Interview By: Max Rothstein
I first met Gavin Gottlich and Casey Webster, known together by many as King Kavalier, when they opened a sold out show for Ghastly at the Fox Theater about two months ago. The night before they had just played a show in San Diego and even on the very few hours of sleep they managed to fit into their demanding schedule, they still killed it. We made a plan that night to do an interview, which ended up being pushed back multiple times due to extensive shows and press events.
Since releasing their first remix a little over nine months ago, they’ve been growing at a jaw-dropping rate, amassing statistics often unheard of for an artist in their first year. As well as countless shows around the country, their work has accumulated a little over a quarter of a million streams to date and they have even done a set for Sirius XM. It would be an understatement to say they’ve been busy. And even in the midst of finals, King Kavalier is not slowing their workload. When I arrived at Gottlich’s apartment for the interview Wednesday morning, three of my colleagues were also there preparing to film snippets for their Trap Nation Instagram takeover that day.
By the time I left an hour later, it was clear that the formation of King Kavalier will go down as one of CU’s most epic success stories.
How did you guys come up with the name King Kavalier?
CW: I think you’re better at telling it.
GG: Well we were looking at names for a while and we really liked the dog, the King Charles Cavalier.
CW: Somehow it got to us trying to find dog breeds for names cause it took so long.
GG: We thought it would be a little more playful than having a super serious name but then it ended up sounding pretty serious.
You guys both met in Phi Tau right?
CW: We were in the same pledge class and I was DJing for the fraternity. Gavin played guitar and there was no one else really musical in the house. I guess I was the closest thing to it for him. So one day he came up to me and was just like ‘Why don’t we just try something? Why don’t we just try combining the two? It’s never really been done before.’
GG: I was in my dorm room for weeks on end just playing along to EDM songs by myself. And then I realized it might be cool to collaborate with a DJ or electronic producer and make something like that.
Clearly being from LA, one of the biggest music cities in the world, must have had an influence on you guys as musicians, but has Boulder and CU influenced you as well?
CW: That’s a good question
GG: It definitely gave us a lot more time to do what we wanna do, if that makes sense. Everything here is a lot more laid back and chill. And there’s not a lot of pressure, which is nice.
CW: That’s the problem with trying to get into music in LA. Because, one, literally everyone is doing it. It’s so easy to get discouraged. And also, we would have never found each other in LA, you know? Like with all the noise. So it’s been really nice to have a laid-back scene to do all of this in.
You guys released your first remix about 8 months ago now. What were you guys feeling when it dropped?
GG: What were we feeling? Excitement. Because everyone was hyped about it. The first remix we did was “Ain’t No Sunshine.” What we were going for kind of throwing back to an old song and turning it around and making it relevant again. We got a lot of positive feedback from our friends and we weren’t really expecting that, you know. We were just doing it for fun at first.
CW: Yeah it wasn’t really that ambitious of a project at first. Like I said, he just came up to me and was just like, ‘Hey why don’t we try combining the two because there’s really no one else musical around.’
Currently, based off streams, your remix of Louis the Child’s “Slow Down Love” is your most popular track. Did it blow up really fast or has it taken time to accumulate those streams?
CW: That one was pretty fast.
GG: Yeah that one was really fast. We dropped it over the summer, and it got reposted a bunch of times.
CW: The thing that helped the most was the YouTube music blogs. We got a CloudKid feature on one of their mixes and another big channel, RoyalMusic, featured it. And then from there it just got tens of thousands of views, even hundreds of thousands of views within like a month so that really skyrocketed everything. That’s how our manager found us, just because of those music blogs.
Has anyone you remixed reached out to you after?
GG: Well, besides the ones we just put out, the Two Friends remix we submitted to them and it got approved for the official remix. They gave us their full support, which is always great. The ones before, on our earlier stages, we haven’t really had much contact just because it was just us doing it ourselves and we didn’t have a manager behind us.
CW: And they were pretty big artists, like the Black Keys. Like I can’t imagine the Black Keys finding out about a tiny remix on SoundCloud, you know. But with all the official remixes we’ve released, we’ve been in deep contact with the original artists and been with them through the whole process.
Do you guys remember your first show? What was that like?
GG: Our first show was awesome! It was at a sweaty frat party with way too many people inside.
CW: Way too many people onstage.
GG: Yeah way too many people on the stage, the power cut out every five minutes. It was just hot.
CW: It was just really hot. I remember I had a pink t-shirt on and it just became a darker shade of pink. Nobody could tell I was sweating because it was just a darker color. But, yeah, we were both soaked.
GG: It was really fun though. Those parties are what started us for sure. We love playing those parties, they were the good old days for sure.
What can fans expect from you guys next? Is original music on the way?
CW: Yeah we’ve got some originals coming. We’re working in the Trap Nation studio back in LA and when we’re back there we’re just working with artists every day.
GG: We’re working hard at it every day. We meet at the same breakfast spot every morning at 10 and then we’re in the studio by 10:30. And then we’re there usually until 6:30 or 7 sometimes, even later. But that was every day for us this past break and then we’re planning on doing that for winter break.
Do you have plans to bring your music to other streaming services soon?
GG: Yeah when the timing’s right.
CW: Especially when the originals come out. The first original is definitely gonna be on Spotify.
What advice would you give to aspiring CU musicians?
GG: There’s a great support group here. Everyone wants to collaborate and work together, as you can see with all the media guys here. If you assemble a team, there’s really no stopping you because everyone in Boulder is really supportive and people wanna see others succeed here.
CW: Yeah, and something you can do right now here is talk to as many music blogs as you can. I know I was told that back in LA, I don’t know how much people are told that in Colorado because they will respond to you. If you hit up 300 different music blogs, the odds are at least one’s gonna contact you, get you a feature, and it’s huge for you. It expands your market and expands your reach like crazy.
What does music mean to you?
GG: Damn, I mean like everything really. I can’t see myself doing anything else-I know it’s cliche- but I literally couldn't see myself doing any other line of work.
CW: Yeah, I haven’t seen myself doing anything else really since second grade when I picked up my first guitar.