Recently we did a review of a piece by the artist KNXVES titled “Civilized Pt. 1”, we stated it as “ a somber and haunting track, a deep philosophical and mesmerizing melody joined with a vocal of anger, pain, fear and longing, asking the question… Why?”
We, we did an interview with KNXVES, and we got some very intellectual and timely answers from a man that thinks with a massively superior intellect. KNXVES, Former lead singer/songwriter of The Ten Thousand, with his new single, “Civilized Pt. 1”, Bay area based artist, KNXVES has produced his most definitive work to date. The video and track both serve as a meditation on human nature, pain and suffering. In the context of America’s political climate, KNXVES stares directly into the eyes of the listener and forces them to answer the question, “What does it mean to be civilized?” An intimate portrait of a man troubled, he tries to adjust to society’s oppression towards minorities.
KNXVES highlights the emotional implications these attacks have on the mind of not only black males, but anyone who is targeted by the oppression of the right. An enchanting portrait of an artist navigating the world’s actions, he invites audiences to join the contemplation.
He questions humanity’s claims of enlightenment when we so often allow others to suffer pain, and even worse…enjoy inflicting it. A crucial perspective in a time of significant change, KNXVES is the remedy the world has been waiting for.
Join us know as we learn about the man behind the mission, and the voice of a generation energized with the heat of a thousand hearts.
IPM: Tell us about yourself, where do you come from and where are you heading?
I am a graduate student of Architecture at UC Berkeley, in California. KNXVES is the coming together of my interest in visual, spatial and auditory storytelling.
IPM: Who were your musical inspirations?
Massive Attack, Portishead, Death Grips, Suicide, James Blake
IPM: Your music does not really fit in any genre, it is unique, and how would you describe it for those that hear it for the first time?
Post-Soul, taking the emotion and rawness of soul and R&B, the aggression of punk and then deconstructing it with digital tools.
IPM: Listening to your musical “Vision”, what brings you your inspiration in writing?
I use current events, personal change and the desire to make a broader space for black expression.
IPM: The composition of the music, the verse, there is “darkness”, an inquiry into mind searching for answers, are you leading the listener to find the answers to questions, or trying to get the listener to face a truth?
I see “Civilized Pt. 1” as a sort of koan, or meditation. It is meant not to pose a direct question, but to provoke thought. Like the moment a movie ends and you have to sit down and think about it as the credits roll. Or when you finish a book and you just sit there taking it all in.
IPM: How to you see our world, the current political climate, interpersonal relations and the unrest in the streets, do you see the place of the artist as one that needs to bring the truth to the masses?
I don’t think that art has to be explicitly political because, in a way, everything is political. Especially in a climate where political events and tensions are so easily packaged, sold and rebranded (Pepsi). I think the role of the artist is to create something that works beyond simply entertaining. Entertainment is important, but art can serve another function that is just as important, if not more.
IPM: I know my questions seem “Political” but, these are very interesting times, and where some come to create “Music” which insights potential violence or celebrates drugs and debased morality, few have the courage to see there is more to life. I find there is a deeper meaning to your music, a courage that can be shared, where do you get the courage to define yourself as you have.
I think making anything forces you to confront yourself in some way. If you do it enough, eventually you grow and mature and become stronger and more sure about who you are, as a person and an artist.
IPM: If I may, your verse is very well grounded in reality, where do you see this nation heading if certain powers at play are left unchecked.
Hmmmm. I really don’t know. It doesn’t look good right now.
IPM: In your opinion, what should the youth of this country and around the world look at to create a solution to the issues at hand?
We should look ahead. And we should think at a different scale, to think beyond our lifetime and our borders. What I see when I see conflict is a lack of understanding how things work in the long run….too often we choose convenience and immediacy over quality and the hard work of understanding.
IPM: Where can our readers and followers hear your music for themselves and where can they see you perform next.