Kan Wakan is a name inspired by the word in Tagalog (Kristianne and Ian’s native language) for interstellar/outer space, “Kalawakan,” which aptly describes the style of music from the emerging band. The Los Angeles-based group was started in early 2012 by composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Gueorgui I. Linev and expanded as the music grew with the addition of vocalist, Kristianne Bautista. Kan Wakan combines orchestra instrumentation, soul, and even has influences from punk rock inspiring a unique sound all of their own. Kan Wakan’s full-length debut, entitled “Moving On,” is slated to be released in early 2014. While currently on the road, they took the time to tell B-Sides what they are all about as musicians.
How did Kan Wakan come together?
Gueorgui: A couple of years ago I had a bunch of instrumental music that I was trying to perform with live musicians and after going through working with a bunch of people, I met Kristianne through mutual friends and Peter, and the three of us sort of started jamming. It took us a while to really find common ground.
Kristianne: Yep, definitely.
Gueorgui: But we just kept playing those ideas and then eventually other people started coming along and we didn’t really have this line up until 2012.
Kristianne: It’s very fitting, because we all get along and we are pretty similar in what our goals are so it feels good to finally have a solid idea.
Was it that you all wanted to explore different musical genres or different styles at first?
Gueorgui: We all have different influences for sure, everyone’s variety of genres and different artists but I think the initial music was what gave us an outline, the initial ideas we started working on grew from there.
How did both of you individually get your start in music?
Kristianne: I had vocal lessons as a toddler for 5 years and then I stopped doing that, and then when I got older I was playing drums and bass and jamming out with a few friends working on some projects. And I’ve always been one of those 15 year olds writing songs in my bedroom but I never really showed them to anyone and then when I got older I was like I want to sing for real this time, and then I met Gueorgui.
Gueorgui: My uncle was a classical conductor in Europe and he got me started on piano lessons when I was nine. And I was doing a series in classical background until I was a teenager and then I got into blues, guitar, bass, and punk bands. I don’t know how we ended up here.
The name of your band is really interesting, where does that come from?
Gueorgui: Both Kristianne and our bass player Ian are from the Philippines, and there is a Filipino word…
Kristianne: It’s called Kalawaka. It’s like a loose term for atmospheres and space and we implemented that to Kan Wakan.
Gueorgui: Yeah, like a derivative version of that.
Your sound is a combination of soul, psychedelia, and orchestra instrumentation, where do you get your inspiration for your musical style?
Gueorgui: I wouldn’t say it comes from any one particular place, its very varied list of influences anywhere from Nina Simone, Bill Withers, and Serge Gainsbourg. More on the classical side like a lot of minimalist composers and indie rock stuff as well. And Kristianne was into punk rock, when I met her she was playing drums in a punk band.
Have you guys ever thought to play outside of those music genres?
Gueorgui: I don’t think we think about the genres were going to explore. The ideas that come out are a product of what spontaneously we feel in the moment and then the genres are a secondary part of that.
Your debut album Moving On, is set to be released in early 2014, what can fans expect with this album? And is there a more set release date in place?
Gueorgui: I would say they should expect more of what they heard on our EP.
Gueorgui: There are some songs that are more orchestral, there’s some songs that are more electronic groove based, there’s a couple of pop songs on there…
Kristianne: It’s all over the place really.
Gueorgui: As far as release date, it will be in February or March.
You guys are performing here in San Francisco, can you tell me what you like most about the City?
Kristianne: This is our second show in San Francisco and we are so stoked to be here!
Gueorgui: Well having grown up in Europe I think this is one of the few cities in the US that reminds me visually of a European city in terms of the architecture and the colors and just what people are into. It has a very old timey historic European vibe to it.