Ki:Theory (pronounced “key theory”) is the alias of Virginia-bred artist and producer, Joel Burleson. Joel’s unique sonic constructions expand the Indie Rock/Electronic Music genres with a blend of traditional songwriting and highly adept studio wizardry. Joel has done a number of high profile remixes for a diverse range of artists including Daft Punk, Queens of the Stone Age, Kings of Leon, Sasha, UNKLE, and Brazilian Girls, bringing him a considerable amount of recognition as a key remixer and producer. Joel has released multiple Ki:Theory albums, all of which are available for free download at kitheory.com. Joel’s own compositions can be heard on major television programs, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, National Geographic International’s First Ascent, Nat Geo Wild’s 2011 TV series Killer Shots, and Top Gear. His songs have appeared in commercials for Converse, Billabong, Shaun White, Audi, the trailer for the film Abduction, and in several video games including Need for Speed: Shift. Joel recently took some time from his busy recording and touring schedule to offer us some insight into how he developed his musical personality and what he has coming up in the near future.
VOX: What got you into playing music?
Joel: I’ve just always been drawn to music. I got a keyboard when I was nine and I loved to just hang out and make up songs on it. Guitar came a little later when I got one along with some lessons for my twelfth birthday.
VOX: Tell us a bit more about how you got to where are you now.
Joel: I’ve kinda only ever been in Ki:Theory but it’s a lot different now than when it first started. It used to be a full rock band kinda thing where I was the singer and main songwriter. But when that band broke up, I just kept the name and started doing my own indie electronic stuff. So now Ki:Theory is really a solo project with a revolving door of musicians that I take on the road.
VOX: Your music is an eclectic mix of sampling and danceable grooves with rock- based guitar and keys …do you have a formula you like to use when writing or is each song written with a different approach?
Joel: Most songs start on guitar - chord progression / riff. Then I usually get a melody going and start to find pieces of lyrics to fill in the story from there. I then take it to ProTools and it usually takes on a different life - just building on itself with keys, drums, samples, etc.
VOX: What drew you to VOX guitars?
Joel: They’re just beautiful instruments. You can really tell that a lot of hard work and love for the craft went into these things when you pick one up. Plug it in, to an AC30 preferably, and it’s OVER!
VOX: You’ve been using AC30s for a while…what do you like about them?
Joel: In general, VOX amps sound epic and look great on stage. I love them for that extra edge they provide. My favorite aspect…probably just how raw the tone is while still providing a high level of purity.
VOX: What’s next for Ki: Theory?
Joel: I have new remixes dropping soon for a bunch of artists including Cypress Hill, X Rusko…and some others I can’t mention. I’ve also got a new record on the way. Also, look for us to be out on the road this year!
For more information on Ki:Theory and some free downloadable tunes, head over to www.kitheory.com