Mark Garrett has 100,000 subscribers and 8 million views on YouTube. under the pseudonym of Kardavox Academy (opens in a new tab), he reacts to extreme metal bands from Zeal And Ardor to Slaughter To Prevail, unleashing the technique and talent behind what so many castigate as “just screaming”. In his free time, he invented a whole new genre. His five-piece band, Kardashev, claims to be “the only deathgaze band in the world.” What does that mean? And how did the viral success impact his band? We interviewed Mark to find out.
So what is the death gaze?
“It was Nico [Mirolla, guitars] who invented it. I was very skeptical about coining a new genre term – I thought it was super bombastic – but it worked really well. Deathgaze is essentially a combination of the aggressiveness and movement of death metal with the emotion and openness of shoegaze. I don’t think anyone listening to Kardashev would say, “That sounds exactly like shoegaze,” but it’s a conscious effort. A lot of genre-mixing bands are switching back and forth, as we try to be really cohesive and blend those sounds together. We create this very atmospheric and washed out sound.
As a vocalist, you have to sing both death metal roars and those delicate shoegaze melodies. How difficult is it?
“It’s rewarding, that’s why I keep doing it, but it’s really difficult. I started my vocal journey as a deathcore vocalist, and Kardashev is not a deathcore band at all. I had to reinvent the way I do my vocals: take gutturals and make them less grotesque and more focused, and make my clean voice less boomy and more soaring.
With Kardavox Academy, you react to the vocal techniques of other metal singers. When you sing, is the shoe on the other foot? Do people react to you and criticize you?
“We had a few reaction channels that made videos, but we’re not that big on the reaction scene because Kardashev is not that big. A lot of people who know Kardavox have no idea who Kardashev is, so it doesn’t really appeal to that crowd either. But that’s still where a lot of the anxiety lies, because I’m on YouTube saying, “Hey, I’m a vocal coach; I will teach you all these things. Now we’re releasing an album and everything is really hard, so it’s like, ‘Oh my God! I am really under the microscope! »
Why don’t many Kardavox subscribers know about Kardashev?
“I don’t talk about Kardashev a lot in my videos, because I want the video to talk about the artist [I’m reacting to] and on singing. If I did a Brand Of Sacrifice video and talked about Kardashev in the beginning, middle, and end, it wouldn’t be appropriate. I mention this at the beginning of my videos, but analytics show people skip a minute or two because a very large portion of the reacting audience is interested in the reaction, not the person reacting. They don’t want to hear me explain why I’m qualified.
Many musicians have a YouTube channel on the side, from Justin Hawkins to Devin Townsend. Are YouTube videos a viable way to make extra money?
“I can monetize almost all of my reaction videos, but after paying my business partner and my expenses, I have enough money to take my wife to a restaurant. You have to work hard, so I think it would be quite difficult to be a full-time touring musician and a lucrative YouTuber at the same time.
Kardashev’s new album, liminal ritualreleases June 10 via Metal Blade.