You fly down a dark highway late at night, contemplating the weight of your heavy 80s-style existence when you pop your cassette tape into the car stereo and a few muted notes start you off down a smokey musical landscape. This is what it’s like to listen to Penn State artist Kaz’s song ‘Strangers In The Night’ featuring Olivia Price.
Last year, Kaz released a collaboration track with fellow Penn Stater Olivia Price, and what collab it was. We were slow to pick it up, bringing the classic cliché of better-late-than-never to mind immediately, but that’s because this track is fire. It sounds like it could’ve easily been featured in the movie Drive, soundtracking a moody Ryan Gosling as he stares mystified into the eyes of a woman he’d give everything for. Damn Kaz.
Kaz and Olivia are very different artists to begin with. Though both are well armed with an arsenal of music theory and classical training, Kaz favors production and beat making, while Olivia swings more toward the singer/songwriter category.
Though singer/songwriters and producers are admittedly in (over)abundance at Penn State, these two manage to distinctly set themselves apart from the rest on Strangers In The Night, coming together to make a truly unique song.
To find out how this awesome track came to be, these two artists answered some questions we had, so if you haven’t already, hit play, and then read on to get some background on this beat!
How was working with another artist so far removed from your genre?
Doug: Very fun, more creative possibilities. From a producer standpoint, I’m always thinking through different ways I can manipulate her voice to fit the song. Like taking a note she holds out and fitting it to 16th notes and layering it over the synths, for example.
Olivia: You can definitely hear our own musical niches throughout the piece. It’s easy to pick out my more ethereal style in parts like the chorus, and then Doug’s experimental, percussion-driven style drives the song, like in the instrumental build at the end. Regardless of the fact that we each take a different approach to music, I think the lyrics and the melody do a great job of mutually conveying the story we had in mind.
What were you going for with the piece?
Olivia: A unique flow. The song takes several different directions. When you isolate the different parts, they each sound like completely different songs, which I think is really really cool. That was almost a challenge in and of itself (piecing all the parts together,) but Doug did an amazing job of making the transitions flow seamlessly into one another
Who did what on the track? Did you guys each bring different parts of it to the table?
Doug: Olivia wrote all the vocal melodies and lyrics. I wrote all the other parts and produced the track.
Production influences on the track?
Doug: I’d probably say Mr. Little Jeans, Foxes, Phantogram, and Woodkid.
If you’re interested in more from Kaz, follow him on SoundCloud, and check out his website at kazofficial.com. Rumor has it they will be working together again soon, so keep your eyes out for more music from both of these great local artists!