Violent Kin siblings hit the road together

Paying homage to 80’s bands such as Tears For Fears and Genesis with their latest four song EP entitled Velvet Hideout, Sasakatchewan’s Violent Kin are a sibling duo set to bring their 80’s influenced sound to Metro Moncton. The band will be performing on Monday November 15 at Plan B, 212 St. George Street in Moncton.

From a roadside stop while en route to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Violent Kin’s SJ Kardash reminisces about growing up with his sister Maygen in a household that welcomed a diverse palette of music and ultimately helped to shape the duo as musicians.

“I think that us having grown up listening to all sorts of different music as well as having played different genres of music really helped to shape us as musicians,” Kardash says. “We were able to borrow from genres like classical and apply our learning to the music that we are playing today.”

Kardash then offers a piece of advice for those young or old pondering the decision to take up learning a musical instrument:

“For anyone looking to start playing music, I truly think that you should start on piano and learn those fundamentals before moving onto any other instrument. I really think that the piano helps you in writing for both that instrument and others but also helps you to appreciate music on a greater scale.

“I actually started playing the piano before having learned how to play the guitar and although I wasn’t terribly happy with my parents decision at the time, I am really glad I went down that path now.”

Though the group may be relatively new in age, Violent Kin is not the first band for the Kardash siblings. Prior to their current group, both SJ and Maygen played in the group Blood Lines who released one record prior to disbanding.

SJ admits that he has little in the way of qualms in regards to playing in a band with his sister. He says that while the two share a similar vision in regards to what they want to achieve musically, they simply take different paths that compliment one another in reaching the end goal.

“There are a lot of times that she will bring in a song idea that could have been in a Disney movie where I bring the edge and a sense of melody to the song.”

After the release of their 2009 debut record Bitter Blood, SJ and Maygen left the comparatively small surroundings of their hometown of Saskatoon to take up a musical residency in New York City.

…Wait, don’t bands typically play around their home region before setting their sights on the bright lights of the Big Apple? Maybe so but if anything, it just helps to show that Violent Kin don’t set their calendars to follow any “standard” band-career time line.

“Our first show of our New York City residency was actually only our third of fourth show together,” SJ says. “We didn’t even play our first show in Saskatoon until two months later!

“We figured that if we could tackle New York City, then playing anywhere else would be a relative breeze. We didn’t see moving to New York and playing there as something that only established bands did.”

SJ says the benefit of having played cities outside of their home region was a benefit unto itself.

“By the time we arrived home in Saskatoon and played our first show, we were a finely tuned machine. Aside from our shows in New York City, we had played a bunch of shows throughout the United States and Canada which really helped us hone our skills.”

Asked how he feels his band has grown in the year between their debut record and their new Velvet Hideout EP, Kardash sums it up pretty succinctly:

“The songs are definitely more cohesive now. I think we developed the ‘Violent Kin’ sound rather nicely since the first record. Looking back on our debut, we were doing a lot of experimentation, trying to find what kind of sound works live and what works on record.

“I think we learned a number of lessons that we were able to bring forward to the making of the EP. It really feels like a good period of growth between the two releases.

“We felt as though the songs on the EP stood on their own rather well and rather than wait to have a whole record completed, we figured that getting an EP out would help tide us and our fans over until our next release.”

If Kardash has his way however, fans won’t have to wait too terribly long for more music from the Prairie-land duo. SJ is hopeful that the group will have another full-length record ready for release by the summer of 2011.

“We are always writing and working on music but really, we turn things around quickly because we like to put pressure on ourselves to get things done. Knowing that we are working towards a deadline helps to get things accomplished for us.”

When talk towards the end of our interview turns towards the weather and whether it has affected any of their tour plans, Kardash says that they were initially nervous booking a tour at this time of year due to the potential for inclement weather. Luckily though, he says they have been experiencing great weather all around and have their fingers crossed that it continues:

“I’m standing outside of our band van in Northern Ontario wearing a spring jacket. The weather has been pretty unbelievably good. If the bad weather could hold off until we have a chance to play Moncton, that would just be excellent!”

Article published in November 12, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript