Southern Ontario’s Kadeema are charting a new path with their debut eight-song EP, Napoleon Tornapart. Songwriters Jimmy Chauveau (vocals) and Tal Vaisman (guitar/vocals) began collaborating together in their former band, Ascot Royals, choosing to continue their creative partnership in the wake of the group’s dissolution. Taking their name from Vaisman’s hometown, which translates to ‘forward’ in Hebrew, the duo embraced its meaning.
Napoleon Tornapart is a tongue-in-cheek collection of rock songs that range from empowering to reflective, capturing the ups and downs of day-to-day life. “It’s the natural process, standing on top of rooftops one day, and then the next day, you’re down in the gutter,” explains Chauveau. “It’s that back and forth, sort of taking it all in stride.”
Chauveau and Vaisman worked closely with producer and drummer, Isaac Carpenter (AWOLNATION, Duff McKagan, Adam Lambert) to create the EP. “At some point it felt like we started a band with him,” reflects Vaisman. Carpenter served as the group’s de facto third member, developing an environment that allowed Kadeema to write and record with complete freedom.
This is heard in the record’s varied production, including “Beat Up Car,” which pairs triumphant riffs with blunt lyricism, acknowledging and exploring dejection and loss. Elsewhere, “Average Paranoid” harnesses dreamy guitar and pop vocals to poke fun at the ubiquity of daily stresses.
The songs’ honesty extends to the approach that the band took to their production, allowing the tracks to lead them instead of trying to emulate the groups that formed their musical foundations. “A lot of these songs are a fun and upbeat way of dealing with the days in which life sucks,” reflects Vaisman. Lead single, “Gotta Get It,” features an infectious bass groove, juxtaposed by Chauveau’s admission of being “so tired of trying just to survive this.”
Kadeema’s writing questions their actions as individuals too. The introspective verses of “Good Lies” are a contrast from its anthemic chorus, which acknowledges that “the lows make the real highs.”
The title Napoleon Tornapart, like the EP’s lyrics, juxtaposes adversity with humour. “It’s the idea that any human can be brought down by the day,” says Chauveau. “I love the idea of a military-esque man just broken over a table, almost like a Renaissance painting.”
Kadeema have written a body of work that doesn’t shy away from their experiences of personal and professional imprisonment, yet it crucially harnesses the ability to rebuild and live honestly through life’s challenges. “We wrote the songs that felt like the right thing at the time because they really reflected our lives,” acknowledges Vaisman.
At the core of Napoleon Tornapart is a message that resonates, one of finding catharsis and light through one’s darkest moments. The EP affirms that it is okay to be struggling and to want more from one’s life. Through writing these songs, Kadeema have found empowerment and a renewed sense of identity.
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