Keeping It Real

Attention all gourd-shaking hippies—Kiev wants you.

What's the Kiev story?

Grace—the piano player—and I used to play in a band before this, Fairview. [Fairview's] career peaked—if you would call it that—playing Coachella when we were 20 years old. Mars Volta played after that and basically put us to shame, like, “What are we doing on this stage? We're playing crappy Get Up Kids rock.” Then, to get out of a sticky situation in that band, we sort of broke up. We were working on a record with a producer and things weren't going well. While things weren't going well we wrote a new batch of songs and started working on a new record. By the time the lawyers [involved in the first record] said, “This isn't happening,” we were like, “screw it. We're a new band anyway.” It had taken a year by that point. It was a good experience. We learned two things—writing with a producer and getting screwed.

You recently had your first TV appearance, right?

Yeah. That was the weirdest thing. I think we shared the stage with Young Jeezy, Five for Fighting, Starsailor, and Rebelde. Rebelde is this Mexican soap opera where these kids go to a private school but they're also in a pop band that actually performs outside of the show. It's actually called RBD. They're huge in Mexico. Everyone in the crowd was there to see Rebelde. But it actually went over really well. If you go to a swap meet you'll see Rebelde towels, incense, and mugs and stuff.

Have any favorite locals?

Locally we love playing the Detroit Bar. We really like Richard Swift and the Cold War Kids.

Your band has the standard rock setup, but you use a laptop too. Do you try to limit the amount of electronics?

Exactly. That's the worst—when you see a band sound check with a laptop and you hear backup vocals and guitar solos and shit and they're not even playing. So, we try to be conservative with it.

Do you ever get drunks or snobs heckling you for using a computer?

No. Drunks don't even know. Drunks are more like, “Dude, that's amazing. How's that drummer's snare drum sound like a timbale?”

So you've got a line you won't cross when it comes to using a computer live?

Yeah, there's a line that can't be crossed. Anything we could make with our instruments isn't allowed to go on there. I think if someone's wondering, 'Where the hell's that coming from? . . .' That's happened to me a few times even watching pretty big bands. I remember watching Coldplay once and they had an acoustic guitar track running through one of their hits. I found out later they played all these Pro Tools tracks and I thought that was pretty awkward. I think that's an obvious line that can't be crossed. Something like the shakers that we would prefer to play live. Someday we would hope to have money or backing to have enough people to play everything. It's hard enough right now showing up with two guitar amps and a keyboard and a computer and having a sound guy freak out and say, “There's so much to mix.” It'd be even worse if we showed up with a bus full of hippies with drums and jewels and shit to shake into microphones.


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