Indie electronic band DBMK discuss their latest album Headlights For Eyes, how they’ve evolved as a band over the years, and what’s next for them
Indie electronic band DBMK have evolved their sound over the past couple of years, incorporating more of each member’s different musical influences. Consisting of Kyle Knudsen (vocals), Jacob Trunzo (keyboard), Colton Ward (drums) and Josh Trunzo (guitar), the band burst onto the scene in 2013. Originally named Denim Blue and Miclain Keith, the band was formed by Knudsen and Keith in Tampa, FL, with their unique and energetic live performances giving them the opportunity to open for bands such as AWOLNATION, Panic! At The Disco, New Politics, We The Kings and Robert Delong. The band released 2 previous albums, 2014’s The Abyss and 2016’s Collapse, before Miclain parted ways with the band to pursue other interests. With the band now called DBMK, they are ready to charge ahead and focus on growing the band and reaching as many people as possible with their music, with the recent release of their latest album gaining them plenty of new fans! Having recently wrapped up their summer tour and with plans to play a few shows this fall with Vinyl Theatre, the band is well on it’s way to a bright future. You can stay up-to-date with the band and upcoming tour dates, as well as where to stream and purchase their music and watch their videos via the links below.
The band recently released it’s latest album Headlights For Eyes. What can you tell me about the writing and recording process for the album? How has the response been to the new material?
Kyle: The process for this record has been entirely different from the past. We did everything ourselves in a bedroom on the last two albums, but with Headlights for Eyes we were fortunate enough to work with an amazing team at CogentRec in Florida with John Johnson as executive producer. We’ve been building the concepts back and forth for a while- dumping ideas in a massive Google Drive folder and weeding out the better stuff. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the way the songs were received. Right away the existing fans seemed so connected with it and seemed to understand every nuance that we had placed throughout the record. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to feel that. This music is getting the attention of new people everyday and these are the people that we make this music for.
You guys recently finished your summer 2018 tour. What were some highlights of the tour?
Colton: Yes! This summer was amazing. We got to go to so many cities that we had not been to yet, to see the positive reaction to the new music was awesome. One specific highlight was playing the Troubadour in Los Angeles. We all felt the pressure of measuring up to the legendary music that had sounded there before us and the energy in that room is just unreal.
DBMK has recently become a four piece band, as Miclain Keith has departed the band. How has his departure effected the band?
Jacob: First, we don’t have enough good things to say about Miclain. He’s an extremely talented dude and still doing great things. I think the biggest element is that our sound has changed. We’ve always had a few dudes in the band working together, but now the creative process is quite a bit more collaborative. We all have very different musical backgrounds so the influences and opinions that go into making our music create a bit more of an eclectic thing. You have the sounds of “What a Day to Lose My Mind” with Jazz infused things like Hammond organ and synth. And then on the opposite side, you have “Switchblade” with huge 808’s and a dark flair. It’s really cool how its changed in that way.
You guys recently did a Spotify playlist contest! What was the fan response like? What can you tell me about the winning submission?
Kyle: The response for the playlist contest was great. We had something like 200+ submissions total across all social platforms and it was really fun to see the fans get into it. It was a sweepstakes style sort of thing so the winner was chosen randomly, but the winner built a playlist around I Think I’m Bored and surrounded us with some of our favorite bands so that was very cool.
Kyle- I read that you were a poet before you were a songwriter and have classical training in music. How do you feel that these things have influenced your writing and recording/arranging?
Yeah, I feel really lucky to have had the arts education that I received. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be able to communicate in those mediums and incorporate them into this music. Jacob and Josh had a similar education, and combined with Colton’s own research and study, we have a really cool vocabulary to reference. Poetry was always something I was fascinated with. This idea of drawing pictures with what you said, just really grabbed me. I love language and I try to songwrite in that mode still.
The band has released two previous albums, 2014’s The Abyss and 2016’s Collapse. How do you feel you have grown as a band and that your sound has evolved since you started?
Josh: I believe that since those 2 albums the writing process has changed immensely and now we are all working heavily with each other to create an impactful album. Our live sound has also grown immensely and our live show has improved with every single performance. We are more fluent on stage with each other and honestly just have a lot more fun, it’s been an awesome learning process!
Kyle- You won 2016’s Vans Berklee Off The Wall Scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. How has that experience been so far and have you faced any specific challenges in juggling your schedule to accommodate the band and school?
My experience at Berklee was amazing. I’ve met crazy talented and inspiring people and made life-long friends and collaborators. So much of Headlights for Eyes was inspired by my life while living in Boston and I learned things I’ll probably carry with me my whole life. That being said, this has probably been one of the biggest challenges in making this work the way we want it to. In fact before we started recording Headlights for Eyes I decided that it would be best if I took some time off from my studying there to focus on what we needed to do for DBMK. We’re all in and making it happen however we can.
Kyle- I read where you mentioned that some of your favorite musicians have come to the college to visit on a daily basis. Who have you been been able to meet? I also read that you have met a lot of great people and made some great contacts in the industry. How do you feel that will help DBMK going forward?
One of the coolest things about Berklee was the amount of workshops, skill clinics, and networking events they offered. I went to like, every single one shaking hands with every person I could. I’ve got to meet and learn from master producers and songwriters, members of Kendrick Lamar’s tour booking team, and the founders of some of the biggest organizations in music administration. One of my favorite producers and artists, Lido, came and did a composition clinic in which his project files and sessions were just projected for everyone to see and there were no secrets and I really got to see the “man behind the curtain” if you will.
Kyle- I saw that you have an online shop on Depop. When did you start the shop and what prompted you to start it?
Haha! To be totally honest, I found myself with a bunch of stuff and I wanted to give some new life to clothes, instruments, and music components I had loved but didn’t use that much anymore. I started the shop in February and haven’t been active on it since the record came out but during my Depop reign I was ranked 2100 in the world and yeah that’s my biggest accomplishment in life. Went ahead and threw it in all of my resumes. Bow down.
What’s next for the band? What are your goals going forward?
Jacob: Moving forward we’re aiming to continue to grow of course! I think that one of the things affecting the music industry right now is trying to stay relevant. Everyone is trying to stay current and put out a “Product” that is ripe for the market right now. I think I speak for everyone when I say we are trying to create something that stays true to ourselves and the fans we love. Of course we want to stay relevant and current, but the beauty of music is that something can be completely unique and “us” and create that new and current sound. Our goal is to embody ourselves and create art that is a reflection of ourselves in the context of the lives we are living right now. With that, we will be continuing to work on new material and getting out on the road to reach more and more fans!
Directed by Phil DuDeVoire and Kyle Knudsen Produced by Ben Eytallis & Chip Hansen, LunarVue Media, LLC www.dbmkmusic