It's not unusual for dedicated artists to play under different monikers or with different bands at the same time. Sometimes you need different projects to get out the different sounds in your brain, to flex your musical muscles -- but for one band to have two names?
Aright, it's not like they're just one band, but Mike Diaz and Kristof Ryan are doubling themselves up. They've already found success recording and touring the country as MillionYoung, but now they're pushing themselves to new heights as Chévere.
"We're workaholics, essentially," Ryan said laughing. "It's masochistic is what it is."
While MillionYoung is beloved by fans for sweeping, nostalgic melodies and thoughtful, lovelorn lyrics, Chévere is all about the beats.
"We're kind of at the crossroads of French house and hip-hop," Diaz said, "that's what were' trying to do."
The guys are drawn to the similarities between the two genres. Hip-hop was born from DJs cutting disco records deciphering new rhymths from the breakbeats. As Chévere, Ryan and Diaz live on the bridge between the two, experimenting with French house techniques of compression and use of synthesizers to create flavors and rhythmic melodies usually reserved for the streets.
The band prides itself on an intimate knowledge of the similarities between the two genres and the relationship their sounds share, a relationship they want to express through their productions.
"People think that the whole disco era was Saturday Night Fever, but there's so much more to it," Ryan said. "There's a lot going on there, it's not just a movie. And hip-hop is not just what you hear on the radio."
Chévere was born about a year ago, when Ryan approached Diaz with a simple idea.
"I just took this idea for doing something and (Diaz) said well 'let's just write it tonight. Let's just write the whole EP in one night.'" So they did.
Alright, maybe it was a couple of nights, but by the time they hit the road touring as MillionYoung in late 2012, they'd finished a handful of Chévere tracks and uploaded them to Soundcloud. When they returned from tour in December, they buckled down and focused on the beats again, turning out their three-song EP Love Changes in July.
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While MillionYoung was originally Diaz's project, Chévere is wholly a duo.
"Chévere stuff, we write it all together," Diaz said. "I mean, there's been like two tracks that maybe I made that Kris jumped on, and there's two or three tracks that he made that I jumped on. We just kind of go back and forth bouncing a lot of it."
How do they manage the juggle? With great care, attention, dedication and practice.
"It keeps us on our toes. It's good. I couldn't see us doing one without the other at this point," Ryan said. "I guess what it comes down to is whatever we're writing is going to be what we're more excited about."
"Right, yeah," Diaz agreed. "And every song we make it's like, 'oh, now they all got to be this good.'"
And wouldn't you know it, they're still finding more for themselves to do. Lately, the friends have been entering a new collaboration with fellow beat-freaks Lex One and Lucian. The very-tentative project is referred to affectionately as Redrúm, and features soulful, resonating vocals over Chévere beats for an even more exciting sonic experience.
But the guys, believe it or not, don't want to get too ahead of themselves.
"Aside from that, we can't stop making Chévere tracks," Ryan said. "We're always writing in one way or another, when we sit down. It's like we have to."
Get stoked, because local music lovers have the chance to catch both MillionYoung and Chévere at the inaugural III Points festival this weekend.
MillionYoung plays alongside great Miami bands including Jean Jacket, Lil Daggers, and Afrobeta for free at the Oh Really?! Music Showcase Friday, at the Brisky Gallery.
Meanwhile, catch the new style of Chévere Saturday night at the Bro Gaming Lounge, decorated with old-school video games and sick projections, as they play alongside other beat masters including Nick Daniels, Niko Javan, Po$htranaut, DZA, Mike Deuce, and others.
Diaz and Ryan promise to bring their A-game both nights, as if they'd ever bring anything less.
"Just keep it flashy like we do," Diaz said. Right on.
III Points Music, Art, and Technology Festival. Runs from Thursday, October 3, through Saturday, October 5. Tickets cost $37 to $155 plus fees. Visit iiipoints.com and showclix.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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