Whenever I have the chance to speak to an artist that truly believes in the art of what they do, I can’t help but truly respect them. Kayvon Zand is one of those artists. He does what is true to him, and he doesn’t really care if you like it. That genuine passion creates the very fiber of his existence. For that, he has earned my respect, and a place as this week’s Featured Artist.
Q: In a world where a lot of musicians record an EPLiterally meaning Extended PlayLiterally meaning Extended Play, this is a short album. Although the exact definition is loose, generally it will consist of 4 songs or less, and be shorter than 25 minutes., this is a short album. Although the exact definition is loose, generally it will consist of 4 songs or less, and be shorter than 25 minutes. long before they ever even play live, you have absolutely no music or merchandise for sale. Why is that? Do you plan on keeping it that way?
When I started making music and creating shows and art videos to accompany the songs I never was concerned about how much money I was going to make from it, if any at all. My sole concern was to create and to be thought provocative as an artist, especially in regards to religion, gender and sexuality. The 3 sticks up everyone’s ass, lol.
At this point in my career I see there is a void in the music industry when it comes to the male eccentric artist. I want to be a Bowie, Prince, Manson, Elvis, Boy George of a generation. Right now all the males in the music industry are doing hip hop with very little hopping. And by that I mean there are no balls or art being projected. I want to bring balls, big balls.
Q: Tell us about the Zand Collective. What inspired you to have performance artists on stage with you? Do they ever take part in the music side, or are they strictly part of the live performance?
The Zand Collective consists of amazing friends and my family. We are a modern day Factory, emphasizing the power of community. As of now The Zand Collective is very involved in all my stage shows, videos, and we host and perform at parties together and support one another. As of now I feel I am a driving force in bringing the collective to the masses; however I see each member having a great career and light of their own outside of the collective. I’d say similar to The New Romantics where everyone was given an opportunity to shine, and that I love.
Q: Everyone knows that sex sells, but most performers are leery of creating a real R rated (maybe even X rated) show like yours. How much does that change the way you have to approach live performances? How do you choose a venue? Do you have any suggestions for performers looking to create a graphic live performance?
I definitely didn’t have the Mickey Mouse upbringing where my family started me in the industry as a child. For that I am grateful. The last thing I am concerned about is being appropriate or offensive. While it is not my intention to offend anyone or be “shocking,” I can’t let the fear of what others may think stop me from creating my dream. At the end of the day there will always be someone who doesn’t like or agree with you. So agree with yourself and follow your heart, and hair of course
Q: It’s been just a little bit over two years since you were ban from Highline Ballroom. In retrospect, would you do it all over again?
I didn’t ban myself from the venue, so would I perform my stage show, the one in which I had performed at many other venues in the city again? Absolutely.
Q: You recently had a very successful Kickstarter CampaignA funding platform for creative projects. Used often times by musicians as a way to fund recording, touring, or music videos. to fund a very ambitious video project for your single, One Way Flight. Tell us about the video. What can your fans expect to see?
The video is going to be a mini movie and the start of my awaited Black Diamond project. It’s dark glam at its finest. Expect lots of hair, makeup, tits, diamonds, fashion, dancing, and Zand.
Q: On the topic of your Kickstarter CampaignA funding platform for creative projects. Used often times by musicians as a way to fund recording, touring, or music videos., what do you think made it such a success? How did you get the word out? What are some things other musicians could do to make their own campaigns successful?
Well, I have been active as an artist for years now. Many of my fans started following me on MySpace before I had created and grown to the level I am today. I feel lots of fans have seen me grow and push so hard. With that struggle some artists have “borrowed” from upcoming artists like myself and I feel people at the end of the day can smell bullshit from a “product.” While I don’t have a label or huge endorsements backing me, I do have one thing: authenticity. My fans, supporters, family and friends know that nothing I have today was stolen or given to me, but something I have created from scratch and will continue to do so. And I think that and community is the most valuable asset an artist can have.
Q: What was it like working with Chew Fu? How did you get connected with him?
Chew Fu is a great guy all around. Such a talented man and an incredible soul. I had learned of Chew through a stylist I had worked with on my first music video, “So Gone.” From there I realized I had heard his work and knew I was dealing with a genius. I wanted a genius to collaborate with on my very first release, and who better than Chew Fu?!
Q: What inspired you to forego a record contract? Would you ever consider signing to a record label?
I think the worst thing that could have happened to me was to sign a record deal earlier in my career. I feel I am the type of artist to create the brand and then to work on my terms. And that is how it is going for me. I have created everything myself with The Zand Collective and friends here in NYC. When the time comes to sign it will be on my terms and therefore my art and not theirs.
Q: Any words of wisdom for other independent musicians?
Follow your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right.