Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

When CIVX and frontman/bassist Nick Hernandez parted ways, Hernandez seemingly disappeared from the local music scene.

Well, Hernandez has resurfaced—and with the help of some members of local group Alchemy, he has a new band in tow. Kayves has recently played a handful of shows and just released a new song, “Distant Lights,” on Bandcamp.

During a recent interview, both Hernandez (guitar/lead vocals) and guitarist Danny Gonzalez discussed how Kayves grew out of a jam session.

“It started probably a year and a half ago,” Hernandez said. “Me and (Kayves guitarist) Oscar Rico, who is from Los Angeles—he went to one of my old band’s shows. We talked, and we decided to jam; we hadn’t seen each other in a while. We’d get together and record stuff on the computer.

“I’d go to Alchemy shows every once in a while, and I told Danny we should jam and just see what came of it. That was the foundation of everything. We’ve just been adding the pieces.”

Gonzalez said that Alchemy is alive and well.

“We have our separate bands now,” Gonzalez said, “but we’re still playing shows and have some stuff coming up. Gonzo (Roger Chavez) is in Dreamers; Eric (Lopez) is starting a new band with one of our former keyboardists. We’re all still doing Alchemy and keeping busy throughout the whole music scene.”

Hernandez said that most of the members of Kayves live out of town, which has slowed things down as far as writing material and performing live.

“Our bass player is from Long Beach; our other guitar-player is from Hollywood; and our drummer is from Los Angeles. That’s the way we’ve been working,” he says. “We’ll start jamming; it’ll be me, Danny and Oscar. Someone else in the band will eventually hear it and put their part on it. It’s really cool to see how everything comes out. The long-distance thing is something we’re not entirely used to, but it’s working out.”

Hernandez discussed the song “Distant Lights.”

“That song is actually interesting because it’s the first time we had the whole band together—and we just jammed out,” he said. “I played drums; Danny was on guitar; Oscar was on guitar; and we had Eric (Lopez) playing bass. It was a song we wrote on the spot.”

Gonzalez has told me in the past that he doesn’t like to use a lot of guitar distortion. However, with Kayves, it was inevitable, he said.

“For the most part, I keep it clean,” Gonzalez said. “Nick writes some of the parts on guitar with distortion like he did on our song ‘Episodes,’ so I have to use distortion. I’m slowly weaving my way around it and trying not to use too much distortion. I still have my clean reverb echo sound.”

Hernandez said the band is making progress in building a song catalog.

“Right now, ready to go, we have about six songs,” Hernandez said. “We have a lot of songs we haven’t gotten back to. It’s always scattered around. We’ll get together, and we’ll write something, but we have to go back to these songs before we get too ahead of ourselves.”

Hernandez explained what makes Kayves different than his previous bands.

“I think we all write our mix—whatever sounds good in the moment,” he said. “I never really have to say, ‘I don’t like that part.’ Danny has his parts, and I fall in love with them, and Oscar has his parts, and I let them take over and put my part in it. I don’t think too much about it.”

Gonzalez said that being in Kayves has forced him to make adjustments, considering the band has three guitarists.

“With Alchemy, it’s only one guitar. I get to do whatever I want,” he said. “Usually, when we have our practices in Kayves, they’ll have a new song already made and have a foundation for the song. I’ll go in and ask what key they’re in, and start jamming along.”

With Hernandez, CIVX quickly gained the attention of the Coachella Valley music scene. The band’s quick rise was due, in part, to the Tachevah Block Party. The band had only played a few shows before getting enough votes on a submitted video to make the Tachevah bill—which, in turn, led to the band being selected to play Coachella.

“That was another time. Right now, it’s just building the foundation (of Kayves),” Hernandez said. “We’re trying to see where it goes. If it goes that way again, we’d love that. But we’re just starting from the beginning and building the foundation, and we’ll see what happens.”

Hernandez said the members of Kayves hope to have a recording to release soon.

“We’re working pretty hard, and we’re going to try and keep busy,” he said. “We’re working on an EP, which is pretty much recorded instrumental-wise, and I just need to lay down my vocals. But at the same time, we’re already making little steps toward making a full-length.”

Kayves will perform with Venus and the Traps, Nick Nasal and Habitat at 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Kayves, visit

Published in Previews

La Quinta’s Alchemy has been around for several years, and has featured several different sounds. However, the band is finally coming into its own—as proven by the fact that the psychedelic-meets-indie-rock band will be on the roster for the Tachevah block party, after winning the first Tachevah showcase on Jan. 28 at The Date Shed.

During a recent interview in La Quinta, guitarist Danny Gonzalez, keyboardist Roger Chavez and vocalist Andrew Gonzalez talked about the history of the band.

“This is kind of a project we’ve had going on for about two or three years—maybe even four,” said Danny Gonzalez. “It was me and Eric (Lopez), the bass player, and Luis (Monroy), the drummer. We just started jamming and playing cover songs. We decided to play some shows and get this thing going. We went through a lot of singers. We found some who were actually willing to do it, but there wasn’t enough motivation. Finally, in the spring of 2014, we met up with Andrew. It was about a month after last year’s showcase for Tachevah.”

Chavez said the addition of Gonzalez, shortly after the band came up short in last year’s Tachevah competition, changed the group’s sound yet again. Gonzalez explained how he found his way to Alchemy.

“We were at a party, and we were talking about our bands, and I was talking to them about how things were really rough in my band, and we lost two of our guitarists,” he said. “They were talking to me about how they didn’t have a lead singer, and they couldn’t get started, and I … said I’d be down and would really like to try it out. The very next day, I went over. They said they liked my sound. Danny sent me about three songs that night, and he told me to write lyrics to them and get used to it.”

Chavez said the group once sounded like The Strokes; Danny Gonzalez said he felt the group’s sound was “more punkish and rough,” like a garage band. Today, Alchemy’s sound is a lot mellower. Danny Gonzalez said he doesn’t like to use a lot of guitar distortion, and Chavez said he uses a lot of synths and electronic drum pads.

“When we make music, we sit down and just jam out. We experiment with stuff,” Danny Gonzalez said.

The band members said they didn’t hesitate to compete again for Tachevah after missing out last year.

“With the singing and the reaction of the crowds, we knew we were going to get a better response than we did last year,” Chavez said. “We weren’t a known band last year. After last year, we played more shows in the valley; we got more familiar with people; and we made a lot of fans.”

All of this work paid off at the Tachevah pre-show competition at The Date Shed, when the band went up against Elektric Lucie, Ideation, Thr3 Strykes and The Death Merchants.

“The feeling of playing a song and looking into the crowd and seeing a handful of people singing along to the lyrics, singing along to the choruses, is amazing,” Chavez said. “We got people chanting our name and wanting an encore. I’m amazed the judges let us do one.”

Andrew Gonzalez agreed. “I said, ‘No, they’re professional about their stuff … and they’re not going to let us play an encore.’ I just remember everyone chanting for an encore, and one of the people told us to go ahead and do it.”

Danny Gonzalez said the band is using the time between now and the Tachevah concert in April wisely. They’re working on recording their first full-length album and are trying to improve their existing songs.

“Even if we don’t finish it, we’re not going to rush things,” Danny Gonzalez said about the album. “We want to see what we can do as a band, and maybe we can come up with better jams for the songs.”

For more information, visit