The history of Kardashev begins in 2009 when Nico Mirolla met Mark Garrett at Northern Arizona University while listening to metal and playing Magic the Gathering in a dormitory common area. After discussing their desires to make music, they began to create demos on Nico’s laptop as a hobby between classes.
In the summer of 2010, Nico left NAU and joined a local band in Tempe, Arizona that began playing shows around the state while building an online presence through MySpace and Facebook. Two years and two albums later, Nico and bass player Chris Gerlings began to feel disheartened with the direction and content of the band, so they decided to quit and begin a new venture with Nico’s friend Mark that would inevitably become Kardashev.
The content of the music had yet to be determined, but they knew they wanted to bring concepts and story telling as the device of the music. They also agreed to focus on blending the sounds of some of their favorite bands including Aegaeon, Fallujah, and The Contortionist.
After a long discussion on the musicality, contemporary approach to grinding their way toward the top, restarting as a new “local” band and the disheartening realization that local shows just weren’t worth their time, the group created Kardashev under the pretense that music and production quality was priority one and performing was second. These tenets became the basis for the Kardashev approach to enjoying the process of being a modern metal band. In addition, they began to understand that their best results were achieved when following three basic concepts;
1. Never be afraid to write a bad song.
This mindset freed up any hindrances from the mind’s expectations for everything to be gold. Conceptually, this axiom works as a device to lift any hesitation or self conscious limitations from the writing process to allow freedom in writing. Often times we, musicians/artists/creators, can find ourselves deep in reflection of what we’re creating so much so that we forget why we’re writing. This idea helps us leave of that headspace.
2. Be willing to try everything. If it’s not right just put it back.
Kardashev began writing music through the process of demoing musical ideas not in person, but through the recording process which allows them to compose music “on paper” instead of in a live format. This means that with digital technology they can arrange different musical passages any way they want by dragging and dropping the riffs anywhere to then playback and audit the flow of the music. Most things can be undone in this setting allowing them to explore the permutations of putting any riff anywhere in the song for any number of regenerations.
3. “If it sounds good, it is good.“
A simple rule instilled in Nico by an Audio Engineering instructor at university was, “If it sounds good, it is good.” This concept serves to audit the compositions and ensure that they are not overly complicated and not overly criticized. Simple isn’t always the answer, but it’s a good start.
These beginning discussions framed many of the future decisions that Kardashev would make including how to write songs, which gear to invest into, how live shows would be performed, and so on.
These axioms were not well understood in the beginning, but became solidified over time.