Kazyak Dives into New “Odyssey”

Peter Frey, the bold indie-craft voice of Twin Cities-based Kazyak, details new album’s retreat to psychedelic instrumentals 
Peter Frey (front row, middle) is the innovative leader behind his psychedelic rock band, Kazyak.

It’s no secret that Peter Frey is the brains as well as the voice of indie rock group Kazyak. He’s been the source of the Twin Cities-based band’s lyricism, delving into what it means to be human since the band’s inception in 2008, and giving those thoughts full breath on Kazyak’s melodic, synth-heavy album Reflection (2018) and the more-pared-back Happy Camping (2017).

Now, Frey’s lyrics won’t stand alone. Kazyak’s newest record, Odyssey, is the first time members Andy Wolfe, Pat Hayes, Tyler Safranek, and Nick Grewe have joined Frey to create music together. “It’s music that the five of us sang together and wrote together to record together,” Frey says. “It’s a really exciting spot to be in when you’re in the creative process and it doesn’t have to be so insular. It’s much more shared.”

Odyssey is a sonic adventure, with intricate rhythms that harken back to Frey’s childhood musical influences, like Pink Floyd, and current indie icons, like Tame Impala. The record is Kazyak’s third release in three years, and, like the title, Frey describes their fourth record as “forward-looking, experimental, optimistic.” Odyssey revolves around vocals infused with effects, and fringy guitar hooks that heighten the drums and bass.

The band formed after Frey and his friends graduated from St. John’s University and journeyed to Austin, Texas, with the sole desire to create psychedelic music drawing heavily on outdoor experiences. The band’s name actually comes from the last name of a friend they met in Austin.

“Honestly, it was our first foray. We didn’t even have songs when we moved to Texas; we were just trying to keep the music alive,” Frey says. “Kazyak is pretty undefined, and that’s what we wanted. We were looking for a name, and it was kind of synchronistic.”

In addition to the figurative meaning of Odyssey is the literal backstory: The outdoors heavily influence the record, including Frey’s backpacking trip to Patagonia and his childhood trips to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. For Frey, the album is a collaboration between humans and nature: “We merge the music with blending psychedelic and outdoor influences.”

His love of the outdoors happens to bleed into his primary career as a strategy director for an agricultural software company based in California. Frey travels internationally to agricultural hotspots, many of which inspire Odysseys’ nature-driven innuendos. While music is not any band member’s full-time job, for Kazyak, it’s about engaging with one another in the musical process.

“Everybody in the band is aligned around the purpose of continuing to invest and spend time being creative together,” he says. “I’m not really trying to force our music on the world. I do it because I love it, and I make better music when my life is more stable. We are aligned on wanting a more stable lifestyle and, hopefully, that creates results in our music.”

Odyssey will be released Aug. 16, followed by a release show at the Icehouse on Aug. 23. For more information, click here.

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