When it comes to how full-spectrum Koven are with their sound, the most surprising thing is how they seem to take it all in their stride. While many fans see them as mostly liquid or melodic drum and bass-driven, their roots and indeed much of their passion still lies in heavier 140-150 bass music. Their upcoming album Butterfly Effect is due out in March on Monstercat and the duo have been teasing singles since December.
The pentultimate pair of singles from Butterfly Effect, “All for Nothing” and “Shut My Mouth,” illustrate that very point of how comfortable Koven are with toggling back and forth between their favorite sounds and ultimately we, their fans and the music industry, are just along for that extraordinary ride. The album truly is a sort of “butterfly effect” in itself, creating ripples in the way the EDM world thinks of sound and genre. In our recent sit-down with Katie Koven about the album, however, we found out that Butterfly Effect and, indeed, Koven’s journey as a whole, mean so much more.
Since your last full-length on Viper, it seems like you’ve had about a billion tracks released plus you’ve been touring and doing shows. How was it to work on another album with all that other stuff going on?
Ha, that’s great! I love that it seems like we’ve had about a billion tracks, it kind of does feel like we’ve been non-stop writing, recording and releasing for the last 2 years. We had our busiest year for shows last year, which has been incredible. I think the most positive thing about touring whilst writing an album is being able to test stuff out early, seeing the crowd reactions before the track is finished – it’s very exciting.
With Butterfly Effect it seems like you are getting back to your dubstep/hard bass roots that many people may have forgotten about and it’s a pretty strong toggle between the more melodic liquid D&B and hard, cinematic dubstep. Was there a reason you wanted to showcase that diversity in your style?
I think the beauty of doing an album is that you have free reign to do it all. Everybody knows we love the sad chord ballads but we decided to save those tracks for the album and make the singles be hard and heavy. We are lucky that we enjoy both those styles so it’s been great to be able to follow through with pretty much every idea we started for the album, whereas when you’re doing just singles or EPs you have to be more picky on which tracks to finish.
Was that ability to be diverse also why you returned to Monstercat with this one since they’re known for the diversity of genres they pick up?
Yes Monstercat is such a perfect fit for us. They have a big American market so the dubstep stuff works really well but they are also always trying to push D&B on their label and there aren’t that many acts cover both. ShockOne would be a good example of someone who does it and does it really really well and he just released his album on Monstercat also. So we just fit in there.
Since Butterfly Effect seems to rock back and forth between styles, sounds and tempos, was there another theme there for you aside from just a collection of tracks? It seems like you really wanted to make this an album to listen to all the way through and that made a statement on its own.
Yes definitely. We wanted this album to be something people would sit and listen to from start to finish and you don’t always do that if you’ve got an album of straight bangers. Sometimes you need to give your head a little break. There are some real beautiful tracks on there as well, stripped back and simplistic and those weirdly work really well next to a track like “Shut my mouth.” What we’ve always tried to do, even when making something that is more aimed at the club or live performance side, is we’ve always tried to keep some emotion in every record.
Did the title Butterfly Effect and its requisite track relate to the theme at all? The sort of ripple effect created by all the different styles and genres mashed together?
The title came afterwards and it took us a while to decide. We went through a bunch of names but we thought picking a track title would work well. We landed on Butterfly Effect because the lyrics to that track represent me and Max and without sounding too cheesy; “our journey” in music if you will. Ironically, all the lyrics on the album were written by myself and or Max except “Butterfly Effect.”
Our managers wanted me to have a go in a writing session with two professional songwriters just as it’s something I’d never done and you can always learn more. I was so nervous and during the session I was talking with the two writers about how nervous I was and how in life normally it’s the situations that make you most nervous that lead to new opportunities. You sometimes have to force yourself through it, feel the fear and do it anyway. That’s what my dad always says to me. Then one of the instrumentals Max sent over was titled Butterfly Effect before there were any lyrics to it. We decided the title worked really well for everything we’d been discussing, both for the album and the song.
Theme or no, the album definitely has a lot of dancefloor smashers on both sides of the bass music fence. How has the reception been when you’ve played the tracks out or heard them played out? Did you have some unexpected audience responses?
It’s been so exciting playing them out and seeing the reactions. You kind of expect the “oooooh” moments with the heavy tracks but even so when you get that, it feels great. What’s also been a nice surprise is one of the album tracks “Stars” I’ve been playing it out for a while and it is in no way heavy. It’s more lyrically poignant and pretty but I’m already seeing people really connect with it, which as a songwriter means so much to me.
With this album dropping at the beginning of 2020 and the New Year vibes still in effect, what are some of your resolutions for Koven for this year?
Oh gosh, well I know both me and Max want to generally be healthier, cut down a lot on drinking. This job has so many social aspects and drinking and alcohol unfortunately go hand in hand with every event but then you have to remind yourself it is a job and you have to stay professional….most of the time (laughs). Other than that we just want to smash it musically and not take our feet off the pedals!
What’s one thing you really want fans to understand about Koven, past, present and future?
Well we have so many people message and ask the same thing “Does max still play shows?” or “why doesn’t Max play shows anymore?” We understand it’s confusing because we did play shows together for a good few years so from the outside it looks like we just decided over night that I would play shows alone but it was actually a long time coming. Although Max was playing shows and he loved that side of it the travelling is so much for him due to travel anxiety It just became unhealthy for him to fly because he would need Valium for every flight and it wasn’t a sustainable way to travel when you’re taking multiple flights.
For me it’s important people understand that I didn’t push him to the side in any way, and Max is very grateful for me doing it by myself as he knows I do get lonely sometimes but in all honesty it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise because I had to learn a way to do the shows by myself, it now makes what we are as an act quite unique for that reason.
Anything else you can let us know about coming up? Tours/shows/ new releases/visiting the US?Yes! The US visas are in process, and yes so many shows. More shows than we could have ever dreamed. In all honesty I felt like we spent years being jealous of the tour schedules other artists would post and we’d think “Man why can’t we be that busy?” Now in 2020 we really are going to be!
Butterfly Effect will release on Monstercat March 12. Check out “Shut My Mouth” and “All for Nothing” tomorrow, January 16 as well as the other album tracks already streaming on Soundcloud.