First Listen: Akiva – Chemical Eyes
- Chemical Eyes Akiva 5:11
Akiva are a Bedfordshire based band made up of brothers and school mates, who for twenty-five years have been bonded by a shared love of Stonesy guitar licks, rolling basslines, Newsnight, Krautrock, Manchester bands, political economy, shuffling, snappy drum beats, analogue synths, The Who and BBC Radio 4.
After meeting at a state school in Bedfordshire, vocalist Dave went to Cambridge University to study Economics, guitarist Malcolm Carter went to Cardiff to study Journalism and drummer Dave and his brother Rob went to Drum and Bass Tech to study… drum and bass, before Dave took a break from drums to enrol at UCL to study Planetary Science.
Equally likely to be watching Question Time as they are Glastonbury, Akiva’s growing consternation regarding the current state of the world and its resemblance to the periods leading up to the first and second world wars informs a lot of their musical output. Vocalist Dave says “these periods were marked by huge inequality, massive segregation, racial tension and lack of trust of others. Politicians used people’s fears and financial insecurities to whip up a culture of division, mistrust and discrimination. If left alone, the ‘natural state of things’ is for inequality, volatility and social tension to grow and only major shocks to the system actually result in things being made better; the golden period of the fifties and sixties was only as a result of things getting so horrific during the second world war. Themes of war, conflict and social tension tend to play quite a big part in our songs and artwork. Having brothers in the band who argue a lot, that plays its part too.”
Musically, common ground comes in the form of shuffling broken drum beats and rolling basslines under twinkling analogue synth sounds and crunchy guitar riffs with punchy, percussive lyrics over the top.
‘Chemical Eyes’ marks the first Akiva release since the band’s debut album ‘Can’t Buy Revolutions’. The single was recorded in Angelic Studios, Oxfordshire in the middle of Skepta’s sessions for his Mercury winning album ‘Konnichiwa’. Dave explains “We’d booked the studio for a weekend and were asked at late notice by Skepta’s label if we could move it as he wanted the whole month in there. We couldn’t switch the date so he just recorded around us and hung out on the farm whilst we were tracking.”
‘Chemical Eyes’ is released on December 16th, 2016 as a digital download.
Dave MacKenzie – vocals, programming, guitar, synth
Malcolm Carter – lead guitar
Rob Mercel – bass
Dave Mercel – drums