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Tampa, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Tampa, Florida, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Electronic




"Tampa's young Denim Blue & Miclain Keith blossom into promising duo"

As Miclain Keith sat in the University of South Florida classroom, surrounded by fellow musicians participating in the Grammy Music Revolution Project, a voice from across the room caught his attention.

Kyle Knudsen, known by his stage name Denim Blue, was performing his original song Hot Mess for a group off to the side.
Though the project for aspiring musicians focused on playing in groups, the pair hadn't performed together or spoke to each other until two weeks into the program.
"Right after he played it, I was like 'I want to make music with you'," recalled Keith, now 20.
That was two years ago.
Today Hot Mess is just one of the 11 tracks on Denim Blue and Keith's debut album, The Abyss, which was released in November on their own label, Kick Booty Records.
On Saturday, the duo takes the stage at Florida Southern in its biggest performance to date, opening for New Politics and We the Kings.
While most bands perform shows and often covers to gain a fan base before producing an album, Knudsen, 16, and Keith did just the opposite.
"It made more sense to make a product then go sell it," Knudsen said. "That's what other businesses do."
Recording out of Knudsen's bedroom, they brought his concept to life.
"I was writing it as we were recording, as we were doing shows and everything else," Knudsen said.
With Keith in charge of instruments and Knudsen producing lyrics, it took just over a year and a half to complete.
"It started out more as a solo artist and a producer then it became a partnership and we started doing everything together," Knudsen said, while sharing a piece of vegan banana pound cake with his bearded side-kick.
The album may have taken longer if it weren't for Knudsen's mother, Andrea Knudsen, who opened her house to their creativity, along with the noise. She also assisted with the business side, including helping the duo create its own record label.
"She's done more for us than we could ever thank her for," Knudsen said.
Keith, who has lived all over Tampa but currently resides in Carrollwood, grew up in a household full of musicians. Through his connections, they formed the rest of the band: keyboard player Jacob Trunzo, drummer Logan Coats, mandolinist and guitarist Mike Schmitt and cellist Miranda Godfrey.
"Both my parents were road musicians for 20 years, or so, playing for top 40 bands," Keith said. "There was always music around."
Keith started his musical journey with guitar lessons at age 10.
"I thought it was really cool. I didn't even like girls yet at that point, so it really was because I liked the music," he joked.
From there he learned to record and play the drums.
Knudsen describes himself as the "black sheep" of his family.
"No one in my family had any association with music, or art."
He was still exposed to a variety of genres growing up. His grandparents introduced young Knudsen to jazz, R&B and soul, while his mother played rock albums like Queen.
"I had to take it upon myself to get into music and want to make it," Knudsen said. "As I was going into high school, I realized I had the capability to do this thing I was fascinated with all these years."
Knudsen taught himself any instrument he could get his hands on, which started with a harmonica and keyboard.
Now, only a few years into his high school career at Pinellas County Center for the Arts, Knudsen rocks side swept blonde bangs, writes and sings with a soulful voice that belie his 16 years.
"The concept (for The Abyss) is basically centered around capturing the human experience and what it's like to go through the phases of living, and being better than whatever tries to keep you down," Knudsen said.
Both musicians agree they enjoy the "weirder" side of music.
"The first song has a nice piano ballad but it also has a dubstep bass," Keith said. "We like to pull from everywhere. I think a lot of people get scared because its unorthodox, but we are trying to blur the line between what an actual genre is, because I don't like genres." - Tampa Bay Times

"HASHTAG NICOLE Collapse Album Review"

So as you all probably remember (from my excessive postings about it), I attended Grammy Camp last summer. If you don't know what that is (which would be highly surprising given how often I bring it up), click HERE for a full blog post about it.

Some of you may remember my friend Kyle's band, DBMK, from previous Soundtrack and Blog posts. Anyway, they recently released a new album--Collapse. Before you continue reading, I'd highly recommend clicking play on this Spotify playlist of their album for some nice background music while ya' read.

I'm a massive fan of their music and was so stoked about this release. So naturally, I proceeded to shamelessly promote them (once again) to all my friends from home (and now college as well).

If you're a fan of alternative music, great lyrics and vocals, you'll definitely love their music. They have a very unique sound mixed with some Twenty One Pilots/The 1975 influence.

Collapse is one of those albums that you need to listen to in full and in order (at least the first time through). This also goes for their previous album, The Abyss. The album flows so well from track to track, and not a single song sounds out of place on the album. I tried to pick out my favorite songs and honestly had a hard time not writing down every one. However, I eventually narrowed down to "Analog Boy", "Nocturne", "Bullets", and "Boxing Gloves".

One of my favorite things about their style (and this album in particular) is the fact that each song builds and changes as you listen to it and you never get bored. A song may start out slow (ex. "Nocturne") and then suddenly there's this sick drop and the whole vibe changes. It's awesome. I also need to call out one of my favorite parts of the entire album--in "Analog Boy", about halfway through there's this spoken "what if it just..." right before the song builds (right about where you'd silence your friends for "the best part" of the song).

I may be bias because Kyle's a generally awesome person all around, but this album is honestly amazing and I'm a massive DBMK fan. 10/10 would recommend.

Collapse is available everywhere online music is sold. To purchase a physical copy of their CD, click HERE, and check out their social media linked below. - Nicole Into

"DBMK: Music to My Ears"

Stop what you're doing. You're about to be introduced to something new, fresh and absolutely GENIUS.

During my daily Spotify binge for new music the other day, I came across a group that is truly amazing: Denim Blue & Miclain Keith (otherwise known as DBMK). I sat down and listened to their album The Abyss from start to finish and felt the soul and music in my bones. Smooth vocals, crisp beats, a soothing guitar, and vibrating cello. Denim Blue & Miclain Keith, in every literal form, took my breath away.

To put a label on the Tampa, Florida group and give them a specific genre category would do them injustice. The mixture of rap and indie pop vibes is what pulled me into their album; each song and lyric so introspective and intimate, yet their sound so big. The mix of the two expresses their mellow, yet intense, meanings behind each word sung and rapped. A crystal voice and developed and wholesome beats show us the passion in their music and teases me to only dream of what they must sound like live (nothing but AMAZING, I can imagine). But don't ask me to pick a favorite song, The Abyss collection from start to finish is such a golden concept it must be left unaltered and not separately favoritized.

However, I would like to shine light on the last song of this album, School Nights / Outro. The song goes deep into the feelings and mind of the teenage world trying to enter the real world. Expressing the sadness (and the happiness), the struggles (and the success), the fighting (and the winning), this song breaks down into the truth of trying to find your place in the world away from "the darkness of the abyss." The song then closes the album and transitions into a beautiful melody of each song on the album mixed together. The mélange ends the album with essence and soul, and will leave you with chills.

With only 900 listens on Spotify and a small number of downloads on iTunes, the new and under the radar group is definitely creating a loud buzz. Speaking from experience, they are very interactive with their fans. And yes, I did fangirl when they mentioned me on Twitter and commented on my pleading and begging to play in Jersey.

I showed one of my friends this album and the first thing she said was "I'm taking that $10 I was going to spend tomorrow at Chipotle and downloading this instead." If that's not love I don't know what is. Buy the album. Get it for yourself as an early present or something. Make up a holiday if you have to. Just get it. Treat yourself, those ears, (and your digestive system, by replacing that Chipotle for genius music), and just get it; you won't regret. Pinky promise. - CECE

"Sleep EP Review"

It became clear instantaneously upon my discovery of DBMK that frontman Kyle Knudsen and guitarist Miclain Keith fit together like two peas in a pod - whether it be intellectually, musically, or in terms of talent as a whole. But never has that statement been so true until now. With the Sleep EP, the Florida alternative glitch-pop duo's first official music release of 2016, comes a noticeable upward spiral and shift in direction. You don't hear that much vigorous drum work from Zack Raplee or finger-skinning funky bass licks from Michael Schmitt, but that's all because the ambient, mellowed-out 5-track collection was crafted specifically to help people get to sleep when they have trouble doing so -- hence the appropriate title. Such a statement does not match in any way, however, with the EP being boring all the way through. As a matter of fact, it's quite the polar opposite. Knudsen even steps away from his position at one point on the closing track Ground Breaker and allows Keith to shine as a lead vocalist, penning simplistic, yet intricate, lyrics such as "Moving Earth to see what's brewing / moving Earth to see what's human". Talk about something new! Throwing another log onto the fire of richness and creativity that burns within Sleep is its opening cut, Internet Love. "I don't know why I'm so scared of being nothing to you", Knudsen croons over a deep electro glitching track with an auto-tuned robot filter coating his voice. It is worth noting that he recorded and wrote all keyboard parts for the EP entirely by himself over the course of its creation. Any fan just joining the party with this collection must remember to compare its overall production and sound side-by-side with 2014's The Abyss, a record which was recorded entirely in the 17-year-old singer's bedroom at home with Miclain alongside him. There's such a mechanical and computerized feel to it that it even sounds as though former drummer Logan Coats has no presence on the record. Minimal is the word that can best be used to describe its sound. But the Sleep EP offers much more in the way of big, brooding, intimidating beats and instrumentals, as the band was able to splurge on some higher-grade recording equipment. Whatever the situation, I am stupendously pleased with what I've heard, and can confidently say that expectations are higher than ever for album #2.

RATING: 9.5/10

FAVORITE TRACKS: Internet Love, Ground Breaker - Reviewniverse

"Album Review: DBMK - Collapse"

When we put a call out for new music, members of our Strife Family shared on Twitter that they were enjoying DBMK. Not being familiar with them, we got curious and decided to check out what the fuss was.

Well! We learned that Denim Blue & Miclain Keith are something very unique musically. Listening to their latest album Collapse subsequently set off a series of eargasms for this listener. So while Collapse was released back in July this year, we hope you don't mind if we review it, because it's amazing and we're excited about the DBMK sound.

Collapse starts off with Analog Boy, and if you don't know anything about DBMK, it's very interesting to hear this song starting off by flowing into a soundscape of digital effects. A grounding bass appears. Clean guitar joins in and then we hear a call of "Please don't go". We are then into a chiptune-esque melody, before the first verse begins. This first minute or so of music is already captivating. Expect the unexpected? Okay, got it.

Pre-chorus, it's marching style drums, synth and pure vocals. I'm not sure about others, but here I was 100% captivated by this openness of sound. The vocals trail off and we hear a soundbite of "What if it just.." before rocking anthemic drums and guitar ring out and join empassioned vocals. At that point I was GONE. Hooked. Instantly. "I HEAR YOU, YOU ANALOG BOY!".

Hi DBMK, you're my new favourite band.

But it's a fluke, right? Just one lone masterpiece of a creatively assembled track, merging curious elements which go against the unspoken formula of song construction, yet work so brilliantly together. Musical artistry. Let's continue.

Track two is called Pills and begins with piano and a gentle beat, before a fast paced spoken word/rap. The best way I can describe the vocal quality is honest & open. The whole band joins in, leading into the chorus, where a bass drops in. Out of nowhere. This combination of sound with that buzzing and morphing bass and the vocal openness is so beautiful. The final chorus is just so still and soft, it really expresses a sentiment of emotional pain which is described in the lyrics.

The same feeling continues as track three, Nocturne, begins. It's sombre, with piano, those amazing pure vocals, and with effects sneaking in at the corners. That sneaking builds up and up, eventually turning into an impressive drop along with the chorus which is heavy in electronica. The electronics back right off to be subtle in the last 30 seconds and we are left with piano again. I love the simplicity of this music. A standout lyric of this song for me was "If love were a shape it would be the one that the corners of her mouth make". All of it seems to be a beautiful narrative on a relationship ending.

Bullets begins with vocal harmonising and barely there piano. Before the first verse begins, there is a build up and then an electronic focus. We're grounded by very real vocals & lyrics. This song includes rap/spoken word and it's really engaging; I hung on every word. Before the bridge is a bass interlude that is very cool. I noticed that DBMK had made their own comments on Genius lyrics and that this was noted as "An infection. I’m not sure when it will be mended." To me it speaks about heartbreak.

Patient (N.) gave me goosebumps in the first few notes for some reason. It is a heartstring-tugging, hymn-sounding song, with the most beautiful lyrics. I won't give too much away on this one. It has that feel to it; that you just need to be with it. With this song I now feel a Jeff Buckley-esque tone to the vocals. Just beautiful. I may or may not have shed a tear (okay, I did).

With Ampersand we are back in really heavy electronic sound and I wonder how far the 'alternative' genre stretches to include such a sound. Even the vocal tones are really EDM-edged. It's a pretty sound though, and the bass is very cool along with a light melody. The transitions into and out of the choruses were interesting. I was left craving for some more heaviness and it surprised me that I actually got my wish with the bridge, when drums and vocals took centre stage. The last chorus echoing ear-to-ear and the return to drums again was an awesome way to end the track.

Black/White starts off with an organ sound and clear vocals. A drum beat surfaces and lifts the feel of the song, but it's still staring you in the face and saying "listen up". This song relates to oppression, control, doing what you're told, living fearfully. It points towards religion and schooling and keeping oneself cooperative and 'good'. "And I didn't even know that I witnessed a crime / And I didn't even know that I gave my life". This is such an important song and one that really moved me. The last minute and a half of this song is mind-blowing. Just listen and take it in.

Guitar welcomes us to Always On and by this point at track 8 I am really happily-comfortable with the fact that random bass drops and electronic effects are going to appear along with those honest vocals. This is a really easy and flowing song and feels like a road trip, but it's written about relationship angst. This lyric was beautiful: "I'm burning but I want a warm body next to mine / I'm sinking to the bottom weighed down by my flawed design".

Boxing Gloves starts out with some really cool electronic sounds and beats, taking us back to an 80s sound, but it doesn't feel retro at all. I love the chorus of this song particularly, it feels like a freeing moment in amongst an angst. Like many other tracks on this album, the lyrics hit hard emotionally, with 'just a man' writing about not being able to get in past the barrier that the woman he loves has up between herself and him. "You can find me in the corners / Of your disenchanted eyes/ And if you decide to let me in I'll be here. The truth about us living / So hard to stay alive / But if you decide to let me in that crooked mind."

Oh no, this is the last track guys: Twin Machines. It's basic drum taps, and a rap, before melancholy guitar. The bass drops and we're into another verse. This is amazing. In so many ways. The lyrics, the sighs in amongst the vocals, the honesty, the spaciousness given to the spoken word to flow emotionally to where it needs to go. The outro, was an impressive way to end the song as well as the album: "Connect connect connect / Remember this is what you needed, isn't it".


Now that I've 'met' DBMK's music, let me just say that they have surpassed any expectation I might have had. I fell in love with Collapse. The experimental and skillfully designed tracks have used a combination of electronics, guitars, drums and that honest/pure/open voice to express the DBMK songs artfully. I had no sense of them being contained to a set structure of song, and this was refreshing, as it has seemed to mean that DBMK are creating authentically. This means that as listeners we are lucky enough to get 'hit' with the songs straight on, and get to embrace the heartfelt messages within them.

The songs on Collapse are all masterpieces, musically, and my ears will continue to process this experience and what. just. happened.

DBMK are playing with Vesperteen on 8th December. This is a perfect match, given that both DBMK and Vesperteen use a unique expression of sounds with electronic effects and still sit within the alternative genre. I would be there, up front, and fangirling if I weren't on the other side of the planet. Tickets are available here.

We are grateful to our Strife family for sharing with us about DBMK! You can have a listen to Collapse below.

Written by Kel Burch - Strife Magazine

"DBMK - Sleep EP Review"

There are some artists that have a lasting impact upon you, where your relationship with music is changed from that point of listening to them onward. DBMK is one of those artists for me. I don’t know what I was expecting when I embarked on listening to DBMK, but I do know that what I heard was nothing like anything I could have predicted. Any musical preconceptions or expectations cannot exist when you’re listening to musicians that have mastered the art of creating via experimentation.

DBMK was born from the collaboration of Denim Blue & Miclain Keith. When Kyle and Miclain parted ways, DBMK evolved into a four piece band with Kyle, Jacob Trunzo, Josh Trunzo and Colton Ward. DBMK currently has Kyle responsible for the writing and arranging, yet he shares that there is opportunity for evolving amongst the four.

DBMK have two albums (Collapse and Abyss) and an EP under their belts. The beautiful Sleep EP is what I’m reviewing today. Sleep EP is five tracks long, and came about by way of Kyle seeking music and sounds to help him fall asleep. His search turned up empty and Kyle and Miclain then took the opportunity to creatively explore sleep-inducing music to help themselves as well as others. The result is the five tracks we find on Sleep EP.

Sleep EP begins with the first track “Internet Love”, which for any of us techno-addicts is already soul-soothing when we hear the distinct sounds of a computer booting up as well as the Apple startup sound. This song sets the scene of sitting in the dark at a computer and being taken on a journey of ideas, thoughts and whatever else comes. It’s sweet piano, looping melody, pulsing bass and electronified vocals. The lyrics such as “I’m so scared of being nothing at all” speak for those late night self-doubting and questioning voices within us.

The song structure of DBMK songs can’t necessarily be squished inside constraints of verse/chorus/bridge, due to the experimental and eccentric nature of how the songs are arranged. But what could be considered a bridge of “Internet Love” takes us out of that looping and distortion and into more open vocals and a more full and expansive sound.. before the computer shuts down to close the song (I really really want the lyrics for this EP).

“Planet” at track two is such a sweet lullaby sound; chiming chords, gentle beat, piano, hums and a bass that’s clearly there but not distracting from the lightness. I love the dance of layers of this song, feeling like ’rounds’ of a tune played together in harmony, and was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of lyrics from “Analog Boy” from Collapse. I find “Planet” both comforting and moving and I can’t fully explain why, but to have it on an EP designed for sleeping is genius. The break where piano ‘drops’ come in and chimes combine to build up with bass and vocals is amazing. It’s comforting and heartwarming, and then moving on into the lyrics of “Mmmm I’ve got you”.. well it’s an invitation to let go of fears and worries of the day and lean into sleep. Just bliss. Just what’s needed.

“Watercolors” has a stronger brass sound and drums sounding like they’re played behind closed doors, as well as piano. The orchestra of harmonising vocalisations is incredible and it’s again heartwarming. A ‘thinking of you’ voicemail soundbite set amongst delicate piano is part of this song and is a sweet inclusion for any listener feeling alone in the world. We don’t know who they are, but they’re a metaphor of a silent person who is caring from afar. So let’s breathe and sleep easier knowing that someone out there is thinking of us.

“You/Me” begins with deep and resonant piano. The repeated melody is soothing and grounding. The light and layered vocal harmonies are lightening of a weary mind. The piano is given space to ‘speak’ before Kyle’s vocals of “I don’t feel a thing” are echoed. A bass hum closes out the track. With headphones on this is otherworldly.

The EP ends with “Ground Breaker”. This curiously begins with shuffles and sighs of a person moving around, presumably setting up to play music. “Ground Breaker” invites a lonely sounding guitar in, before the expansive vocals begin. The vocal harmonies provided by Miclain Keith on this track are mindblowing and addictive in isolation (“Moving earth to see what’s brewing / Moving earth to see what’s human”). So when a chilled beat and experimental percussion joins in, it’s incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. A beautiful way to end the EP.

We love Sleep EP here and everyone I have shared it with seems to just ‘get it’, despite its uniqueness. You can stream this beautiful EP here and be blissed out too. - Depth Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



"I heard a clip from a song, fell in love, and started digging... As it turns out, it was DBMK. We have played them during our Local Motion show on Sunday nights. What?! I'm in LOVE! If you haven't given them a listen, you are missing out." -Danielle, 97X Radio 

Keeping things simple is probably one of the most complicated things that a musician could ever do. Ironic isn’t it? DBMK creates a really immersive and cinematic blend of sound, yet their indie pop is direct, deliberate, and extremely easy to relate to. In December of 2014 they released The Abyss, their debut full-length album. The songs are introspective and intimate, but their sound is big, with reverberated guitar riffs, soulful vocals and great arrangements that echo artists such as Twenty One Pilots and The Neighbourhood, but with an equally honest and less polished attitude.

Since the summer of 2013 they have been featured in The Tampa Bay Times, KTLA Channel 5 News, Strife Magazine, NBC's Daytime and their music is aired on 97X’s Local Motion and USF Bull’s Radio. They recently created and operate under their own independent record label, Kick Booty Records.

Due to the outfit’s unique brand of highly energetic live performance, they have supported such acts as New Politics, Panic! At The Disco, and AWOLNATION. In December of 2015, DBMK won 97x’s Next Big thing Local Band Search to support Walk The Moon, The Neighbourhood, and Twenty One Pilots at the Mid-Florida Amphitheater.

Though the group is relatively new, they have completely changed the way many view independent and local music by professionally releasing a music video for their song, “Rich Girls,” performing at large music festivals such as FSC’s Southern Takeover, WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave, and Cox Media’s 97x Barbecue and NBT- all within one year of their first steps into the music scene. Much of the duo’s success can in fact be attributed to their constant professionalism, fan relationships, and electrifying stage performance. In July of 2016 they released their highly anticipated sophomore studio album, “Collapse,” which was met with overwhelming fan support, and toured the Southeast United States.

Band Members