Victim Mentality

A Kite Is a Victim takes the slow road

Much of the music on Home was written by Galvez during a mid-Nineties stint in San Francisco. Relocating back to Florida, he began a project called the Al Galvez Band, which later became A Kite Is a Victim. (The name is taken from a Leonard Cohen poem.) In 1996 he also started the Miami-based Space Cadette label and recording studio with his brother Rafael. As the band's original incarnation began to dissolve during the recording of Home in 1998, Perez, now 34 years old, and Rajan, now 25, were brought onboard halfway through and are now the permanent touring and recording members.

The two years since their arrival have been spent mostly on the road, up and down the East Coast, identifying pockets of support and working them hard. “Guerrilla tactics,” deadpans Perez, naming Athens, Boston, and New York as important turf to till. A Kite Is a Victim, despite a fragile sound, proves industrious when it comes to self-promotion. The band will even stop in at a restaurant and play a show for free, just to do it. “Then the next time around, we'll organize it ahead of time and actually get paid,” Galvez relates.

Galvez acknowledges that the group's predilection for playing seated, dressed in black, in quiet coffeehouses, can be off-putting to club owners. “A couple of times people have told me: “You're not loud enough. We don't want to book you. We're a bar, and I don't want to put people to sleep.' I tell 'em: “Listen, you can keep the money if the people don't have a good time.' They'll say, “Okay, all right.'” The band recently employed this very tactic -- successfully -- at a Tampa venue.

A Kite Is a Victim perfects the 100-yard stare
Steve Satterwhite
A Kite Is a Victim perfects the 100-yard stare

“They said, “Not only do you get your money, but we want you back next month,'” Perez notes with pride. Galvez and company are laboring over the second A Kite Is a Victim album, (working title Strange Delight), which is still several months from being released. It is again a showcase for Galvez's strikingly honest songs, but slightly more aggressive yet unobtrusive bits of electric guitar and synthesizer have been woven into the fabric. Upping the ante again with the packaging, Galvez is busy constructing a pop-up insert booklet with small sliding stubs. “I'm always challenged to not do the easy thing,” he explains.

Which is why he's made A Kite Is a Victim his full-time love affair, devoting all his energy to its success. “Your health goes to hell for a year or two,” he admits. “Your personal and social life goes to shit, and before you know it, you're this working hermit. I work seven days a week.

“It's not so much about tragedy,” Galvez concludes. “We're definitely survivalists. We're Vikings on a mission and we've got to complete the mission somehow.”

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