Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs
Follow The Big Takeover
KnightressM1 – Photo Credit: Gary Papas
California’s importance in the music scene cannot be disputed, spanning a multitude of genres and spawning sub-genres, inspiring the world with new music breakthroughs, not to mention rock star personalities from this region followed by billions across the world.
Today we introduce you to San Francisco Bay Area outfit KnightressM1, who has just released the single ‘Lock & Key’, along with a stunning cinematic video. This is the second taster of the band’s debut album Dreams and Devastation, following up the first single ‘Polarity Integrate’. This music is superb, impeccably performed and produced, and clearly involves musicians of the highest caliber. Nothing short of stellar, clearly making this a band to watch in 2020.
KnightressM1 is a rock / metal power trio based in Oakland and the brainchild of violinist, vocalist, pianist and composer Emily Palen. Formed in 2011 with support from drummer Rob Ahlers (50FOOTWAVE, KrIstin Hersh), KnightressM1 was joined by bassist Uriah Duffy (Whitesnake) for the studio album.
Recorded at Foo Fighters’ acclaimed Studio 606 near L.A., this album was co-produced by Palen and esteemed producer John “Lou” Lousteau (Foo Fighters, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett). This 12-song collection is an ambitious concept album that explores both the emotional depths of personal transformation and the journey of cosmic awakening.
‘Lock & Key’ is inspired by the current planetary battle for human souls to break free from oppression waged down upon us by the hidden power structures. Ironically, this song became a personal anthem as Palen struggled to break free from domestic violence during the time of the album’s recording, ultimately illuminating that art/music is an unbreakable exit plan from the lethality of relational abuse.
“Recording gave me the courage to end a toxic relationship. It was like living in the sun, then going into the pits of hell. I trusted myself that I would get out of it, I just had to gather my resolve and courage. I always saw the truth of the situation but it was the being fully immersed with the recording of this album at 606 that helped me experience who I was, rather than how brutalized I felt in the relationship. I stepped towards the truth ultimately and broke out of that situation. Music, art, expression, living in the depth of purpose, is a way to connect with the most powerful part of you. You will bring forth aspects of yourself that are strong enough to deal with one of the most difficult situations one can go through,” says Emily Palen.
KnightressM1’s sound is the sonic manifestation of Palen’s heart – relentless, always reaching for beauty and absolutely driven by intensity. Their music is fascinating in the integration of specific musical frequencies into her compositions. The further her journey with this band, the heavier and heavier the sound gets. The crushing intricate rhythm section blends harmoniously with her driving, searing electricified violin tone as the lead.
Fueled by a deep-seated necessity to defy limitation, they harness an intense internal life to fuel the trajectory of the band over the edge of the impossible. Their heavy driving bass and rhythm are rounded out with lots of harmonic layering and beauty.
KnightressM1 is the embodiment of musical manifestations, based on the thematic concept of a female galactic warrior, who comes to Earth to bring justice, hunt corruption and restore truth. Within universal language, M1 is code for unity. This is her identifier. Her frequency. KnightressM1 (KM1) is the vessel through which Palen creates and shares her unique contributions to what is more commonly known here on earth as the music industry.
“KM1 is me imagining my whole consciousness in a superhero avatar, a limitless being. A universal example of who we can all be, The power of harmony can break your heart wide open while the powerful rhythm and bass give you the strength to move through that opening. It’s heavily grounded while reaching very high. As with love and life, you must embrace all aspects of the spectrum to fully embody it,” explains Palen.
“You can’t change anything until you tell the truth about it. Once you expose the pain, the lies and the liar, then you have power. You can become free. You must first have the courage to face it.”
A violinist from the age of four (her mother was a professional cellist and violin/cello teacher), the classically-trained virtuoso has spent her life mastering violin, piano, singing and composition via rigorous training and practice. As a young adult, she began exploring the concept of transmitting consciousness through improvisation. Emily explored this power through sacred solfeggio in the steadfast belief that these specific audio tones have transformative power.
Since releasing her first solo violin improv album Glass ~ Live at Grace Cathedral in 2012 and Creation a year later, she’s become a sponsored artist with Engl Amps, a crucial part of KM1’s tone, and has played or recorded with Foo Fighters, Eric McFadden and Gretchen Menn, among others, both as a live performer and a compositional recording artist, Earlier, she became a finalist in the ‘My Grammy Moment’ competition and played live with orchestra at the Grammys, conducted by John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin).
“This album has saved my life in many ways. Everything that I have ever been through, every love gained and lost, every heartbreak that slipped away without justice now makes sense in the context of this album. It was all so I could write these songs and experience their alchemizing power. Music has always lifted me into an untouchable space, even when everything around me is breaking, even when I am breaking beyond what I can bear, beyond what I myself can repair, the music heals it. When I’m completely honest with the music, it alchemizes the deepest pain and unforgivable betrayal into an unbreakable strength and love. We become greater because of the life we have lived, not in spite of it,” says Emily Palen.
‘Lock & Key’ is available across digital outlets such as Apple Music and streaming platforms such as Spotify. The full Dreams and Devastation LP is slated for release on September 25.
Music, lyrics, production and art direction by Emily Palen
Recorded at Studio 606
Engineered, Mixed and Co-Produced by John Lousteau
Mastered by Yossi Shakked
Emily Palen – violin, vocals, keys, composition
Rob Ahlers – drums
Uriah Duffy – bass
More from KnightressM1:
More in news