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Face the Music: Kyle Gervais goes solo, keeps sound open-ended

May 9, 2013

YellowBrix

May 09--Although KGFREEZE is his current moniker, if the name Kyle Gervais rings a bell, it's with good reason. He was a member of The Cosades from 2005 to 2008, and then Grand Hotel from 2008 to 2012. Both were notable local acts, and each released two full-length albums and an EP.

"Sociopath" is the first solo album from the Fort Kent native who now calls Portland home. Gervais plays every instrument (guitar, keyboards and bass) except drums, which were handled by Derek Gierhan. The album, co-produced by Dominic Lavoie, has a lot going for it, and is tricky to categorize. Hear for yourself at kgfreeze.bandcamp.com and Facebook.com/kgfreezemusic.

Gervais recently answered some questions from GO about his music and the new album.

So explain the name "KGFREEZE." I get the "KG" part, but where does the "FREEZE" come from?

It's a name that I've had in mind for years, just something that I thought was pretty silly but also had a ring to it. The way that I started writing it out, KGFREEZE, all caps, no spaces, also gave me a very modern, maybe even hip-hop sort of vibe, which definitely appealed to me.

This project isn't something that I want to have be immediately pigeonholed as rock or pop or whatever. It's a little more open-ended, and I like having a name that can also be interpreted in many different ways. Plus, it sounds like my name if you slur it just right.

What did you listen to growing up?

Everything, and I know people say that. But literally, everything. Living in Fort Kent in the '90s meant I listened to a lot of country, but my parents also made sure I had a good knowledge of classic rock. I took dance classes from kindergarten to third grade, so I was really into C+C Music Factory and Paula Abdul. I saw MC Hammer in 1991, distinctly remember getting Ace of Base's "The Sign" for a birthday and having it be the only gift that mattered, loved Outkast and Wu-Tang in middle school, had a Steely Dan phase sophomore year, and I can go on.

Am I correct in saying you play every instrument on "Sociopath" except for drums?

Everything but the drums, yes.

I hear guitar, bass and keys. Am I missing anything?

That's really about it. A lot of the songs were written primarily on keyboard and then filled out with bass and guitar, as well as a number of synth tones.

As much as I would have loved to run wild in the studio playing a little zither and didgeridoo, I was always aware that these tunes were going to have to translate live, and I don't have the patience/energy to handle a band with more than four or five people. So in order for things to translate, the arrangements had to stay within particular limits.

What did you learn first?

Bass. I've been playing since I was 10 years old.

What your favorite song on "Sociopath," and why?

It's a toss-up between the title track and "Dancing." "Sociopath" is such a nice-sounding song with these ridiculously cheesy keyboard tones, but the lyrics are just so mean and terrible, basically about having no apologies for being a self-centered jerk with zero empathy. I love that.

"Dancing" is such a weird, goofy tune that shouldn't work at all -- the delivery of the verse nodding to Bowie and a guitar solo straight from the Weather Channel -- but it just all comes together, and you don't question how bizarre it actually is. Or at least I don't, ha!

What's the hardest part about writing lyrics?

Actually sitting down to write them. I used to try and write words based on the sound of them rather than what I was actually saying, but it's hard for people to connect to things that don't make any sense. I also have a problem writing anything positive or nice, just because it always ends up sounding so cheesy, at least to my ears.

Lately, I've found that writing lyrics that have a bit of a sting to them or that are covered up by sexual innuendo come pretty easy to me, because it turns out I really enjoy turning people off while turning them on, or vice versa.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?

I'd guess 11 or 12, but I'm sure it was terrible. I think the first tune I wrote that I could actually stand behind was a song called "Happier" when I was in a band called Glory Trap in high school. We won the Reindeer Rock-Off, but only because we had a choreographed dance.

If you could collaborate with any musician alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Prince, because even if it didn't work out, at least I'd have some sort of crazy story. And if it did work out, well, I'd have a freaking tune with PRINCE.

Where can people purchase "Sociopath"?

Sociopath is available at all Bull Moose locations and through Bandcamp.

Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

aponti@pressherald.com

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(c)2013 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine)

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