Artist Spotlight - Kalulu
We had the opportunity to interview Kalulu an alt band that has no problem blending genre and style to their tastes. All this works to great effect as they have put out some fantastic work including their new EP Coats which will be released in the U.S. in the Spring of 2019. Check out what they had to say below!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
My music career was kind of like a rolling stone:) Ever since I was young, I rolled into one thing from another. I started when I was 8 years old. My sister played the harpsichord and I wanted to do everything my sister did, so there I went. I’ve always had the urge to create, whether it were the ashtrays for our non-smoking-healthy-lifestyle-dad on fathers day we clayed in kindergarden or the songs I started writing when i was a teenager. At 13 I started singing, but I was afraid to let anyone listen in. I would only practice when my mom and dad walked the dog.
I never questioned the road I took, every step felt like a logical step following the other. But with every project I look back how it came to be and I’m happy it worked out this way.
I was accepted at Codarts, University for the arts at the age of 16. Out on my own in a new city I spend most nights alone with a bottle of wine writing songs. It was the only way to explain to myself the twists and turns my life took. Over the years that followed I met more likeminded people, and I now have a circle of friends that really inspire me.
Every year feels like I’m reinventing or rediscovering my music. Now at 28 there’s so much still to explore and create.
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
I am a restless and introverted person, that is where my music comes from. I always compose at my piano since I am drawn to its deep saddening sound. A song can start with one word, sound or image that I just fall in love it. It makes me run to my piano and try to give it the music I find it deserves. There I look for the deeper layers and emotions it holds that need to be translated into music.
I believe music is getting more and more important nowadays to give words to our emotions so they don’t drown in the hurry-hasty-social-media-indoctrinated world. Not to get very dark here haha, but I think a lot of trouble is rooted in suppressing emotions. For me to create a way out for them can be a true relieve.
Composing is a very intuitive process for me, especially with the new EP Coats. After the initial composing of the songs there was a period in which I searched for the right sound with my producer Max Abel. We worked on elevating the songs without loosing their intuitive strength. On Coats we chose a more eclectic and electronic sound, making every song grow layer by layer the way I felt it should.
This process takes time and while you’re in it, it can be confusing and hard. But when it’s done you’ve forgotten about all that and it feels like it’s the most natural thing ever. I think it feels like how I imagine a chicken feels after laying an egg.
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
There are a lot of artists that inspire me and it changes with every project. I’ll walk you through some of them. I grew up listening to artists like The Beatles, The Animals, The Mamas and The Papas, Ray Charles, Billy Holiday, Supertramp and Elvis. An eclectic list, but I have very warm and fuzzy feelings for that list of legends. Or we danced (read: I would walk in squares on the carpet holding my dress like I was Cinderella) on classical music of Mozart, Bach, and Vivaldi.
In recent years I have been inspired by artists like James Blake, Thom Yorke, and Radiohead. I admire their minimalistic producing and writing skills as well as with their trance-like melodies. Solange, Robyn, Laura Mvula, Josin, Björk, Nikka Costa, and St. Vincent are on my list of strong front women who make killer songs.
Other artists who have also moved me are for example Baths, Weval, Millionaire, Beck, NAO, Antony and the Johnsons, Lescop, Boards of Canada, Dirty Projectors, Scott Matthews, Portis Head, Elliot Smith, Tori Amos, Soulwax, Norah Jones, Django Reinhardt, Tom Waits, and so on. Well.. If you want more of these artists, I have 2 playlists on my Spotify account, so hit the follow button!
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
I’ve recently bought the Harmony M from TC helicon. Not the Harmony G - this one’s for midi. I think they’ve stopped making the M version so I got it second hand. I connect this to my Nord Electro and use it to sing multiple harmonies or to alter the tone of my voice by layering it with an octaver. It’s a nice effect pedal. I don’t like to go crazy cray on the effects using them everywhere, but they can be a nice layer in my vocal production from time to time, giving the vocals unexpected twists and my creativity an extra push.
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
I perform with a band and we use a lot of gear on stage. Even though the music is very electronic, we worked hard with the producer Max Abel to still maintain the live-vibe. We can still interact on stage and bring the sound of the EP to life.
I love the fact that you can never foresee what a gig will be like, where you will end up, whether you will get any food, whether people will show up, what kind of people will be there, whether you will be treated like a star or like a maid. That also makes it scary as hell, but the reassuring fact that you are with your band and the musicians you love makes it a little bit less of a shit-in-the-pants-thing. Therefore I don’t really love solo gigs - I have played them, but I think they are not my favorite. I love making music with other people. When I sing I can bring back some old sore, relive it and at the same time heal it bit by bit. There’s beauty in every type of gig when there is a mutual respect.
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
I want them to feel something.
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
Yes! We’ll be releasing some remixes of our new EP Coats, something I’m really looking forward to. All kinds of talented producers will be going nuts on our songs.
Also we’re working on 2 different albums at the same time now. The first one is a collaboration with producer Silvan van der Zwaag. He’s into pedals ( I think he once build a pedal board that was 6 ft long) and into experimental sounds. Together with the thought of wanting to write an album dedicated to dreaming we starting the writing process last year. All the songs are written, now we’re adding all the sounds and also working with various drummers for beats.
The second album is called Shamefaced. It will be a concept album fully about shame in all its different facets. I will be working with different photographers and graphic designers since I feel that the artwork of every project is just as important as the music. It’s so pleasing to see art and music come together. For our last EP Coats I worked with Auke Triesschijn for the artwork, it truly has been a pleasure working with him.
So if you want to support us in any way, please play our songs on Spotify or buy our songs on iTunes and follow us on the socials. In the meantime we’ll be here, in our dark-no-window- studio, finishing these lovelies.