[ARTIST SPOTLIGHT] Kyau & Albert: LA Takeover
It’s not every day you get two jet-setting trance legends to perform an open to close set in your backyard but Kyau & Albert gave us just that. West Coast EDM had the chance to sit down with the duo pre 8 hour music marathon (post disco nap, of course) and learn about the inspiration behind their new EP, what we can expect in the coming months, and much more!
West Coast EDM: "Under Your Spell" has a bit of a different and funky house vibe. Would you say this is indicative of a possible new direction?
Steven Albert: We definitely tried out different stuff for the new album. We don’t just want to do a club album with a lot of club tracks, we want to tell a story. And “Under Your Spell” is part of the story. It sounds different but we are also putting together club mixes in the typical way.
Ralph Kyau: The key for us is to deliver great compositions and after the album is out we can do [club] mixes.
West Coast EDM: Where did you get the inspiration for the lyrics in your new EP?
Steven Albert: This is sometimes a very complicated process because when you write the lyrics for the vocals it sounds like fantasy English… you have an idea of the story you want to tell and you just find the lyrics which fit on the fantasy English. Again, it’s a pretty complicated process.
West Coast EDM: What can we expect from the three tracks on the November EP?
Ralph Kyau: We actually haven’t decided yet. The album is almost done and we are just thinking about it now.
Steven Albert: Similar direction to the first EP… more listening tracks with my vocals and, of course, then the club mixes.
West Coast EDM: What first attracted you to the trance genre?
Ralph Kyau: I was very young and still in school… not quite at the age of going to events but I had a friend who did techno nights in Germany. At that time a young guy called Paul van dyk - he was 19 or something - was playing the opposite of the normal techno. It was music that was open-minded and it was rushing over your body and you’re thinking what is this? And this was trance. And trance apart from other electronic music genres is very musical and this is what I really love.
Steven Albert: It’s probably quite similar for me - it was also Paul van dyk. I was listening to compilations in the 90s and his tracks always stood out for me. I really enjoy his way of doing the melodies. For me, he was a big influence.
West Coast EDM: Who would you most love to collaborate with next (that you haven't already)?
Steven Albert: We’re not really looking for collaborations. Sometimes it happens if theres someone we really like and have the opportunity to work with, but there’s no one we’re really looking to collaborate with.
Ralph Kyau: So on the album we have a collab with Jeza - British singer living in Hong Kong - she did a collaboration with us on the last album “Matching Stories” and we asked her if she was keen on doing another collaboration because we liked her voice. There are definitely collabs coming in the future but we don’t really plan it. The collabs with Markus Schulz or Paul van dyk came to us - they asked us but we don’t really plan it so sometimes it just happens! For example the collab with Steve Brian: we discovered this guy in ‘05 when he came to Euphonic Nights in Berlin. We’ve worked with him for so long and never did a collab so for the album, we finally said “Hey, let’s do a collab!” and we did “Reverie!”
West Coast EDM: Who or what are you listening to at the moment / how do you find the tracks you compile for your monthly show?
Steven Albert: We get promos from all the labels. We also follow Beatport and music blogs. So I’d say the top three are promos, Beatport, and music blogs.
West Coast EDM: You both have families and have put out countless tracks over the years - how do you guys have time to sleep?!
Ralph Kyau: Normally our schedule is very precise. We wake up early and go to the studio - we basically work every day so we just sleep when we’re tired. I don’t really need as much sleep as I did 20 years ago I don’t know why [laughs].
West Coast EDM: Any emerging artists in the trance world you might consider your protégé?
Ralph Kyau: There are a couple of people who are very talented. For example, Bryn Liedl from Vancouver will release a mini album on Euphonic or Maywave from Poland is a talented guy. There are so many talented people out there and if we like the people, we support them in releasing their material on Euphonic!
West Coast EDM: Most memorable fan moment?
Steven Albert: I remember we were playing in a club and someone gave us a drink and put it right in front of the players… the bass box made the glass come closer and closer and all the sudden it spilled… and, yeah, the music stopped [laughs].
Ralph Kyau: We played in Miami all night long back to back with Super8 & Tab and there came a fan from New York - he has 2 cats named Kyau & Albert! They are 10 years now and once in a while he will send us photos of the cats… we also signed some posters for him and he says he puts them all over the wall at home, which is still just really cool [laughs].
West Coast EDM: What's something not a lot of people know about each of you?
Steven Albert: There’s probably a lot that people don’t know [laughs].
Ralph Kyau: I’m really into nature and living in an organic way. I do beekeeping at home, I do homebrewing - I brew my own beer, I like gardening. Same with Stevie! So we are pretty normal people. But there’s a hive in [Stevie’s] garden too!
Steven Albert: Yes, I am also a “beekeeper.”
West Coast EDM: What’s your favorite thing about performing in LA?
Steven Albert: We play open to close which is quite rare.
Ralph Kyau: I love it.
Steven Albert: Yeah I love it - it’s like a journey. We start more progressive with some current tracks and in the end there are some classic tracks from us. We just want to keep the vibe fresh all night so we don’t play the same type of music - this is why I say journey.
Ralph Kyau: For open to close, we don’t do it that often. We did it in Paris and Germany and then once a year here in LA. I really like it because there are so many tracks that you always want to play or that fans request you play that you don’t really have time to squeeze into a 1.5 or 2 hour set.
West Coast EDM: How do you guys maintain the stamina throughout the night prior to an open to close set?
Ralph Albert: We do a disco nap and don’t really drink too much, except maybe a couple of nice IPAs. In Germany, it’s like 8AM in the morning, which is when I’d be bringing my son to school so it’s basically like I’m starting my day at the studio! That’s actually the advantage of playing on the West Coast - the time difference works out perfectly. We always ask our manager to get us early flights to the West Coast so we have some hours to sleep before our shows.
West Coast EDM: What can we expect for 2019?
Ralph Kyau: More music and more tracks done.
Steven Albert: First, we will release tracks from the album “Never Lost.”
West Coast EDM: Do you each have a favorite track of your own?
Steven Albert: “Made of Sun” is like nothing we did before and “Are You Fine?” brought us to a bigger audience so both are very important to me.
Ralph Kyau: But it’s interesting because different tracks are popular in different places. For example, we just played in Russia and “Are You Fine?” was super big - you can still drop it now and people sing along. Here in the US, “Are You Fine?” is also known but even more known here is “Another Time” and “A Night Like This.” In Germany we had a couple of big chart hits such as “Velvet Morning” or “Outside” so it just varies.
West Coast EDM: Any parting words?
Ralph Kyau: We know we have a lot of people who listen to our monthly radio show Euphonic Sessions… what I tell everybody is: don’t be lazy send a voice message! It’s very easy to do!
Well there you have it, folks! If you missed Kyau & Albert’s open to close set in LA, you can find comfort in knowing there’s much more new music to come. And if you’re an avid listener of Euphonic Sessions, be sure to spice it up in next month’s episode with a shout out!