Read Below To Find Out What Happened When We Interviewed Kyven
Kyle Ewalt and Steven Shewbrooks.
Listen to ‘Be The One’ from their latest EP!
Q. How did Kyven come to be?
Steve and I met in college (Berklee in Boston), we became room mates in the second year. Steve was a music synthesis major and I was a music business major and vocalist. As music students do, I recorded a couple of dummy vocals over Steve’s production and thought wait, that actually sounds really good. From that we thought we should really do this, that really started it. We wrote 3 or 4 songs together and we used them for different projects, after college we both independently moved to New York and dove right in. Now we have been writing songs together for 11 years.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge as a duo to date within the music industry?
When we create music we want to get it out to as many people as possible and want it to be successful. There are a lot of projects we finish and end up waiting, you cannot force radio stations to play stuff. You can try your hardest to get your material out there but things have changed with social media and how everything is done nowadays. When we first started it was all about the physical CD getting it into the right hands, but since then it has become a lot more accessible to get our material out there.
I think what is interesting when we were finishing up school was that the record industry was is completely difference from what it is now. The digital evolution has completely changed what it means to be an artist, producer, record label. We had to learn along the way on how to do this, but we feel very lucky to have been featured in as many TV shows and picked up by companies which we have. It’s really tough out there but independent artists can succeed in ways that they couldn’t succeed in the old model.
Q. Throughout your career what are your most memorable moments ?
For air play I would say, when we were first starting in the placements we would be watching TV, and suddenly our music would be blasted on Jersey shore with our name flash underneath. We thought this is crazy I’d be at home with family and music that I created is now being seen by millions of people. Similarly a lot of stores play our music, being in a mall walking past a store and hearing, thinking ‘is that our music?’. It has happened more than once. So that to me is just amazing as we are able to take something we created and have it be accessible to so many people.
For live performance we got the chance to gig quite a lot here in New York. We had a performance about 5 months ago at a place called canal room, a cool downtown space. We went for it, we had backing singers, backing dancers and the sound in the venue was really great so to be able to perform our music was quite thrilling, and fun.
Q. Your new EP was released on the 6th November. What can you tell us about it?
The EP is titled ‘For Commercial Use Only’ and the reason for that is Steve and I felt really fortunate that we have been placed in so many stores and television shows. The advertising world is it’s own special format but it’s kind of the holy grail on creating relationships there. We are doubling down on our intent to work with ad agencies, music managers, brand managers and we wanted to be very explicit and say hey guys pay attention this ones for you, and not that they’re totally accessible and relatable for our general audience. But they are inspirational in a way that we wanted to just flex our muscles and say we can do this, we can rival stuff that is on the market right now. We have been in the game long enough, we wanted to make a focus on this and see if it works.
Q. When creating music do you have a set process or designated roles?
It depends sometimes, I will write a track more lyrical but most often I will create a track with a beat, i’ll come up with some keyboard parts, play in some ideas then send it off to Kyle or send a bunch of tracks. Then ask do you feel any of these? I can sit there and write a bunch of vocals to things that I have but when I send Kyle the instrumental and he comes back with something that is so incredible, I’m like ‘Thank god we didn’t use whatever I was writing for the melody! This is so much stronger, so much better!’.
I am a writer for both dance-pop music and theatre. I think in the story line and lyric line. I think you’re under selling yourself, what comes my way is in really good shape. Essentially I can just lay a melody line or vocal line and come up with a concept right on top. Maybe copy and paste or move around the structure if I want to go to a bridge a little earlier. Steve is funny, I can tell by e-mail if he really likes it or not depending on how many capitals there are and if i get a text too. When it comes to reactions between me and Steve we don’t get flustered. We both know our intention is to get the best song so we will just say were not feeling it. ‘That’s ok, cool’ and I will write something new. Its a good relationship; we don’t get offended.
Q. Who would you love collaborate be with?
Speaking from a business perspective, I would love to collaborate with Taylor Swift and the reasons are that at the moment she is the queen of pop, she is very open to exploration and trying new styles, she is tall and slender like I am so an stage we would look good performing together. We have collaborated with female vocalist in the past and it does something to round out the sound if my voice is complemented with a female and Steve does really great work in production to balance the two and if there is riffing going off he will let the female voice sore. So that works.
Q. How has social media and the internet impacted on your music career?
It made our career. When we first started out it was when MySpace was the social media and through that we were contacted by a distributer who put us up in eastern Europe in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. We had a top 8 dance song in Poland off that. Steve reached out to the DJ Serge Devant, who we ended up collaborating with on 5 or 6 different songs and Serge is very well known worldwide. Him featuring us kicked up our recognition. He was based in New York so he would come over and chat. We did make albums early on but it’s changed over to digital. We have done all our songs online. I looked and 90% of YouTube posts with our music are not posted by us but by our fans. In the comments section it will be who wrote this song, links to Amazon iTunes.