Minneapolis band Kazyak is the indie craft-vehicle of songwriter/guitarist Peter Frey. The music is a revival, pairing a vibe level rarely seen today with the flavor of sound that peaked several decades ago, when mainstream music didn’t shy away from truthful, honest expression and feel. Frey is known for experimentation, and as a kid, waded in a pool of midwestern music. He absorbed the abstract side of Bob Dylan's songwriting and lofty sonic architecture from the likes of 12 Rods, Fat Kid Wednesdays, Halloween Alaska, and Bon Iver. On his records, Frey spits it all back out in his own way: The warmth of a nylon-string guitar blended around an expressive falsetto, the electronic drum sequences layered beneath a live Ludwig kit, and an acoustic banjo processed through circuit-bent guitar pedals.

All Kazyak songs are primarily folk songs, brought to life in the studio and on stage. The sound is grounded in authentic sentiment that is infectious, warm and overflowing. The lyrics are often abstract, but they never wander into absurdity. Each song is direct, evocative and natural.

Kazyak’s music has the feeling of being composed and improvised. But it’s not simply the presence of both composition and improvisation that makes the music shine – it’s the blending of the two: A slipping in between planned and spontaneity. Sometimes what is composed wanders and gambols into improvisational territory, and sometimes what is improvised comes together so well that it may as well have been composed.

Frey relies on friend musicians to bring the tunes to life in the studio and on stage. The line up includes variations of:
  • Brett Bullion (drums)
  • Danny Vitali (bass)
  • Jed Anderson (drums)
  • Justin Lansing (banjo)
  • Lana Bolin (bass)
  • Jef Sundquist (bass)
  • Becky Gaunt (violin)
  • Greg Byers (cello)
  • Ben Brajkovic (piano)

Kazyak has shared the stage with many; including LA indie rockers the Local Natives and Duluth-based Trampled by Turtles.

2014: Highwire Records
On June 3, 2014, Highwire Records announced the re-release of See the Forest, See the Trees on July 16, 2014. Highwire, whose name is inspired by the acclaimed documentary-film Man on Wire, is managed by ex-blogger Kevin Flick (Puddlegum) & singer-songwriter Marshall Lewis. Highwire’s purpose is to support heartfelt, indie art, and the label is on a mission to expose the music it supports to as wide of an audience as possible. The label has two other releases set for 2014.

2013: Happy Camping EP
During 2013, Frey wrote a 6-song EP title, Happy Camping. The songs were recorded with Brett Bullion in NE Minneapolis and will be release later in 2014.

2011 - 2012: Minneapolis, MN., Yes!Lets Collective, & See the Forest
In 2011, Kazyak’s future was uncertain. After a period of creative hibernation and collaboration with the Minneapolis arts collective Yes!Lets, Frey wrote the songs of See the Forest, See the Trees in the Great Room of his childhood home. The album’s music and narrative were inspired by the snowy oaks and icy pond in the backyard, and are about isolation, expression, recovery, and patience. In short, the record is an anthem dealing with the refusal of the past to disappear from us irrespective of our desire to have it leave us.

See the Forest, See the Trees chronicles the famous Remus folktale Tar Baby, a child-like aphorism for a problem than only worsens by attempts to solve it. The album's title is a variation on the old adage of "not seeing the forest for the trees," where Frey strived to simultaneously mind the finer details and the big picture. Each song is a snapshot, a thread in a tapestry, and though you never get the sense that there's a rigid theme or set of rules to the story, you can't help but feel that each song is connected on multiple levels. Every track is infectious, warm and overflowing.

See the Forest, See the Trees is a solid statement that the lineup and mindset adjustments aren’t the end for Kazyak. Instead, See the Forest, See the Trees is a new beginning: It is Kazyak, born into color.

2010: Midwest Tour & GroundUp Productions
After two years of pure musical incubation, the group had enough original content to take the show on the road. The group created a management company, GroundUp, brought on full-time lighting engineer, Brent Lunde, and spent the year playing venues around as far west as the Rockies and as far south as Austin, TX. In early 2011, the band mande the difficult decision to stop touring.

2008 - 2009: Austin, TX
In 2008, after graduating from college, Jed Anderson, Peter Frey, and Danny Vitali moved from Minnesota to Texas, seeking refuge in Austin. Having played as a prominent rhythm section for numerous musicians through their college years, the group wanted a place where they could hone their craft as a trio. Over these two years, the group wrote three full-length records of music, two of which were recorded: A Beautiful Brontosaurus and Rorrimirror.

Kazyak began as a dive into the unknown, and it often feels like it's still diving: becoming more itself by plumbing deeper into its curious, expressive, and experimental personality. From its earliest days, Kazyak has been about learning to listen, both to others and to one's self. It was the time spent in the practice room, in the car, and continuously making a sound that challenged the group to listen both harder and softer.
January 3, 2013 by Monica Millsap Rasmussen


See the Forest, See the Trees
April 8, 2013

'Pieces of My Map' - Free MP3 Download
April 16, 2013 by Cameron Matthews

'Part I: Rabbiting Fox' - Post
April 3, 2013 by Sean Delanty

'Pieces of My Map' - Post
March 23, 2013 by AlphaWolf

KDHX Indie Song of the Day 
March 14, 2013

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Press Releases

Kazyak announces See the Forest, See the Trees release
May 14, 2013
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