Local Love: 20 Questions with Kronen
Photo: Dave Schemel
Lately it seems we’re all stuck dab center in a drowning musical world of hyper-infused genres and hybrid whatchamacallits. There’s hardly any distinction from one song to the next. Lyrical inspiration seems plagued by the same themes of “love” or “growth,” and finding something different in tone is difficult, even for proficient time-wasting Internet surfers as experienced as we are.
But local experimental psych-rock outfit Kronen is finding its niche in the unconventional. Lead singer and guitarist Caleb Kronen says he and his band love playing with listeners’ heads, and it all stems from his studies at CU. It’s a different approach to the saturated world of tonal excess.
Kronen plays live this Thursday, Oct 30 at The Bluebird Theater with Dead Floyd, Skydyed and Midnight Pressure.
1. Who is in the band, and what do they do?
Kronen was founded by my sister, Kato Kronen, and I. Since our formation in February 2012, we have added various members. Our bass player, Chris Wright, is an audio engineer and co-owner of Violet Recording (located in Boulder). He collaborates with Kato and I on production and recording processes. We also have a keyboard player (Dan Herman), cello player (Joseph Howe) and a lead guitarist (Steve Ehrhardt).
2. What would the name of your genre be if you could make one up?
We like to refer to our genre as “experimental electronic”.
3. The new album is out, how does it feel to have something like that done and out to fans?
Our self-titled album, “Kronen”, is our 3rd release and definitely our best work yet. It feels amazing to finally have an album that integrates both acoustic instruments and electronic instruments in a balanced way. We have already sold out of our first thousand copies of the album and the response from our fans and local critics has been extremely positive.
4. Who’s the most needy when it comes to hitting the band up for free concert tickets: family or friends?
Friends were always hitting me up for tickets, but now that we have sold out the Fox Theatre twice this year, our friends don’t wait to get tickets from us anymore out of fear that the show will sell out and they will be left in the dust.
5. With all this knowledge of hearing science, do you plan on being an ear doctor one day?
Yes! I start my doctorate of audiology in August and once completed, I will be working in a hospital as an audiologist.
6. Do you wear ear protection?
I always wear ear protection unless I am rehearsing or performing with Kronen. Whenever I see other bands play, I always wear my musician’s earplugs.
7. At what level should our stereos be turned up to so we can enjoy Kronen the most?
One question my current research study asks is about how loud people choose to listen to rock music versus classical music when different amounts of compression is applied to the signal. On average people listen to pop and rock louder than they listen to other genre’s and this largely has to do with the amount of compression limiting that is applied by audio engineers in the recording industry. Cory Portnuff did a study with CU’s Hearing Research Lab to find out the answer to your question and he found that when using stock ear-buds you can listen to music for 22 minutes at 90% volume without hearing loss.
8. Your videos are produced with a quality not normally attributed to smaller bands, why is it important for you as artists to make it that way?
In 2014, the era of online social networking, music alone is probably not going to make a band famous. People need audio-visual stimuli that speaks to them. It is important for us to make our music videos as high-quality as possible because these videos are our product. The videos are what brings people to shows and our shows are what keeps us going as a band.
9. The videos are as visually satisfying as they are sonically; do you write songs with a video in mind, or do ideas come out further down the road?
As musicians it is our job to provoke thought within our listeners. Not only do we write our songs with the message of the video in mind but we also write our songs with the given locations’ imagery and socio-historical context in mind (e.g. Israel, Czech Republic, and Japan etc.).
10. What are some of your favorite music videos from other artists?
Our favorite music videos are from Queens of the Stone Age. The surrealism they portray is unique and profound.
11. What inspires you the most when creating an idea for your music videos?
We are most inspired by the key of the song and the locations that we film in. For example, if the song is very dark due to dissonant harmony and we are going to film in a desert. That will determine the nature of our ideas that relate to the video.
12. Kronen’s music type is very much a heavy, psychedelic experience. Did that come from growing up in Boulder or were there other inspirations?
That definitely comes from us growing up in Boulder.
13. Explain a bit more what your bio means when it says, “Kronen albums and compositions are designed to toy with the psychoacoustic phenomena occurring within the listener’s auditory system”:
My current research at the CU Hearing Research Lab is looking at how listeners perceive music and how they adjust signal processing settings for best overall quality. Using my findings and other results from past research, I base my decisions as an audio-engineer on my knowledge of listener preferences. For example, when mastering a song, knowing how much dynamic range compression listeners prefer, we can create songs with audio-quality that is perceived as very good. Similarly, we toy with listeners’ auditory systems through creating experimental harmony. Creating unique harmonic progressions, based on the physiology of how we perceive pitch, has allowed us to create an overall sound that one can call unique to Kronen.
14. What interests you the most about toying with listeners’ senses?
There really are widespread listener preferences when it comes to settings of dynamic range compression and equalization. Being able to utilize the findings from elaborate scientific studies allows us to avoid creating unpleasant sounds for listeners.
15. Do your fans “get” your music, or is there a lot of explaining that has to be done after they hear a new song?
The most surprising aspect of our music is that people subconsciously “get it”. People usually communicate their understanding by saying something like, ‘I can’t pinpoint what it is, but Kronen doesn’t sound like any other band I’ve heard before, and I like it!’
16. Are there other bands that experiment with sounds like Kronen does that you enjoy listening to?
Unfortunately, I have never known of a band that approaches music from not only from a theoretical standpoint but also from a physiological, and scientific standpoint. Not only do I utilize knowledge from many classes on music theory and composition but I also utilize knowledge from hearing science classes. This dual-approach allows Kronen to create harmony that is outside the confines of western classical music and even outside the confines of most jazz.
17. Why do you choose to take so many different elements and incorporate it in your music?
In a globalized world, where people have access to the music of almost every country, Kronen finds it incredibly important to unite as many musical elements as we can, from as many countries as we can, while still having a confluent sound as a band. We hope that in doing so, we will expand peoples taste in music.
18. List some local bands that you enjoy and that our readers should be listening to:
Skydyed, Midnight Pressure, and Cold River City
19. Describe the Colorado music scene in 5 words or less:
Local, modern, diverse, competitive, growing.
20. What lies ahead for Kronen and everyone in the band? More music? World domination?
In the modern age, bands have to release music every few months instead of one big album a year. We plan on releasing a new music video this month and many tracks in the upcoming year.
Kronen w/ Dead Floyd, Skydyed and Midnight Pressure
Thursday Oct 30 // The Bluebird Theater
Doors @ 7:00 pm - Show @ 8:00 pm
Advanced Price: $10.00 - DOS: $13.00