“I was working in the studio with a guy named Mads Bergland and Frederik Valentin came along and heard me singing, and he stopped and asked me if I could lend my voice to a song one day. Now, I was skeptical of this tall blonde Danish man who reminded me of a biker, but also could be a cool drug dealer, but that’s because I was coming from New York… One day I decided to give it a chance and we got high and made the song ‘Candy’ in the studio. [After] that song, Frederik would randomly text me and ask me to come back. Before we knew it, we had a record!”, says Jeuru, a vocalist from Queens, NY, explaining how his collaboration with KYO began.
Now I was a skeptic of this tall blonde Danish man who reminded me of a biker but also could be a cool drug dealer. But that’s because I was coming from New York.
KYO is a project that is brought to us by Hannes Norrvide (Lust for Youth) and Frederik Valentin, both of whom call Copenhagen home. I would best describe their music as free jazz meets electronic – it’s textured, it’s limitless in its exploration and it’s beautiful. Jeuru Antoine, a Black American from Queens, makes music that ushers you through the depths of your darkness with buttery-smooth RnB vocals and evocative lyricism.
At first glance, this free-electronic-jazz/RnB collaboration might seem like a questionable pairing. This assumption is silenced the moment you listen to the latest release by KYO with Jeuru, All The Same Dream. This LP, released by Copenhagen’s avant-garde explorers, Posh Isolation, is a mixture of tracks that are firmly anchored in KYO’s signature sound, while faithfully carving out new terrain with Jeuru.
All three musicians are currently based in Denmark. Within Copenhagens’ music ecosystem, we find tales of government-supported art spaces, like Mayhem. Hannes explains, “With these spaces, we are afforded the time and energy to make sustainable work that can impact a culture, meaning that there’s no rush for output. What we are able to give out, comes from a real place.” I find similarities between Copenhagen and Montreal in this statement by Hannes. Montreal’s music industry is also subsidized by government funding and artists often cite the city’s affordable cost of living as an asset to their careers. Both are places that allow artists to flourish by centring creative exploration in their artworks, instead of output.
“we are afforded the time and energy to make sustainable work that can impact a culture-meaning that there’s no rush for output. What we are able to give out, comes from a real place”
In reflecting on my own experience moving from a city known for its diversity, Toronto, to a city that arguably would rather not be known for its diversity, Montreal, I wonder what it must feel like for Jeuru. “There’s a huge difference in the culture I grew up within Black America. Coming to Copenhagen, I learned so much about why representation is important and why it’s necessary to be proud of who I am. I always knew why as an adult, but the more time passed, the more I felt confident as a black man in a predominantly white country. Also, Tinder is pretty fun – but that’s another story haha.”
All The Same Dream is the first release from KYO that employs what I’m calling “lyrics for the listeners.” The lyrics on this LP seem to draw inspiration from the entanglements of romantic relationships. Jeuru states, “I mostly freestyle the lyrics in the studio when I sing. Again, it was mostly about my honest take on what I was feeling in the moment … I can say it was mostly a mix between my lust and my sense of how lost I was in the world, especially being new in Copenhagen.” Hannes elaborates on the effects of this lyrical collaboration for KYO’s music-making process, “It makes us more aware of making proper song structures, which we aren’t used to at all with this project. But most of all I find it very satisfying to work with someone who can lift the arrangements to new heights where we couldn’t go otherwise.”
Most of all I find it very satisfying to work with someone who can lift the arrangements to new heights where we couldn’t go otherwise.
KYO w/Jeuro are playing tonight for the festival Suoni Per Il Popolo
Canadian Tour Date
- June 7 – La Vitrola – Montreal
- June 9 – The Baby G – Toronto