I caught up with Koven and spoke all about the Sometimes We Are ep.
DB: Hi Koven lovely to meet you.
Koven: Lovely to meet you also.
DB: Where’s Koven from? And do you have a studio set up there as it were? Guess am asking how do you nail the creative impulses you have, to get them committed into music fast.
Max: I currently live in South London and have a home studio there.
Katie: I live in Luton, which is just one easy train journey to Max’s, we get together about once a week to write and record but when we’re not together we are always working and creating by ourselves. We send a lot of ideas back and forth over the internet.
DB: Do you create with the live experience in mind? What exactly is the Koven live experience, for those new to you?
Max: The Koven live experience is kind of like a half DJ set, half live show. We both have a 10-15min ‘mix sections’ where we include tracks we’re currently feeling, then we perform our material where I use samplers and midi controllers to perform and of course Katie jumps on the mic.
Katie: When we were writing this EP we were definitely thinking about the live experience of it, and how the tracks would go down at shows.
We wanted to create something that crossed over between the emotive big build ups and strings that we love but that also had the heavy bass to make a crowd go crazy.
DB: How long did Sometimes We Are take to come together, it sounds rather crafted and like a labour of love.
Max: Thank you. It felt like a life time! We had a number of different demos to choose from, and then it was just a process of making these demo’s sound as good as they possibly can, song writing wise and mix-down wise.
I think the final version of ‘Get This Right’ was version 120 or something crazy like that.
Katie: It feels like it’s taken a while, I guess we had the demos for these tracks about six months or so ago so it has been awhile. It’s a much longer process for Max than me. I help with the writing of lyrics and melodies but the production itself is all Max and that’s what takes the time.
DB: Speaking of ‘Get This Right’: when did the track start to evolve and was it driven by the lyrics?
Katie: This was actually one that I wrote on the piano: I sent it over to Max and he turned it into this huge D&B tune, which really excited me.
The lyrics were originally about being in a relationship and things not always being easy but now I think it’s about mine and Max’s musical journey. Kind of strange when I wrote it that wasn’t its meaning at all but that’s what I think of every time I hear it or perform it now.
Max: When Katie first sent the demo over to me, I loved it instantly.
I think the lyrics are very relatable to anyone who hears it. We’ve both separately had disappointing and disheartening situations in music, but now we’re working together I feel like we’ve got it right this time.
Katie: Kind of strange when I wrote it that wasn’t its meaning at all but that’s what I think of every time I hear it or perform it now.
DB: On to ‘From The Start’: is it about self-realisation, about moving forward in life?
Katie: ‘From the Start’ was always planned to be the opener for the EP.
Lyrically it’s about not overthinking everything: “keep stopping myself from trying to find what we are” – basically means not everything needs an answer and not every action needs to be over-analysed.
We think far to much about the future rather than just being in the moment. ‘From The Start’ is about every moment being a new beginning to something and just taking it all in.
DB: The music is very epic overall: what influences have you within D&B and in general over time?
Max: To be honest, my main influences are more outside of D&B. Artists such a Radiohead, Clark, Jon Hopkins, Foals, Deftones, Bonobo and Aphex Twin.
Don’t get me wrong, I love D&B, but when it comes to songwriting, I find my influences are outside of said genre.
Katie: I’m more influence by singer-song writers, someone like Florence and The Machine, Ellie Goulding or Birdy. But I’ve always been a big fan of D&B, I especially also love the emotive vocals and big build ups.
Max’s production style is just so on point with my taste.
DB: Back to the ep, ‘Lasting’ is a very unique tune, particularly when factored into ‘D&B’ as such… did it evolve from that intro? It’s very nice, very ethereal.
Max: It did start from that piano progression in the intro. I went for a very cinematic feel with this track. It’s obviously a song we’d never play in a club, but for me, it’s nice to have a bit of diversity on an EP.
We don’t want to just create tracks that will ‘go off’ in clubs, we want to create an EP that you could happily listen to at home in your slippers.
DB: And ‘One’s Own’: very evocative and I feel that you both must have been locked down in the creation of this… ensuring that the music and the vocals meshed, is this the case?
Katie: Yeah that’s actually very true: we had to change the vocals a few times on this one because it just wasn’t working with the track.
Because the track is rather large, as is the build-up, the vocal needed to have that energy all the way through as well.
I think, or at least hope it does now.
DB: There must be some big dates for you over the next few months… you must be keen to get this music out there! Is that the case? Would you be tempted to bring extra musicians out on the road?
Katie: We would absolutely love to perform with a live band one day, that’s the dream, we just don’t have the budget for it at the moment but hopefully in the future.
We’ve got some incredible shows coming up. I’m most excited for Webster hall in New York, that really is a dream come true. We are also playing at Tomorrowland. But for now it will just be the two of us.
DB: What tune – any tune – is in your head right now and why?
Katie: I’ve had the Nu:Logic remix of Birdy ‘Wings’ in my head for a few days now. It’s one of my absolute favourites. We played a show in Slovakia a few days ago, we went on after Hybrid Minds and they closed their set with that track, and its been in my head every since.
Max: For some reason, I’ve started listening back to White Pony by Deftones and the track that has been stuck in my head is ‘Passenger’. I’m not a huge metal fan nowadays, but I find this album so nostalgic for me and it brings back a lot of good memories.
Sometimes We Are is due out on Viper on July 24