When CIVX and frontman/bassist Nick Hernandez parted ways, Hernandez seemingly disappeared from the local music scene.
Well, Hernandez has resurfaced—and with the help of some members of local group Alchemy, he has a new band in tow. Kayves has recently played a handful of shows and just released a new song, “Distant Lights,” on Bandcamp.
During a recent interview, both Hernandez (guitar/lead vocals) and guitarist Danny Gonzalez discussed how Kayves grew out of a jam session.
“It started probably a year and a half ago,” Hernandez said. “Me and (Kayves guitarist) Oscar Rico, who is from Los Angeles—he went to one of my old band’s shows. We talked, and we decided to jam; we hadn’t seen each other in a while. We’d get together and record stuff on the computer.
“I’d go to Alchemy shows every once in a while, and I told Danny we should jam and just see what came of it. That was the foundation of everything. We’ve just been adding the pieces.”
Gonzalez said that Alchemy is alive and well.
“We have our separate bands now,” Gonzalez said, “but we’re still playing shows and have some stuff coming up. Gonzo (Roger Chavez) is in Dreamers; Eric (Lopez) is starting a new band with one of our former keyboardists. We’re all still doing Alchemy and keeping busy throughout the whole music scene.”
Hernandez said that most of the members of Kayves live out of town, which has slowed things down as far as writing material and performing live.
“Our bass player is from Long Beach; our other guitar-player is from Hollywood; and our drummer is from Los Angeles. That’s the way we’ve been working,” he says. “We’ll start jamming; it’ll be me, Danny and Oscar. Someone else in the band will eventually hear it and put their part on it. It’s really cool to see how everything comes out. The long-distance thing is something we’re not entirely used to, but it’s working out.”
Hernandez discussed the song “Distant Lights.”
“That song is actually interesting because it’s the first time we had the whole band together—and we just jammed out,” he said. “I played drums; Danny was on guitar; Oscar was on guitar; and we had Eric (Lopez) playing bass. It was a song we wrote on the spot.”
Gonzalez has told me in the past that he doesn’t like to use a lot of guitar distortion. However, with Kayves, it was inevitable, he said.
“For the most part, I keep it clean,” Gonzalez said. “Nick writes some of the parts on guitar with distortion like he did on our song ‘Episodes,’ so I have to use distortion. I’m slowly weaving my way around it and trying not to use too much distortion. I still have my clean reverb echo sound.”
Hernandez said the band is making progress in building a song catalog.
“Right now, ready to go, we have about six songs,” Hernandez said. “We have a lot of songs we haven’t gotten back to. It’s always scattered around. We’ll get together, and we’ll write something, but we have to go back to these songs before we get too ahead of ourselves.”
Hernandez explained what makes Kayves different than his previous bands.
“I think we all write our mix—whatever sounds good in the moment,” he said. “I never really have to say, ‘I don’t like that part.’ Danny has his parts, and I fall in love with them, and Oscar has his parts, and I let them take over and put my part in it. I don’t think too much about it.”
Gonzalez said that being in Kayves has forced him to make adjustments, considering the band has three guitarists.
“With Alchemy, it’s only one guitar. I get to do whatever I want,” he said. “Usually, when we have our practices in Kayves, they’ll have a new song already made and have a foundation for the song. I’ll go in and ask what key they’re in, and start jamming along.”
With Hernandez, CIVX quickly gained the attention of the Coachella Valley music scene. The band’s quick rise was due, in part, to the Tachevah Block Party. The band had only played a few shows before getting enough votes on a submitted video to make the Tachevah bill—which, in turn, led to the band being selected to play Coachella.
“That was another time. Right now, it’s just building the foundation (of Kayves),” Hernandez said. “We’re trying to see where it goes. If it goes that way again, we’d love that. But we’re just starting from the beginning and building the foundation, and we’ll see what happens.”
Hernandez said the members of Kayves hope to have a recording to release soon.
“We’re working pretty hard, and we’re going to try and keep busy,” he said. “We’re working on an EP, which is pretty much recorded instrumental-wise, and I just need to lay down my vocals. But at the same time, we’re already making little steps toward making a full-length.”
Kayves will perform with Venus and the Traps, Nick Nasal and Habitat at 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Kayves, visit www.facebook.com/Kayvesmusic.