Published on June 28th, 2011 | by Chase Larson0
Q&A with Kye Kye
Hailing from the Portland-Vancouver area, Kye Kye consists of siblings Olga, Timothy and Alex — along with Olga’s husband Tommy — and has developed a distinct sound somewhere between Eisley and Imogen Heap. After a year-long, soul-searching sabbatical, the band released the electronic and experimental, Young Love, produced by Future of Forestry’s Eric Owyoung. SOUND spoke with Kye Kye’s Tim Yagolnikov about the group’s evolution, Christianity and recently kicked off tour.
How would you describe the sound of Kye Kye?
It’s definitely electronic in nature; at the same time it’s definitely earthy as well. It’s kind of a mixture of both. I’m definitely more electronically geared and do the programming and stuff. Olga is definitely more into acoustic guitar and rock music, growing up listening to Tegan and Sara. I guess the sound is just kind of a fusion of both.
Who are your primary influences that you have looked to in your musical process?
Obviously you grow up listening to a bunch of different music which kind of turns into its own thing when you start writing. We used to be under another band name, Paper Rings, and at that point we were experimenting and trying to figure things out musically. But for this first album under Kye Kye, we tried to take a step back. For myself and Olga, the year prior to writing Young Love, we barely listened to any music. The writing process was more meditation. We tried to have the most clear, blank slate possible in our minds.
Tell me about the transition from Paper Rings to Kye Kye. What are the major differences?
The biggest change was an understanding about who we are, what we’re writing about, what our goals are, what we want to do in life — big questions and answers. You’re born into a family with certain beliefs and you grow into that environment and take on those beliefs because of the friends and family around you. And then you come to the point where you ask, why do I believe this? Why should I live my life this way? There’s a time where you have to make those things personal to you and make sense of it all.
How did that understanding affect Young Love?
After we recorded the first album, we were in somewhat of a slump or something — mostly because we were going through that period when we were asking those kind of big questions for ourselves. That’s when I felt God really spoke to our hearts and started answering them. A lot of the writing process was meditating on those questions. We definitely went through a transformation period; a deeper understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. A deeper understanding of what it means to know God.
Do you think being a band with a distinctly Christian message makes it hard to appeal to a wide audience?
I don’t think so. Your mindset on whether or not people are going to accept your music is really important. I feel like when you say it’s Christian, it almost limits it to a certain group of people. The way I look at it, the people who are probably going to connect most with it are the people who are truthfully looking for answers. Whether you’re Christian or not, the same questions arise. Where did we come from? Why are we here? How do we live a meaningful life? In essence, that’s what we were going through at the time. I definitely don’t see the fact that it’s Christian in nature limiting us as far as audience goes. That’s been our experience so far.
Kye Kye released its first album, Young Love, in January. You’re set to tour now?
We’re touring and playing a few festivals this summer like Creation and Cornerstone. We’re out for a while. And it’s not confirmed yet but we might be going on tour with Future of Forestry as well. We have a 3-series EP we’re working on and should come out with the first installment in November or December. We’re working on a lot of video stuff we’re going to be releasing as well.
What do you enjoy most about making music and performing?
My favorite part is the creation process. A lot of our songs came because we spent more time meditating and getting to know God and less time trying to come up with awesome sounding music ideas. I feel like the time that we did sit down and try to write something, we basically just had ideas come to us — that’s how we felt with a lot of the album. To create something that’s original and a lot of people will connect to comes from earnest seeking. I think it’s a lot more about listening than trying to come out with a hit song. ♦ ♦ ♦
Stream Young Love here and watch Kye Kye’s unique and impressive cover of U2′s “With Or Without You” below:
Visit Kye Kye’s official website at kyekyemusic.com.
Chase Larson is the founder and editor-in-chief of SOUND. He has written for Men’s Journal, Deseret News, Daily Herald, Rhombus Online and worked as an editor at the The Daily Universe. When he’s not involved in one of the aforementioned pursuits, he sleeps. Very well. Follow him on Twitter at @chasemlarson or Google+.