ABOVE: MATT KIVEL AND ALASDAIR ROBERTS. PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA HEMARATANATORN.
In 2014, Los Angeles-based musician Matt Kivel released his sophomore album Days of Being Wild following 2013’s Double Exposure, and next month, he’ll return with his third full-length, Janus. Throughout the past year, aside from writing and recording, Kivel experienced extreme highs (he got married, his brother and sister-in-law had a child) as well as lows (“a few important people died”). These experiences are reflected in his “100 percent autobiographical” album and here we’re please to premiere “Violets,” a song inspired by his thoughts when watching the depressively dark documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.
“The film was incredibly graphic and actually sickened me to a point where I began to question my own motives for watching it,” Kivel explains. “I was thinking a lot about ‘true crime’ during the writing of this album… It’s weirdly considered an entertainment genre and it is undeniably entertaining, yet it’s easy to forget that these are real stories, often brutal stories. In my estimation, they appeal to some sort of depraved sensibility buried deep inside of me, and others.”
The song’s music mirrors the emotional escalation of such films: at the very end, soft electric guitar loops and gentle percussion give way to a short, albeit strong and more forceful guitar solo. Kivel’s signature falsetto quavers and croons lyrics that express what he calls his “unsettling relationship with true crime.” “I am the narrator on this record,” he continues. “Everything that happens is refracted and told from my perspective. Janus is real. Jamie is real. Janice is real. The Venus that lights up the sky in Prime Meridian lit up the sky in Southern California. The islands in ‘Palm Beach’ are the islands I visited off the coast of Florida 15 years ago. I am the betrayer in ‘Orpheus.’ Janus is my life.”
JANUS WILL BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 5 VIA DRIFTLESS RECORDINGS. FOR MORE ON KIVEL, VISIT HIS FACEBOOK.