Fresh off the release of their debut album, Butterfly Effect, London-based "cinematic bass music" duo KOVEN (real names Katie Boyle and Max Rowat) are feeling the love from all corners of the globe. Already garnering support from Delta Heavy, Document One, Pendulum, and more drum and bass acts worldwide, the duo's new album has certainly been making waves in the world of electronic music.
EDM.com took some time to talk with Boyle and Rowat about Butterfly Effect and what led them to their debut album release.
EDM.com: A debut album is a landmark achievement in any musician's career. How has the response to Butterfly Effect been thus far?
KOVEN: We are overwhelmed, honestly! We were very proud of this album and obviously we couldn’t put out anything we didn't think was good, but wow — the response has been beautiful. It’s just so lovely to see people as connected to something so personal as you are.
In the age of streaming, it seems that singles are preferred to albums. What are some challenges you faced putting together an entire album vs single releases? Do you prefer the album format to single/EP releases?
This was what we were very nervous about; you see it a lot when people release albums. Often listeners will focus on three or four tracks, and the rest fall by the wayside, but I think that's why we are so lucky we get given a green light when it comes to multi-genres. So, if you create an album where no two tracks are the same in any way, then people have no choice but to listen to it all through. I think that theory works anyway — could be wrong.
An immediate standout on Butterfly Effect was "Speaking Through Smoke Detectors.” What' s the meaning behind that track and its lyrics?
Ah, thank you! Very glad to hear that because it' s definitely one of our favorites as well. There are a lot of double meanings in that song, that's one of the ones we want to leave to let people to decipher for themselves.
Walk us through the creative process of writing a KOVEN song. Do you write the lyrics first, or is the instrumental track produced first with lyrics tailored to fit the vibe? Does it vary?
It totally varies. For example, if I take two songs from this album: "All For Nothing" started as an extremely basic piano demo I wrote and sent to Max, and somehow he turned it into something magnificent. "Shut My Mouth," on the other hand, started as just a one-minute instrumental which Max sent me, with no drop and I wrote to it first. "Give You Up" was a full on instrumental Max sent to me before any words were added. Every track has its own process. Some we write together like "Speaking Through Smoke Detectors", and some I write fully by myself and Max doesn't feel the need to change anything, like "Gold."
The Monstercat imprint seems to become more and more of a driving force in the world of electronic music every day. What's the best part of being members of the Monstercat family?
Their audience is very lovely, and they like to treat each other like a musical 'family,’ which makes them all very dedicated and loyal listeners.
The Pendulum Rampage livestream seemed to go over extremely well in such a strange time for music events. Do you have any plans to continue livestreaming performances in the coming weeks?
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It was such a special experience and we are very grateful to have had that opportunity, and yes we will look into more things we can do like this during this weird time.
Building on that, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for musicians facing new regulations that limit their ability to perform live in the near future?
I think everyone's main fear right now is, “Will I still be relevant or will people everyone forget about me?” which is a normal thing to fear, but I think it'll be the opposite and once we can all play shows again the demand will be even crazier than before. I hope so, anyway.
You seem to have massive support behind your music, including friends like Delta Heavy, Cyantific, Pendulum, Document One, and many other drum and bass greats. How does it feel to be supported by so many giants in the scene, and how have they helped you with your own music?
It's really lovely and feels quite special. These are people we have looked up to for years, and now that it's come to us releasing our debut album, they are supporting us on social media and in the clubs. It's so nice. We are at one of those points in our careers where we have a lot of, "If I could go back and tell myself X amount of years ago this would happen, I wouldn't believe it" moments.
Max, who are some of your biggest influences from a production standpoint? What do you listen to outside of electronic music to gain new inspiration?
Katie, tell us about your experience performing live to drum and bass fanatics. What do you think separates KOVEN performances from typical live sets?
I get complimented a lot on my 'energy,’ like a weird amount. People say to me, "I love your energy," so I guess that is what makes our shows special — whatever it means! I just love performing so much and I know it sounds cheesy, but I am so grateful for every show and it helps that it took us so long to get here; it definitely adds to my gratitude so much. 11 years working in the industry and it’s finally at a point where it's our main source of income. It’s amazing.
It's certainly still early to be thinking about it, with Butterfly Effect only released a few days ago, but are there plans for more KOVEN albums in the future?
Absolutely. We have so many demos kicking around still from Butterfly Effect we can' t wait to get started on the next one.
KOVEN's debut album, Butterfly Effect, is out now via Monstercat, and can be found at this link.