© Daniele Bovio
Kanoi is a project named after an obscure German pulp magazine. Kanoi is Benjamin Kantschieder's take on music influenced by the mindset of '70s space rock, his record collection and love for sonic experimentation. He released a ton of albums. All of them are available at his Bandcamp page. We suggest, that you check From The City To The Stars album, which is available on vinyl on psychedelic Clostridium Records. Play Kanoi and dive into space, while reading our interview with man behind this project.
What can you tell us about the beginning of Kanoi?
I started the project that would become "Kanoi" in 2010 when I moved to Vienna and built my little home-studio there.
I've been writing songs since 2005 and before Kanoi I was in a band with a friend of mine, Daniele Bovio, who also wrote songs.
We gigged twice, but then moved to different cities and he started his own project called "Diamond Incarnation" and I began releasing my music as "Kanoi".
Where are you coming from?
I was born in Lienz, a relatively small and rural town in Austria, but moved to Vienna in 2010.
What was the local music scene like where you grew up? Did you get very involved in that scene or see a lot of shows or anything?
There was no real scene to speak of - just a few hip hop guys, metal bands and shitty cover-bands - it was quite depressing really.
I was heavily into stuff like Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Yes and much more experimental stuff like Can, Ash Ra Tempel and Far Out...
Space Rock in general. You just couldn't find places or people that wanted to play that kind of music.
Are any of you in any other bands right now or do you have any active side projects going on?
Kanoi is a one man project so there's only me, but I started another musical project called "Three Suns" (http://threesuns.bandcamp.com) last year through which I can focus on my love for German synthesizer-based music from the seventies, you know, stuff like Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze!
Have any of you released any music with anyone else in the past? If so, can you tell us a little bit about that here?
I actually was part of a split release with "Diamond Incarnation" called "A Karmic Fire".
It's a two track single and can be listened to and downloaded here:
I also released a purely improvised record called "Blisterfinger" back in 2011 with the guys from a band called "Tankstellenproleten"!
When did you decide to start writing and performing your own music?
That must have been around 2003, after I got "The Beatles Anthology" DVD box as a birthday present!
I watched the whole documentary religiously again and again and loved the parts where they talked about their work in the studio. I was so fascinated by that insight! I had already started playing guitar after buying "Rubber Soul" a few months before and figured I could try and write my own songs - of course they turned out horrible at first, but I had fun writing them and just kept on playing and writing..
How did the start of Kanoi came to realization?
I woke up one morning and there I was.
It was fate.
What does the name Kanoi refer to? Do you have a certain creed in the band?
I found the name "Kanoi" on the back of a pulp magazine I was reading when my parents took us on a vacation to Italy. I was bored and had nothing to read so I went into a magazine store and of course all the stuff they had was in Italian which I couldn't read. The only German magazine they had was an issue of a "Jason Dark" novel about a guy called "John Sinclair" who chases ghosts and demons, complete with a cheesy pulp cover. I bought it and at the back of the magazine was an advertisement for another horror/sci-fi series by another writer which was set in the land of "Kanoi", which was some kind of post-apocalyptic, demon and mutant-infested hell. I liked that word and wrote it down in my notebook of strange words and phrases and that's that.
The funny thing is - when I decided to name my band "Kanoi" I tried to find something about that series but couldn't find anything on the internet so it must be very obscure. I also found out that "Kanoi" is a little village in India and that Kanoi seems to be a very common Asian last name so you could say that I'm an Asian version of The Smiths (but really, I'm not.)
As for a creed: Not really, as I'm the only one responsible for the sound of the band the one most important thing is that my music doesn't bore me. If that's the case the song has to go.
I try to keep my music fresh and to always challenge myself when it comes to writing and recording.
What are some major influences on your sound?
The first band I was really heavily into were The Beatles so I guess they influenced me at first, but sound wise I'd have to say Pink Floyd as I was and am still a huge Pink Floyd fan!
What’s the song writing process like for Kanoi?
I usually stick to my "strum-and-hum" method which means I sit down with my acoustic guitar and strum a bit and then try to find a melody for the chords I'm strumming.
Most of my songs start out that way. When I started writing I also experimented with writing the lyrics first and then tried to set them to music, but most of those songs turned out really bad.
How do you like to record? Do you enjoy studio work?
I enjoy recording. It's nice to shape the song and try different things with it and see it evolving before your eyes.
You released really a lot of music in a short period of time. Almost ten albums and a few EP's and singles. Would you like to tell us the story behind making those albums?
Haha, that would be a very boring and lonely story. I just write and release music as it comes. Maybe that's why there are so many releases. For 2015 I made the decision to slow down a bit when it comes
to my releases. I don't want to oversaturate people with my stuff.
Which do you like the most and why?
The ones that stand out for me are
- Fierce Ghosts (because it was the first time I completed an album that really sounded like an album from beginning to end. I also really like how it's very different from everything I've released before and since)
- From The City To The Stars (because it was my first vinyl release)
Can you share some of your memories of recording From The City To The Stars, which also came out on vinyl...
I planned that record as some kind of Best-Of-Kanoi compilation. I wanted to combine the best songs I had written up to that point and complete them with 2 new songs to round off the listening experience.
Four of the six tracks were inspired by books so you could also call this a kind of failed concept album, haha.
Most of the releases are in digital format. Do you plan to release them on physical format?
The only physical release that I have planned for the future is my next album. As for the older stuff - I don't think that most of it "deserves" to be released physically, the only exception being my "Fierce Ghosts" album, which I released as a limited physical edition by myself and if any label would want to release that again I wouldn't say no, but I'd have to remix it first. I'm not actively searching for labels right now to make my back-catalogue available physically.
What's your opinion about vinyl comeback?
I love it! I switched from CD to vinyl a few years ago because being a huge Progressive Rock fan I always thought that the cover artwork looks much better on a big vinyl cover than on a small Jewel case.
Listening to records on vinyl is more like a real ritual. You have to put the record on. You have to sit down. You have to turn over the record. I find that is much easier for me to get lost in a record when I listen to it on vinyl compared to the CD version. It's a much more romantic way to listen to music.
What would be perfect format for you?
Vinyl I guess.
Are you a collector?
Not really. If I like an album, I buy it. I don't search for super-limited-first pressings from the sixties or stuff like that. I just want to hear the music, that's all.
What about gigs? Do you do a lot of touring?
Not really. I played two gigs last year and 1 gig the year before. This is primarily a studio project.
What are some upcoming plans for your in the near future?
My next release is a digital 4 track EP called "Gemstone Sunrise" and I'm also working on my next full length record right now which is nearly finished and called "Buru Haze".
Look out for a fall/winter vinyl release on Clostridium Records!
Can you share some less known bands, that you would like us to hear?
A band I really really dig right now is "Monarch"! They are from Encinitas, California and play some kind of jazzy, progressive/space rock. They only have a 4 track demo out right now on youtube - which was recorded by Brian Ellis from Astra, another band I love - but it's great stuff. They have 3 guitar players so what you get are all those cool harmonic guitar lines! It's really really nice stuff!
Monarch - Demo EP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecdIvsHwpD0&app=desktop
Another band I really enjoy right now is SIMO. They are a kind of heavy power-trio psychedelic blues rock outfit heavily inspired by Cream! They only have one album out right now but are working on their second which will probably be great! Also, their guitar-player/singer looks like Jim Morrison, which is always a plus.
SIMO - I'd Rather Die In Vain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-BmvH3kNs4
Then there is KRPL, a band from Graz, Austria! They are an instrumental three piece and play music that sounds like a demented version of the Melvins with tons of cool riffs and a beast of a drummer. If you have the chance to catch them on the road - go see them, you won't be disappointed! They are a force of nature live and are working on their first album right now!
Go check their Facebook page for tour dates and tell them I sent you!
KRPL on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KRPLOfficial?fref=ts
Last but certainly not least I'd like to invite your readers to go and check out "Diamon Incarnation", the band of my friend Daniele Bovio! He writes and records Space Rock that sounds like a mixture of early Verve and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club!
Diamond Incarnation: diamondincarnation.bandcamp.com
Thank you very much. Last word is yours.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2015
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