We caught up with funk-infused pop sensations, KiSMiT, to chat about their new single, “Cosmic Love”! The duo, who just recently performed a month long residency with Sofar Sounds Los Angeles last month, opened up to us about what they have coming up, their songwriting process and so much more! Read our exclusive Q&A below:
Let’s talk about “Cosmic Love” – how did the song come about for you? What’s the story behind it?
‘Cosmic Love’ marks a change in our style & music for us. We played our first full band show in LA just one year ago and, as you can imagine, we are still establishing ‘our sound’. Up until this song, our music lived in a more singer-songwriter world, but after seeing the likes of Allen Stone and Vulfpeck live we knew a solid injection of funk was called for in order to engage booty-shaking wherever we play.
As far as the message – this song reflects the ups and downs, the light and shade and the all magic and mundane parts that make up love. We are a couple pursuing our dreams together and we recognize the craziness of that commitment daily. This song is a sort of mantra for us to remember to trust this love that will continually surprise us. We can control nothing else but devoting ourselves to it.
What’s the reaction been like for you guys?
It’s been really positive. The ‘internet’ has described Cosmic Love as ‘three minutes of pure fun’, ’the perfect addition to the summer’ and ‘a catchy track you’ll want to turn up loud’. But the reaction truly felt real at our last show, at the Viper Room; As soon as we started the song people got up off their seats and created a dance floor. It was a powerful experience to share with everyone there that night.
What can fans expect from you guys for the rest of the year?
In a nutshell: We have more music, new videos and monthly shows coming at you 🙂 We are aiming for an October release of our first EP ‘Cosmic Love’ ([Baz] working title). The second single off of our EP ‘Every Shade of You’ has an accompanying music video involving a color powder fight (so, so fun!). These are the foreseeable plans but we always keep our calendar open for the magic beyond our control or anticipation (booking a DOPE fall tour)!!
When it comes to stage presence, which artist(s) do you take inspo from?
[Baz] I am inspired by Carly every time we are on stage, she lives the words and melodies she sings. It’s really something special, and I feel fortunate to witness her perform firsthand quite often…everyday really…even in the kitchen, bathroom, at Trader’s…
[Carly] Daww **cue heart explosion** Thanks my Baz. I love this question – thanks for asking it! I think stage presence is secondary for a lot of musicians, especially the most technically trained. I tell Baz often – it doesn’t really matter if we sing a bum note or mess up a chord – it’s about feeling, connecting and emoting. That’s why we are in front of people or else we would just be at home by ourselves. Allen Stone is someone who gives 110% on stage and I’m definitely a super fan! I am incredibly inspired by P!nk – she is so commanding and never ceases to keep pushing her boundaries & adding new elements to her live shows. Of course, I can’t not mention my admiration for the queen, Beyonce, the world has never seen a better triple threat (singer, dancer, actress – for my non-theatre nerds) and I’m so grateful to have grown up idolizing her songs & dances.
Growing up, which artist(s) do you remember loving? Did they influence your sound?
[Baz] James Taylor, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Seal, my dad, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera (guilty pleasure) all left deep impressions on me during my formative and adolescent years. The guitar-playing contingency of these names, especially my dad, John Mayer and James Taylor, all led me to the magic of wielding music and its power. Layla (the extended version), ‘Kiss From a Rose’, and the entire Off the Wall I listened to on repeat for a good few years, even now when I listen to these songs I’m still grabbed by something new: harmonies, lyrical innuendos or sly arrangement moves.
[Carly] The first album I remember singing all the way through was Jewel’s ‘Pieces of You’ at 5 years old – from then on I was hooked (thanks to my single mama!) to all of the raw, honest, & emotional powerhouse women of the 90s – Alanis, Sheryl, Melissa. Through my teens, I spent hours playing along to Regina Spektor, Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michealson – and crying salty, sweet sixteen tears into my piano. These strong female singer-songwriters merged my love of musical theatre into a more pop sound and definitely still influences the storytelling I am doing.
What’s the songwriting process usually like for you guys?
[Carly] We approach each song differently – sometimes we sit down and write together. Baz loops a few chords and I sing over it until we land on a melody that turns us on … creatively. Other days, I write alone on piano and he helps me tweak the chords underneath. Doesn’t matter how we get there as long as we sit our butts down and show up to write!
[Baz] When we are writing KiSMiT tunes it starts from any of the three angles: melody, idea, & track. When we’re lucky, we catch the emotion we’re feeling that day in an intertwined melody-lyric gift.
What’s a song you absolutely love that you wish you wrote?
There are many songs!!! We cannot just say one, so to name a few:
‘As’ by Stevie Wonder. “Did you know that true love asks for nothing, her acceptance is the way we pay.” Just wow.
‘Make You Feel My Love’ by Bob Dylan, it’s such a simple love song for all kinds relationships not just romantic.
‘Imagine’ by John Lennon – the most perfect song of peace.
Nowadays, do you think that social media plays a big role in breaking a new act?
[Carly] Social media plays a huge role in connecting people, especially around the globe, but it’s main function for new acts like us is advertising. Thankfully it’s free! Posting on Instagram, FB and all things social is a part of our day to day, like responding to emails. I don’t know about social media being the catalyst for breaking a new act, but it certainly gets the word out. [Baz] There’s no amount of posting, liking or following that replaces the hard work and discipline of sketching, crafting and refining the music. Bands have to start with the music. The music comes before putting anything in the shop window of social media land. To my mind, honest, well-made music and lively performances play the biggest role in breaking a new act. [Carly] I think the biggest thing is, you can be as shiny as you want online but if you don’t have the talent to back up a live show, the whole project falls flat. Just like when you think someone is cute via social media and then in person you’re like, “Oh heeeeeeelll NO that was photoshop & you were straight working an angle!”