5 Facts / 5 Tracks: Koven
Fueled by diversity, friendship, progressive ideas and cinematic bass music, Koven is a double act full of passion and natural-born talent. Comprised of Max Rowat and Katie Boyle, the duo formed in 2014. Known for their powerful, cinematic sound, Koven combine meticulous sound design and production with storytelling and unforgettable live performances. Primarily channelled into Drum & Bass and Dubstep, with forays into an array of other genres, their sound has amassed a large global following, with debut LP ‘Butterfly Effect‘ establishing the duo as a potent force. Koven have built their reputation on the foundations laid down by years of hard work, touring and collaboration to earn themselves a reputation as a formidable act. With Katie fronting the act’s public appearances and Max the brains behind the beats, the duo are primed to shift into the next phase of their ever-burgeoning evolution…
Over the years Koven released a steady flow of EPs and singles, keeping up the momentum and gradually establishing their sonic identity. As their music spread throughout the world, they began to pick up more and more gigs. Through consistent performances they initiated a process of conscious refinement; initially, they would perform back-to-back DJ sets with Katie singing. During this time, Koven experienced the difficulties surrounding the “demise” of dubstep, responding by evolving the dubstep blueprint into an almost genre-less state. Later, Max opted to take a back seat from live performance, preferring to channel his energy into the studio, which led to Katie taking on the hybrid role of DJ and singer – a setup that is a distinct aspect of Koven and one which is still very rarely seen within the electronic music world. Never afraid to switch things up, the new format allowed both Max and Katie to expand into their roles, which fed back into their collaborative efforts and invigorated their music.
Through this transitional period, admittedly challenging for the duo, and compounded by their new club setup, it took three years for them to find their feet again. By 2019 they were back on track and began to pick up bookings across Europe again, with their debut album scheduled for release in March 2020… In what seemed like a cruel twist of fate, the album (Butterfly Effect) was released on the same day the UK went into its first lockdown. Despite this, the album has done incredibly well.
Following their massive collab with Australian Drum & Bass tastemaker ShockOne, the duo return to Monstercat with their final single of the year. Taking to their own inspiring track ‘Lions‘, the VIP sees them amplify the original orchestral strings from the Parallax Orchestra while injecting their heavy-hitting stylings into a fiercely uplifting rework. Written after watching England win a match at the Euros during the 2021 tournament, Koven turned their energy into an anthem meant for the World Cup stage. ‘Lions (VIP)’ will feature on their anticipated ‘Higher Ground (Part 2)’ EP, arriving in 2023 on Monstercat (check it out here).
“The VIP for us was something that we pretty much had in our hands the day we finished the original. Having close ties to Drum & Bass, throwing a d&b beat under the non-d&b tracks we make is quite a natural step for us. We always tend to do it just to get a read on if we think it’s going to have a vibe at a higher tempo. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As soon as we tried it we knew it was going to work and decided it had to be released on ‘Part 2.’”Koven
As the year comes to a close, it’s indisputable that 2022 was career-defining for Koven. They’ve been an unstoppable force on the live circuit, with over 50 performances around the world and three shows still to come in December. Next year will see them continue on a formidable run, playing headline dates and festivals starting as early as January. Max and Katie have set the bar high for the second chapter of their forthcoming EP, with ‘Part 1’ earning praise from the likes of Grammy.com, LA Weekly, BBC, and more.
We caught up with Katie to get 5 facts about themselves that people may not know and 5 tracks that they love…
- Me and Max first met on the dance floor of a Circus Records night at Camden. He was already making music under the name Koven and I was working as a featured vocalist. We recognised each other and said hello and complemented each other on our musical skills, then went our separate ways. We probably didn’t speak again for another year after that, when we would join forces.
- I (Katie) used to work as a drum and bass vocalist under the name ‘Katie’s Ambition’ but before that I used to call myself ‘Kay-T’. When Katy B started becoming popular I made the change, as it was too similar.
- When Max was in his early teens he was a drummer in a band, and has done live drums in some of our VERY early live versions on YouTube.
- The first rave I (Katie) ever went to was a trance rave – Tiësto at Brixton Academy. I fell in love with rave culture instantly, and have always maintained a love for trance. Which is why you will occasionally see us popping up on some trance collabs.
- Me and Max first bonded over our love of Ricky Gervais (The Office and Extras) and Alan Partridge. I really believe it is the reason why our working relationship got through the first few awkward months, where we didn’t know each other but had to sit and write together.
Odesza – The Last Goodbye
Odesza are on our list of ‘people we would absolutely love to work with’ as me and Max are both totally obsessed with everything they release. This track in particular is very stunning and we even made a bootleg that gets an incredible reaction when we play it out.
Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place
Such a stunning piece. Also I have to admit I wasn’t that well-versed in Radiohead until me and Max started working together and he showed me some incredible stuff from them, as Radiohead are one of his all time favourites.
Zero 7 – Destiny
So incredibly produced and well-written. I like to draw inspiration from tracks like this when we’re writing lyrics. Sia is obviously one of the greatest songwriters of our time and I have the utmost respect for her desire to hide away from the limelight.
Enter Shikari – The Last Garrison
Both massive fans of these guys (Max definitely moreso) and we were so incredibly honoured when they asked us to remix “Anesthetist.” They gave us guestlist to their show at Camden Roundhouse which me and Max went to with our manager. It was a surreal experience.
Koven – Final Call
I’m choosing this one from us because it’s the first track we started working on together when I joined Koven in 2014. Although it wasn’t our first release together, I remember Max sending me a really early version of the track and being so excited by his talent. I wrote something and sent it back, he was then really excited too! It felt like such an electric time, we knew we were onto a winning partnership.
Don’t forget Koven ‘Lions (VIP)’ dropped yesterday (5th December) via Monstercat, make sure you grab a copy from here and listen to the track below!