Electronic-folk duo from Montreal launches new album, The Magician’s Mirror
Enter the visionary realm of Ky∆zMa, an electronic-folk duo from Montreal that will bring magical ballads to your eardrums. William Moon is the guitarist, electro beat producer and vocalist, and Christina Enigma does vocals and piano. They released their debut album, The Magician’s Mirror, on Oct. 27 at Casa Del Popolo. The duo wanted their release party to combine multiple artists and art forms. “We thought of all our friends who do performance art of any sort and who have worked with us before on shows that we organize,” said Enigma. There were many musicians as well as people in theatre, puppetry and circus. “The show was very open and did not have much structure. We wanted it to have a more natural and dynamic appeal,” said Moon. “The 27th of October is the birthday of both our mothers, so it also was a gift to them” said Enigma.
Moon is originally from Ottawa and Enigma is from Brantford, Ont. They both moved to Montreal to pursue their careers in music. Moon graduated from Concordia University in 2013, with a degree in philosophy. “I worked on music independently since I moved to Montreal from Ottawa and spent more time doing electronic music than studying” said Moon. Enigma graduated from Laurier University, majoring in kinesiology and psychology. The duo met as roommates in 2008 when Enigma first moved to Montreal. Both Enigma and Moon were founding members of an experimental choir. “We would jam and sing together at choirs with other musicians in the Mile End,” said Enigma. It was in 2012 that they decided to organize their first show together.
“We had to come up with a name for the show and we called it Chiasma. A month or two later, we started the band,” said Moon. They used the name of the show as their band name and further on changed the spelling to suit them. At first, they each had apprehensions about joining forces. “It was the electro component that I wasn’t certain about” said Enigma.
Their band’s name, Ky∆zMa, refers to the optic chiasma, which is the X-shaped structure formed at the point below the brain where two optic nerves cross over each other. “ Ky∆zMa refers to different concepts crossing paths together—bringing different ideas and forms of art to create an ultimate experience,” said Moon. Their mixture of electronic and classical music reinforces this theme. “It’s a mix of the future with the past—electro representing the future and classical instruments representing the past,” he said.
Their first show’s concept combined different features of art—they didn’t want it to be a simple band and audience performance. “We wanted less of ‘on the stage in the spotlight’ and more “Diagon Alley (Harry Potter) meets troll market down the rabbit hole in Wonderland,” said Enigma. There was no official line up other than Ky∆zMa playing on stage followed by a communal jam. “There were solo anti-performances of harp, accordion, beat boxing and a witchy loop extravaganza,” said Enigma. Ghostly Hounds, a local witch-folk band and the Fruiting Bodies, a local acappella trio which two of their members are Concordia students, also joined in on the communal jam. All this lead up to a bondage performance that happened as Ky∆zMa started playing, as well as guest dancers who jumped up on stage.
Moon did his thesis on collective cognition, which he said has had an influence on the band’s music. The song “Magician Man” is inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. “Sometimes philosophy gets in the lyrics,” Moon said. Other influences come from music festivals, nature, exploring the forest and taking psychedelics, which drop people into deeper levels of consciousness, said Enigma.
In August 2015, the duo wanted to travel and go on tour on the West Coast. They spontaneously hit the road and tried to find gigs as they went along. “It was a difficult tour, but overall a good learning experience. We played shows in San Francisco, Reno and got to play three shows at the Burning Man music festival which is the largest Art Festival in North America and one of the top 10 festivals in the world,” said Enigma.
Their new album, The Magician’s Mirror, reflects on facing fears and realizing there’s always an infinite amount of outlooks and perspectives. “The album is about love and fear—it’s about experiencing the light at the end of darkness,” said Moon. “The beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Enigma said. “You can perceive it the way you want.” The album’s songs were largely written before the duo even started the band. “We did a lot of work through the recording process to work out arrangements, melodies and harmonies, like the piano,” said Moon.
The Magician’s Mirror ballads take you to another world, one where your body dances in a trance. On their track “The Circle,” the melody is addictive—the acoustic guitar riffs along with the electronic beat sound just right together. Overall, the album aims towards conscious evolution. “The lyrics are profound, experiential and emotive. It’s an experience to listen to them,” said Enigma. “The Circle” was released on Sept. 25 at Divan Orange for Pop Montreal. “We shot ‘The Circle’’s music video in one afternoon,” said Enigma.
Enigma said she enjoys being theatrical and wearing costumes during her performances. “Sometimes, when you put on a mask, you become more of your real self,” she said. Whether it’s by wearing a creepy mask or using gizmos that make creepy sounds, Enigma loves to spread the magic around. Ky∆zMa believes the more art during their performances, the better. “Live painting, tarot reading, anything that can get our audience to participate is key,” said Enigma. The duo would love to have their music bring them around the world. “I want to travel with our music and we want people to want our records,” said Moon. “We are also trying to learn how to make our performances closer to a DJ experience,” he said.
Ky∆zMa’s words of advice for aspiring musicians: do music for yourself. “Don’t be doing it for others—they are going to want different things. It’s going to be hard to cover all these grounds if you are not true to yourself,” they said.
Stay tuned for their upcoming shows and check out their new music video for “The Circle.”