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To start, Kaiya, we know you have been performing solo since 2011, but when would you say Kaiya On The Mountain first manifested as an idea?
The band name is relatively new actually. We came up with it a few months ago after we decided we wanted to completely reinvent our image. We had lost a couple of founding members for different personal reasons and afterwards we really struggled to keep the dream afloat. As we filled those positions within the band and we were complete again, I felt like in order to keep our spirits high and the dream alive, we needed to completely reinvent ourselves. By adding new members, working on new songs, redoing social media and changing the name I feel like we’ve accomplished that. We are a lot more developed and focused than we were in the past. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we are definitely headed in the right direction now.
On your website, you describe your sound as a sort of “love child” of Florence and the Machine and Alabama Shakes… Can you go a little bit more into depth? What other artists and outlets do you draw your inspiration from?
Haha, I love the word “love child”. It really speaks to my inner hippie girl. But what that statement means is that I feel like Florence and the Machine and Alabama Shakes are two bands that we not only take inspiration from, but that we also have a lot in common with. On one hand, with Alabama Shakes, you have this very soulful, bluesy band with this powerful female singer who really gives everything she’s go with just her voice. The band aesthetic alone is quite interesting. And on the other hand, you have Florence, who’s really a true work of art. Not only is her voice extremely recognizable, but also her performances are phenomenal. That’s how I want Kaiya On The Mountain to be. I feel like we have the same bluesy, soulful sound of Alabama Shakes and the recognizable voice and musical performance ability of Florence and the Machine. Think of it like they’re our parents and we’re in the womb. We’re still in the development stage, but we will soon be capable of doing what they’re accomplishing everyday.
As far as other artists that I personally draw from, it ranges from Kanye West, The White Stripes, Miley Cyrus and the aforementioned bands, Florence and the Machine and Alabama Shakes. As the primary songwriter, I spend a lot more time listening to commercial music and all of these artists have three things in common.
1. They can all put on a fantastic performance, one that will leave people wanting more.
2. The have all had chart-topping music, especially Kanye and Miley. They may be controversial artists, but you can’t deny the success they have earned from crossing boundaries and going after what they want.
3. They are all very recognizable vocally. If you hear one of their songs playing on the radio, changes are you’ll immediately know who it is. That’s very true of Jack White, Miley, Florence and Kanye. That’s when you know they’ve made an impact in the music world. That’s how you know they’re a big deal.
Your debut EP comes out next month, correct? What can we expect from Kaiya On The Mountain’s first major release? Do you have any shows planned in the near future?
As far as our record release, the release date is actually being pushed some. We’ve been in the studio recording and there’s still quite a bit left to do. Since we have /are reinventing the band and our sound, we want to make sure this record is something we’ve really put a lot of thought into. That means not half-assing it. We’ll be in the studio again later this month and then the album will be sent to L.A. with our producer for mixing and mastering. We’re really shooing for it to sound as commercial as possible.
As far as shows go, we have a few shows that are in the works, which haven’t been announced yet. Our primary focus right now is to get this record finished, but any upcoming shows will be posted up on our website.
I sense a lot of modern folk elements in your music. When you set out to write a song, what’s the process like? Is there one or does it just happen kinds naturally and spontaneously?
As far as songwriting goes, yes it does happen spontaneously. When I first started writing songs I kept everything in a journal. It would just come out naturally as I sat with my guitar and played. The lyrics would just flow out and I would write them down as I go and then develop the song afterwards. But now, I just record everything on my phone. I have tons of ideas all the time for songs; it’s just deciding what is commercially viable. I have learned how important melodies are for a commercial song. With the help of our manager Johnny Vieira, I’ve been able to shape my songwriting into less singer-songwriter and more commercial radio music that’s shaped for the ears of those with short attention spans.
And lastly, a little bit of fun – If Kaiya On The Mountain was an animal, what animal would it be?
If Kaiya On The Mountain was an animal I think we’d be like a little colony of ants. Or like a flock of pigeons! I say that because over the past couple of months the guys in the band have taught me the true value of friendship. That we are all in this together and we can work together for this common goal we share. We really are like a family. We can carry the load when someone gets down and we’re also kind of indecisive sometimes like pigeons when they change from one electrical wire to the other. If anything, I would say our band is stronger than ever now and we’re really excited for what’s to come in the future. We’re definitely hoping you guys are there to join us in the journey.
Check out the music: http://kaiyaonthemountain.com