KARDASHEV: Sudden Turn of Events


Progressive death metal trio from Tempe, Arizona, Kardashev returned in 2015 with a brand new studio offering “Peripety.” In case you missed this record, it is definitely your loss, because this album has a lot to offer with its ten songs. The band’s singer, Mark Garrett, talks for Prog Sphere about the new album, and more.

Define the mission of Kardashev.

If we had a mission, I think it would simply be to do something meaningful. I find that often times, we really just want to stir something inside the listener that will bring them to some sort of positive place in their lives. Maybe someone will hear a song and feel motivated to make a good change in their lives, or perhaps one of our darker songs will cause them to see something in themselves that they have often ignored. It’s hard to say exactly what we set out to do because everybody’s experience is different. As long as what we’re doing brings people some sense of emotional growth, and as long as we’re putting out music with substance that avoids the flash or flare of the pop side of metal, I think we’ll be able to say we’re on the right track.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new album “Peripety” and the themes it captures.

Nico, our guitarist, watched a TED talk by Mike Rowe, who is the host of a show on the Discovery Channel. During the talk, Mike Rowe talked about peripety – a sudden turn of events that usually takes form of some sort or realization. That idea started a spark in him, I think, and he started building an idea around it. Chris and I loved it as well, and started thinking about moments in our lives where we learned something about the world or ourselves that changed the game completely. Eventually, we found our way to the version of “Peripety” that has been released today. Getting there involved a lot of introspection for us as a group. Nico and I would go on long car rides and just listen to the sound of the road – sometimes with slow, soft music playing. Chris and I would sit on his small apartment balcony and pour out our hopes and dreams to each other. I think without realizing it, we formed a lot of the concepts for “peripety” in those moments.

Peripety - Album Cover

What is the message you are trying to give with “Peripety”?

We really just want to get people thinking. We don’t care to make any huge claims or take a preachy approach. Who are we to come up with some sort of “meaning of life” message when everyone is so different? All of us have plenty to figure out on our own, but if someone puts the album on and starts thinking about something in their life that doesn’t involve reality TV or their job, we can call it a success. Change happens when people are willing or able to think boldly on their own, and hopefully peripety can open up a space for that.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Initially, the music was solely written on our guitarist, Nico’s, home recording setup. We don’t typically write the music down before recording to preserve the idea, we’d rather allow it to grow and exist formless before putting in the effort to write it out, riff by riff, layer over layer only for it to change. We’d all had preproduction forms of each song as they developed to help provide as close to real time feedback for the riff, rhythm, beat, lyrics, etc. After the songs are solidified, Nico tabs all of the songs on Guitar Pro or Tux Guitar which will be available for download.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Only to a point. We knew that we wanted the music to move from Darkness to Light. So we played with moving the darker themed songs toward the front of the album, while allowing songs like,”Lux” to exist in the aft part. Nothing is set in stone, however.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Simply put, Chris and I come up with concepts and we discuss it with Nico, who then begins to realize simple bits of ideas through riffs to help exemplify the ideas. We all take equal part in creation or criticizing the ideas, which is a good way to help deflate any egos and maintain an equal playing field. At the time of writing Peripety we didn’t have a drummer, so the process started at guitar riffs and abstract concepts combined with midi drums to fulfill the “ideas” we were shooting for. It’s hard to conceptualize a half baked cake, but with limited resources we made it work. Nico would sit at his computer thinking up riffs, then Chris and I would provide input and feedback which helps create our punnett square of music.


How long “Peripety” was in the making?

Peripety was started in early 2014 when Nico and I were living together in an apartment. We were writing Lux around that time, but we only had a riff or two because our main focus was IOTA which we released late that year.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

We all love metal and listen to it extremely frequently, but we mix it up quite a bit as well. We have always admired the atmosphere of Fallujah, and we also like the long, slowly evolving songs of Steve Reich. Lantlôs was very inspiring for their ability to mix soft sounds with emotionally heavy moments, and we also found that in other music as well. We were infatuated with the more meditative side of music, and listened to groups like Nest, Saåad, and movie soundtracks.

What is your view on technology in music?

We’ve tried to utilize the more up-to-date technologies as they come out (Amp Modulation, Superior Drummer, live amp automation, Live Streaming a performance, etc) but we haven’t quite mastered it yet. I think it could easily be resolved with more capital, but we’ve yet to attain the necessary amount. Technology advances exponentially, and thus I’m eager to see what will be developed in the near and distant future.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

That’s a hard question, as any answer seems audacious. We just try to write something people will enjoy with the hopes that something beautiful will grow out of their experience. Many amazing things start out simple, and we like to write with that in mind.

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