Dan Kanvis Gives Us Synths And Solidarity On The New Single “Water”
Written by Shelby Kluver on August 14, 2020
At a time when time seems to be standing still, Dan Kanvis has created a kaleidoscopic song that feels alive, genuine and extremely needed.
“Water,” is the latest track from the Los Angeles based creative. It’s an all-encompassing listen that still manages to be effortless in its ability to evoke nostalgia (for moments that seem so far out of reach right now) while simultaneously keeping the listener hopeful for what is still to come.
Brimming with crescendoing synths and reverberating autotune, this track is an addictively-techno trip. While Kanvis howls his way through soaring versus (juxtaposed with intimate moments of vulnerability when the synths abruptly cut away), heart-shaking drums keep the song moving at a breathless pace.
“Water” has all the makings of a song that just shouldn’t work. It walks the line of overwhelming and the lyrics are often unintelligible. But somehow, the genius of Kanvis shines through this, and the cornucopia of individually powerful layers all combine into a magnificently cohesive and compelling track.
The finished product sounds like the background music to an incredibly motivational 80s movie (in all of the best ways). It’s what would play as the hero realizes their purpose and begins to train for the film’s climax. You know – the montage scene. And for all of us who have been cooped inside and left to wonder what the world will throw at us next in this never-ending year, “Water” feels like the motivational backing we need.
Interestingly, such a topical song was written and recorded before the pandemic took hold and stay-at-home orders were implemented. It’s the newest single from his forthcoming album, which is due out later this fall. While the entire album was mixed and mastered last summer in Los Angeles, it was written almost entirely in Chicago.
Speaking exclusively to Vocalo, Kanvis revealed that while initial drafting for the project began in 2015, he really hit his stride on this album two years later, in 2017. That was when he partnered with DJ and producer Kirk, whom would collaborate on the writing and production of the album with Kanvis.
Kanvis, who is now Los Angeles-based, grew up in the Midwest and spent years creating and collaborating here in Chicago. He even scored a spot on last December’s In Rotation playlist. The musician, designer and concept-driven artist is known for his research and empathy – no matter what medium he’s expressing it through – and he’s never been afraid to push boundaries or explore new avenues.
Even “Water” is sonically unique compared to his previous releases. But Kanvis explained that there was no pivot in direction between this song, his previous tracks, and those that will be featured on his album.
“All of the songs were made in the same headspace,” he said. “The varying styles more-so reflect my intention to make an album that unapologetically relies on personal feeling and influences as guiding principles, rather than genre. Our sessions allowed for complete exploration, which was a ton of fun. I’m excited for people to hear how the songs all work together as a full record.”
Kanvis also revealed that “Water” is the “high point” of the album’s narrative, which explores his own identity struggle born out of growing up in the Midwest. “[Water] is a moment of release within a really personal collection of songs,” he said.
It’s a song that’s highly relatable in both it’s background and timing. It also reassures fans that when it comes to Kanvis, the unexpected should always be prepared for, but disappointment is never something to worry about.
Written by Shelby Kluver
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