advice for aspiring artists that want to achieve what you achieved?
KVNE: Just remember why you start this ultimately, make sure you’re always having fun. And always try new things, try to continuously grow in this!
NO1KNOWS – Make music for the right reasons, ignore all the fame chasing and the need for clout: I’ve been there and it brought me nothing. When things fell into place for me and I started getting support, it was because I was doing it for the love of it, I don’t think you can fake being authentic. That’s my biggest piece of advice: be yourself and embrace it. I know that’s hard, it’s really hard with everyone judging you, but while everyone is trying to fit in and copy each other I think it’s so refreshing watching someone be unapologetically themselves, that speaks volumes.
What would you change in the music and entertainment industry especially after this past year?
KVNE: I would love to see more of the major DSP’s potentially offering an online livestreaming platform. I know that Spotifty is currently working on such, but I think that would be a great way to continuously engage with our fans & keep growing them.
NO1KNOWS – I would like to see it being more about the love of art: as I have said before, I think it’s become very fame and money orientated, which is why I wear the mask. I would like to see more real support for artists, less scams, more labels and DSP’s supporting real true art. It’s almost defined by who can pay for play, especially with what’s happened this year. Unless we change something drastically that will continue, we can’t forget music is about feeling, about emotion and I wish governments and organisations would support that more, because there is nothing more powerful than music. It brings all different types of people from different backgrounds together. Let’s help real artists more, let’s encourage creativity and freedom through music!