Kaiser Cartel

KaiserCartel is a low-fi, song-driven, harmony-heavy Brooklyn-based duo. Their first full-length album, March Forth, produced by Matt Hales (aka Aqualung) and mixed by Matt and Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros) was released in the US on bluhammock music in June 2008 and in the UK on Continental Record Services in June 2009. Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel have been touring the country in their Prius ever since they quit their teaching jobs last June, stopping at Monolith Festival and 80-35 Festival and supporting Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, Aqualung, and Carrie Rodriguez. KC has had music in the MTV show Exiled, Discovery Channel’s Alter-Eco and on Starbucks’ Have You Heard? compilation and had two songs in the first two episodes of the new HBO series “Bored To Death”. Their video for Oh No can be seen on VH1.com and their video for Okay was shown at Slamdance this year. Their charming and intimate live show is not to be missed. Their new album, Secret Transit, is scheduled to be released in early 2010.

For now you can grab their new EP titled 'Rock Island' and the re-release of their debut EP 'Double Standard' at their live shows shows or on their website.

How would you describe this music to people?

The music of Kaiser Cartel has a lot of roots in rock, pop, and folk.  They focus on melody and harmony as well as challenging themselves by playing multiple instruments. They create a very large sound with just 2 pairs of hands and feet. Kaiser Cartel also chooses to use non-traditional rock instruments such as the Dulcetina, various glockenspiels, and a battery powered milk frother.

Tell me about how Kaiser Cartel originally got into this craft.
Benjamin started playing in a punk rock band with his brother when he was 13 years old playing original material at all age shows. Benjamin fell in love performing back then and hasn't stopped since.

Courtney started singing in tap dance recitals when she was 3 years old. She sang in various children's choirs and theater groups as well as studied Opera, and world vocal music in college. She started her first band at 16 years old, writing her own songs and playing the guitar. Courtney played in various bands until meeting Benjamin and starting Kaiser Cartel.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Benjamin's favorite thing is to watch an excellent movie.

Courtney's favorite thing is to pet animals.

What is the biggest challenge when it comes to running this business?
It is challenging to do the book keeping, blogging, podcasts, interviews, conference calls, driving 18 hrs to play a show, radio interviews, writing, playing shows, selling merch, finding good food to eat while traveling, all at the same time.

When you were kids, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Courtney-a singer
Benjamin-a painter

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Everywhere that we have lived we have been inspired by the communities in which we have lived.  They keep us going all the time with their support and by observing all the great things that individuals do within them.

What other artists out there do you love?
Bon Iver, Winterpills, Lisa Germano, Lida Husik, The B-52's, The Beatles, The Ramones, The Lemonheads, Bjork, Sinead O'Connor, The Replacements, Radiohead, and Santogold to just name a few.

What does your future hold?
Great things....Really, we hope that our music impacts the most people possible in a positive way. Our expectation is to be the soundtrack to everyone's life.

10/8   Living Room, NYC
10/9   Starving Artist Keene, NH
10/10  All Asia Cambridge, MA
10/11  Castaway's, Ithaca, NY
10/20  CMJ showcase Living Room, NYC
11/13  92nd Y, NYC (supporting Nicole Atkins and the Sea)
12/04  Olde Towne Creamery, Maple Lake, MN
12/05  Olde Towne CreameryMaple Lake, MN