UI alums LAV.ISH play new G14 Festival

G14 Festival

3258 Cumming Rd, Cumming — Saturday, July 14 at 9 a.m.

LAV.ISH will play the inaugural G14 Festival on Saturday, July 14. — photo courtesy of the band

Iowa’s reputation for innovation and opportunity has landed it in the center of the music scene. This weekend, Kasper Entertainment is making history holding the first G14 Festival—bringing together everyone’s favorite trio: music, food and fun. Everything from live art to workshops will be available at the two-day festival in Cummings (just outside Des Moines) on Saturday, July 14. Tickets are $35-65, with activities starting at $5 and camping starting at $8.

Comedians, buskers, live bands and food vendors fill the day, and the coolest kids will stick around for the hip hop and electronica acts that start at sunset. With acts including headliner ill.Gates of Los Angeles; Velvo, traveling from Minneapolis; and Des Moines’ LAV.ISH, the stage will be filled with artistic talent.

Iowans are expanding their writing into lyrics and proving the corn state has what it takes to not just step into the music scene, but create their own lane in hip hop. Underground artists have always made Iowa a tour stop due to its dedicated fans, but now local artist are stepping up as performers. The G14 festival is the perfect platform for artists to showcase what the Iowa hip-hop sound is all about.

LAV.ISH will take the stage at G14 to perform their popular singles “Sofa” & “Wavy Hoes.” Satisfying their fans with songs from their May release, With a Dot in the Middle, festivalgoers may also hear some new music. The group is in the middle of work on their sophomore tape, Hippy Kids (due out early this fall), and they say they can’t wait to see how their fans will react.

LAV.ISH was birthed from the love of music and how it connects to people. Starting out in college at the University of Iowa, all with different focuses and struggling for cash, the band sought to make music that would be relatable for people just like them. Now, at just over a year old, LAV.ISH has already shown where passion and patience can lead you.

With influences such as Outkast and giving us hints of Goodie Mob, LAV.ISH foregrounds its appreciation for hip hop’s roots. Incorporating real instruments — from bassist Logan Blosser, pianist Brandon Herman, lead guitarist Tyler Hendershot and guitarist Jared Neal, as well as mixing and mastering from sound engineer Ezra Graber — is the next-level wave the millennials crave. With lyrical bars from vocalist/rapper Nim Kaufman that favor the late Biggie Smalls and soulful melodies from vocalist Carl Lane III, the album gives clear storylines of hearts meant, as track eight invites, to “Groove.” Official DJ Lucas Brandt is the perfect addition, allowing the band flexibility while performing live.

“It is important to bring the fans with us wherever we go, especially when we hit the stage,” Hendershot said. Performing all over Iowa City and using local Des Moines venues as practice, LAV.ISH has built a strong fan base. Being able to express themselves with support from family and friends pushes them to work harder.

In early May they took a chance on themselves, releasing With a Dot in the Middle, their first project. The album gives you a song for every part of your day. Samples have always been the backbone of the new wave of hip hop, and LAV.ISH’s album gives you the ISH needed after the dot. You can feel it sprinkled all over the album. Though the band had almost 30 songs to choose from, they narrowed it down to a 12-track release that leaves you filled with positive energy.

Even challenged with obstacles and being separated for months, the group shows that their brother bond is strong enough to withstand the storm. After their graduation from the University of Iowa, with different job opportunities spreading them all over, open communication became most important. Working on music while still maintaining 9-5 jobs only pushed the group closer to their goals.

Though a couple members of the band come from Los Angeles and Chicago, Hendershot said “Iowa is where the group calls home.” He said they are so excited to be a part of Iowa gaining more attention and musical recognition. Members of the group spent an entire year in Iowa City cultivating their first album. The mixing and mastering of the tape took the longest, but the group knew it was worth the wait.

LAV.ISH prides itself on not just being about the music, Hendershot said, but about the culture. The super cool boy band expands its talents when it leaves the stage, with work in graphic design, sketch comedy and short films. Graphic Designer Zach Schnoebelen keeps the group’s visuals down to earth; they have many videos available at their website.

Music has connected their talents in ways they never imagined, Hendershot said. Their label, Knockturnal Studios, allows them to have full access to creativity in a home studio right in Des Moines. They are even able to help other artist and bands can record, discuss music and all around hang out. Their love of music connected their everyday lives, and they used that energy to create music to inspire many.

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