Known as an eclectic, live electronic group with a hard edge, Five Knives have been making headway in the music community by pioneering a new sense of sound and style. Sharing stages with groups from Twenty One Pilots, to The Glitch Mob, this four-piece have been seeing great success.
We were lucky enough to meet up with Anna M’Queen and Zach Hall to dig up some of the truths behind that success during their recent stop at New York’s Electric Zoo Festival.
Monsters & Critics: So, What have you guys thought of Ezoo?
Five Knives: “We just got in last night so we haven’t had much time to check out the festival. We’ve been following it on social media and hearing about it from people we know. It’s seemed insane so far.”
M&C: So you guys perform more live than a lot of other electronic acts. How do you fit in with all this?
FK: “Well, we do and we don’t. We ride a fine line with all this. We’re EDM based, but we’re a full live band. We perform live, we sing live, but our production is what fits us into the EDM world. It allows us to blend into some of these festivals. I think it catches a lot of people by surprise, but I think for some reason it works out for us.”
M&C: I think it’s interesting that they billed you guys here considering it is predominately DJ’s over the weekend.
FK: “Well we are a very danceable band. Everybody wants to come and party and dance at this festival, and we can still give that to them.”
M&C: Was this your intention from the beginning? Or were you more interested in other music communities?
FK: “We actually really started with the EDM community in mind. We first started out making a bunch of sick beats. But when we make music in general, it’s not like we intend to be anything. We make whatever the hell we wanna make. If it comes out in a certain sub genre or whatever, it doesn’t matter. We make whatever we’re feeling that day. People ask how we mix rock, pop, electronic and all this together, and we just do. We make it work.”
M&C: We’ve seen that when it comes to vocal inspiration, you’ve cited artists like Gwen Stefani and Iggy Pop?
FK: Yeah, when it comes to our pop influence, we like to put the Iggy in the Pop, if you know what I mean. They are icons for us, in some ways.
M&C: You have such an interesting style. Now that you’re playing here, how does in contrast with back when you were playing with Twenty One Pilots and New Politics?
FK: Well, it was a really great experience. We were a lot darker then. But for some reason, it still worked. We’re able to manipulate our sets to fit a bunch of different genres. We have so many different tracks. I don’t know man, it’s been a process over these past few years, but we’ve gotten to a place where we feel like we’ve developed our style.
M&C: For being the live act that you are, why do you think so many DJ’s and producers have gravitated to your work? The list of remixes of your tracks is impressive.
FK: Yeah, we have tons of remixes that come through. Since we do a lot of festivals like these, we’re friends with a lot of different people. So sometimes we’ll ask them to do a remix or they’ll ask us. Like we have the same booking agent as Pretty Lights, so they hit us up. And Kennedy Jones has done one for us, he’s the nicest guy ever. We also worked alongside Boombox Cartel for our record and they really brought the EDM elements of our album to the forefront. So yeah, it’s all by circumstance really.
M&C: Are there any of you that are more focused on the production side, and more on the live elements?
FK: We really do everything together. In some ways, the guys are the masterminds when it comes to putting all of the tracks together, but it’s all a group effort.
M&C: How is the scene in Tennessee where you are from?
FK: “Yeah, there’s such a misconception that Nashville is just based around country music. Really, Nashville is a much bigger city than that. There is so much talent and so many musicians. If you go and see a show there, you’re going to see really good music. There’s a huge rock scene, indie scene, DJ’s are now popping up. When we first started, it wasn’t something that was super prominent in Nashville. So we threw some underground basement parties where you had to get a password to get in and try to create some kind of hype. Nashville is really booming now.”
M&C: Where is your tour lining you up next?
FK: “We’re really just on more of a radio run right now. We aren’t on a huge tour at the moment. We’re really riding off Savages right now.”
M&C: Are there any other collaborations or releases coming beyond this?
FK: “Not really, just kind of riding off our release. We just got ‘Ratatat’ featured in American Ultra, and ‘Sugar’ in the Transporter, so our labels have been really good at setting that stuff up. If anything, the next thing for us would be our next single called ‘Wild Ones,’ which would see a release at the top of next year.
So yeah, make sure to check out our record. It’s really great, we loved making it.”
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