Photo: Alyssa Leicht

 

Accepting fate can feel so inadequate sometimes. In the case of Des Moines based synth duo Ancient Posse, such soul searching was exactly the primal spark needed to set two disparate souls rolling toward each other from opposite ends of the universe. In 2014, Kamillah Jonaé (lead vocals) had lived all the Texas life she could muster, and following a harrowing chain of events, found herself right back where her life began: Des Moines, Iowa. At the same time, Steven Bergeron (keys, production, vocals) was finally emerging from a deep isolation brought on by anxiety and illness. The two found each other haunting the same dark bars and lonely skywalks.

Now partners both in life and career, Ancient Posse patch their singular vision together from two very different backgrounds. In one corner, there's Bergeron’s formative years occupied by listening to all the Thom Yorke, romantic composers, and IDM glitchiness he could fit between home school lessons and hours of classical violin training. On the other side of the ring: Jonaé’s childhood days spent creating elaborate internal worlds, informed as much by Broadway musicals and gospel music as Erykah Badu and AC/DC.

This seeming dichotomy manifests itself in the tension and space at the center of every Ancient Posse song, whether it be through billowing synth chords, skittering beats, or bold but elusive moods that turn on a dime. There’s an angular momentum that keeps listeners on their toes as lyrics, melodies, and structures change, sometimes several times over the course of a track.

“We ultimately just want to celebrate life,” Jonaé says between vocal takes for their debut full-length, “and maybe encourage people - and that includes ourselves - to see their place in it from higher up, to see the patterns. To see the beauty.” If that sounds a bit doe-eyed, it’s not lost on Ancient Posse. Bergeron elaborates, “We don’t want to be ironic. We want to own up to the wonder and power you can get from music, even if that means wearing our hearts on our sleeves or getting a little vulnerable sometimes. We've accepted that fate."

 

Appreciate what you’re hearing because with all possible sincerity, I believe that Ancient Posse could be the next big thing…
— STRAIGHTENING THE RECORD