(English) KNOWER Interview – Go Hard, Be Real, Be Big
Interviewer: Kazuaki Watanabe
If you are aware of crazy-cool new music in LA, I’m sure you have heard of KNOWER. Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi are from LA and they have grown their fanbase worldwide by entertaining the music fans with their crazy-cool music and fascinating videos.
It’s really hard to describe KNOWER with words but if I had to describe them, I would label them as “Crazy-cool Heavy Electro Jazz Funk Progressive Pops from LA” as if they are really greedy about mixing things.
Genevieve is the singer and Louis is the drummer (and almost everything) and they are both known for their high musical skills. They have attracted many artists like Snarky Puppy and artists from Brainfeeder and I’m sure we will be seeing them thrive to be one of the greatest of all time.
I hanged out with KNOWER and asked them some questions that might pump up your music motivation.
Interview: KNOWER (Louis Cole & Genevieve Artadi)
“This needs to be fuckin’ crazy!”
The Show on 8/5 was super awesome. Thanks for coming to Japan!
Louis: Sick! Thank you man. Thanks for having us.
Can you tell me a brief history about KNOWER and how it became a band?
Louis: Genevieve and I were on a gig in LA for this guy Robbie Marshall and we got along really well. Genevieve asked me to work on a couple of my songs and add some stuff because she had some singing and piano. She wanted me to take it to the next level.
I tried to do that and played a bunch of drums and bass. It sort of sounded wimpy and she was like “Man this needs to be like fuckin crazy.”
So I was like “Oh, OK I didn’t know you wanted me to go full blast.”
Since then we have just been going full blast and trying to make really heavy funk and the best music we can make.
What do you think Genevieve?
Louis: …Thanks Gen
I heard this was your first time coming to Japan. What makes you come to Japan and play with YASEI COLLECTIVE?
Louis: I’ve always really really wanted to come to Japan because it looks sick. It’s totally confirmed now man. It’s like the coolest city I’ve ever been to.
Genevieve: How did you get in touch with Masa (Masanao Matsushita from YASEI COLLECTIVE)?
Louis: I’ve seen their video and thought it was cool so I just emailed and reached out to Masa.
I saw the live and I felt the show had a powerful energy to it. What drives you to create such an original music?
Genevieve: Well… It’s really rare to find music that would fulfill this thing that we can relate to as far as what we feel about this world. So we wanted to make music that we would want to listen to and provide an energy that no one else can provide.
Louis: We are trying to scratch that certain itch. We are trying to make our own favorite music actually. So that keeps us really pumped about it which makes it easier for us to put more time, energy, and love into it.
Who are your biggest influences when making music?
Louis: Skrillex definitely changed my life for the stuffs we’ve been doing lately. Other than that, we love artists like Michael Jackson, James Brown, Miles Davis, Tony Williams, Talking Heads, The Beatles, Stereolab, Lush, Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, James Chance, and bunch other Jazz Musicians. Also Classic music like Ligeti, Mozart, Bach… I don’t know there are so many artists
Life is complex and crazy and I like music that connects with it
Your music sounds like something that would fit in the club/EDM scene, but at the same time, you guys use weird chords and sometimes even hard Jazz rhythm patterns. What makes you create and mash up those two different things. Because those two essences or genres sometimes go against each other but it sounds so cool when you guys play it.
Louis: Aw dude Thanks man. I think it comes what I love. Like a really heavy ass drop if it’s really cool and I also love really gnarly chords that give you like a nice feeling that you can’t get from normal song, so I try to mix the 2 of them together.
Genevieve: Yeah we are greedy. We want to put them all together.
Louis: Yea that was what we were saying earlier like hitting that particular zone or scratching that itch. The mix of two kind of does that for us.
Genevieve: For me it’s weird not to mix it all together because people have so many dimensions to them but when it comes to music (especially marketed music) people think that they have to stick to one thing. I don’t think people are just one thing and I definitely don’t feel one way.
L: Yeah man. Life is complex and crazy and I like music that makes you connect with the layered feelings. And I want to tell it.
That’s fuckin deep man. Life is complex.
L: Yea that’s the key point haha
G: And we try to get that out of each other.
I feel like KNOWER has so much original lyrics like “Butts and tits and money, because I’m broke and ugly” or like“The government knows when you masturbate.” Who writes those lyrics and where does that come from?
Louis: We wrote “BUTTS TITS MONEY” together. “BUTTS TITS MONEY” is like everyone’s obsession with those things and how it’s crazy.
Genevieve: Louis wrote “The Govt. Knows.” You know it’s pretty self explanatory.
Louis: We usually write them together.
Where does that inspiration come from?
Genevieve: We get a lot from our conversations. We talk a lot about life and what we feel about the things all around us. We think what feelings match the songs.
I think a lot of people switch their mind to like a “Lyric Mode” when they write so what they say and feel when they are on a record might be different from their everyday lives. But you guys are different.
Genevieve: Most of it’s in the conversation. Sometimes I would be driving for road trips and Louis would ask me to say anything that’s weird. That becomes the topics that we can choose from.
Also the animation. How do you come up with those crazy animations like a giant penis flying into the sphinx?
Louis: Yeah some of our animations in our shows and the videos are weird and cool and gnarly. A lot of that we just have our songs and go with the first idea that comes up in our head. For “Butts Tits Money” we have like giant Dick Rockets flying into earth. We didn’t make it fly through buildings but we have it fly through a horse and trucks and stuff. We just thought it would look cool! For the visuals we don’t really go that deep into meanings. We just go with what looks cool that has like a off the bat visceral impact.
If I have to die right now I want it to be fun and exciting. Like getting hit by an Asteroid
Are there any specific songs from the newest album that you want to talk about deeply?
Louis: The song “Pizza” is about a meaning of life. We eat really healthy until we make a really good song that we think is good enough to put on an album. That is like our whole purpose in life. So whenever we reach that point, we get a shitload of pizza. So it’s like a meaning to life for us.
Genevieve: “Die right now” If I have to die right now I want it to be fun and exciting. Not lying on my back.
Louis: Like if you had to die you want it to be cool. Like getting hit by an asteroid or like space accident. I guess that would be pretty scary though. I think falling off a cliff would be sort of fun, probably better than dying in a hospital. “Hanging On” (the first video in this article) is about having a really shitty job. Most people have to do that but it sucks and I don’t think humans are meant for that. Hope we will figure out a different system.
Genevieve: “Real thing” is about not being fake. Not shrinking your real self to fit in.
Louis: “Cry Tomorrow Laugh Today” is like you probably haven’t felt the most pain in your life yet and it probably will happen someday but you can’t let that you sad right now.
G: For “Overtime” we were just trying to write a poppy sassy song. We wrote this song for Janet Jackson but she never used it so we used it for our album.
The overall theme is Going hard, being real, being big.
Tell us about the LA music scene. Who are you friends with?
Genevieve: Well, we spend a lot of time at home recording. And we finally go out when it’s time to play out. We are friends with a lot of Jazz musicians lately. We meet people in LA that are from outside of LA. LA is like a place where we all gather around and meet.
Louis: Some of my favorite musicians are my friends. Like Sam Gendel. We’ve been friends for a really long time. We are friends with Tim Lefebvre who is my favorite bass player in the world and he just happens to live in LA which is really lucky for us. And definitely Thundercat. He lives in LA and I love his music. Dennis Ham, he is a great keyboard player…like ton of my friends…like everyone.
Louis: I don’t know if we fit into a scene but we are surrounded by really cool and creative people. So I feel like we are supported by many people because they have a similar mindset about music. There’s a shitload of good music going on in LA. All kind of stuff for every genre.
How did the snarky puppy collaboration come?
L: Yeah Justin Stanton of Snarky Puppy Facebook messaged me saying “I think your music is really cool.” We hung out with him in LA and he was really fun to hang out with. I guess when he was coming up with people to collaborate on their family dinner album, they thought we would be a good fit.
Instead of thinking how we can market ourselves, we make what we believe in
Any artists that you want to collaborate in the near future?
Louis: Oh man I want to do a song with Skrillex. And I wrote some songs with Thundercat recently. I really like the singers from the band Lush. It’ll be cool to do something with them.
Genevieve: I wanna do something with Thom Gill.
How did you get your fan base on YouTube?
Louis: One thing that helped us right away was that we are friends with Pomplamoose and they helped us start our careers. We didn’t know how to launch our career back then. So they told us why wont we make a YouTube video. So we made one and they shared it to all their fans and that helped us for the first part.
As far as getting more fans, I think the main thing is that we are just trying to stick to what we believe in. We believe in what we are doing I think and hope that’s going to be the main thing .
Genevieve: The more we’ve been doing exactly the kind of music that we want to do, the more we’ve been attracting people that we want to attract. Instead of thinking how we can market ourselves.
Louis: Yeah that’s true. If you look at the numbers, we may not be huge or anything but we have like the absolute coolest fans in the world. We are somehow able to connect with people who are really cool. We’ve been really lucky.
Genevieve: Yea we’ve been finding the coolest people everywhere we go and it’s awesome.
Are your parents musicians too?
Louis: Yeah my Dad is a doctor but he plays jazz piano and trumpet. And my mom played Bass for couple of month. We used to jam in my room.
Genevieve: Whaat? That’s cool.
Louise: My sister is a great singer and a trumpet player. I also have like 7 or 8 aunts and uncles who are professional symphony musicians. My grandparents were musicians too we have a big history of music in my family.
Genevieve: My parents are rock musicians and did pop gigs on weekends when I was growing up. My Mom is a singer and my Dad is a guitarist and he write songs and I grew up around them.
So that’s how you guys got into music or was there another influence when you started music?
Genevieve: My cousin had a band and he asked me to join. I was so bad haha. That’s why I went to music college because I didn’t know what I was doing.
Louis: My dad used to play really cool music so I was always around good music. He made me something like a bassoon with cardboard and I was trying to make rubber band guitars and stuff. I always had music around me.
Let me see your some recently heard songs from your iPod.
Genevieve: We’ve been listening to Spooky Ruben’s “These Days are Old” a lot lately. We always come back to this.
Genevieve: And Louis’s new song.
Louis: I’ve been listening to this remix by Teddy Riley originally from Eternal.
Anything you want to announce?
Louis: Solo album coming soon! Its going to be really cool.
Genevieve: Mine too!
Louis: No just me.
Genevieve: No I do too!
Louis: Both of it’s going to be really tight. We’re working really hard on it. The sneak preview is going to be out soon. Plus Europe and East Coast tour coming soon. We are going to be doing a lot of shows with live bands too. We are going come back to Japan as much as we can!
DOPE! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do the interview!!