Interview: Kim Churchill
Australian singer song writer Kim Churchill, due to embark on a long touring stretch over the next year or two, took time out of his busy schedule to talk about his latest album Weight_Falls. This release shows a new confidence in his song writing and creative direction where he draws inspiration from his own travels, encounters with other cultures and life experiences. Observing human behaviour and interactions and drawing from the experiences of those close to him also contributed to the themes on Weight_Falls. We asked him about what inspires his music and his creative process in our Q&A interview.
Sonia de Freitas: Hi Kim! How are you and where does our interview find you today?
Kim Churchill: Hello:) I’m in Newcastle, Australia, enjoying a rare day off. Doing very well thanks. Had a cheeky surf this morning and might see if any songs want to be written this afternoon.
SF: You have a new record out this month called Weight_Falls. Can you tell us a little about the album and inspiration behind the collection?
KC: After quite a struggle with another album, I wrote Weight_Falls in a frenetic week after telling my team I was shelving the one I had. That decision gave me an odd sense of relief and finally felt as though I could write the songs I needed to. It was life a weight had fallen away and I was able to move freely again. The songs all came from that feeling of liberation – which lasted about a week or two.
SF: How did you conceive the title of your album? Also, what’s the significance of the stylising of the title and the album track Night_Gloom?
KC: Weight Falls was the first song I wrote the morning after canning the album I was working on. I wrote it at 6am and wad done by 6.45. All the songs happened with that ease and calm and I felt like the metaphor of a weight falling away was the perfect representation of my mood and the mood of the tracks. I also downloaded Garage Band and discovered an amazing world of options for my writing which is never used before. I was chopping up acoustic guitar parts and layering loads of simple beats I made with my hands on my phone. I used these really crappy bass synth which someone blended with the acoustic guitar really nicely. Being introduced to that ‘digital’ world was massively inspiring and led me to a new sound. When I’d email a track to myself it would arrive in my computer accompanied with weird numbers and symbols. Involving the underscores was a little tip of that hat to that whole world and the inspiration it gave me.
SF: We read that you weren’t happy with the first version of this release and spent a week reworking it. Can you discuss why you did this? Was this the case and if so, what did you not like about the first take?
KC: Basically I just wrote 12 new songs in a week and set to work recording them. A couple old ones came across as well. There was something not quite right about the earlier album but I had worked so hard on it for so long I couldn’t bare the truth about that. Finally my label suggested a sum of money to try and remix the album and I thought I’d rather use that money to record a whole new record. It was the catalyst for making the decision in a positive way and it was an incredible feeling of motivation. I also wanted to prove to myself and my label I could write the new album in a week.
SF: What was it like working with Ian Pritchett? Why did you choose to work with him on Weight_Falls?
KC: Ian is incredible at allowing an artist to be themselves in the studio. He’s wonderfully humble and doesn’t try to put his own spin on it. He creates a beautiful big sound and gently helps the artist be everything they can be. The production angle and the sound fall into place naturally within that. I needed somewhere I could just be myself and do my thing and the little studio in his garage was the perfect place.
SF: What song on Weight_Falls is your favourite or closest to your heart?
KC: Probably Rosemary. It’s about a man who’s mind was malfunction and shutting down in the weeks before he died. He fell in love with my grandmother and they had an incredible friendship for that small time. She knew he was going a bit wacky but was open to his kindness and rolled with the whole thing. I just love thinking of them sharing the last few weeks together.
SF: How long did it take you to write then record this album?
KC: Well… 1 week to write. And then a couple of months to record.
SF: Who is your sounding board? There must be someone that you trust to give you brutally honest feedback on your music. How do they fit into the process?
KC: My friend Ben who is the lead singer of an electronic outfit called Boo Seeka. He’s one of the only people I’ll trust with my songs- also a total genius.
SF: When did you know that you were going to make music your career? Was the journey a difficult one or has it been plain sailing so far?
KC: I started playing guitar when I was really young and just always figured I’d be a musician. Its been a lot of hard work but it’s all been great fun. I love working hard when it’s fun and if there’s difficult times they’re manageable.
SF: I know you are already a multi-instrumentalist, but is there an instrument that you would really like to learn?
KC: I’d love to be a better piano player. One day hopefully. When the touring slows down.
SF: What inspires your music?
KC: More than anything probably the lessons I learn in life and my discovery of the ways of the world. I also love to travel and the different cultures and environments leak into my music in a beautiful way.
SF: What was the first song that you remember making an impact in your life and why was/is it so important?
KC: Black Dog by Led Zeppelin. I was so excited by the sound and Roberts voice. I couldn’t think of anything more amazing than being him. I’ve always pushed and been inspired to be involved in music and make people feel the way thst song made me feel.
SF: After the album launch, what are your touring plans?
KC: I think we’ll have a solid year or two of festivals across the world. That’s the fun bit! If I can keep up haha. I’m always writing lots of new songs and working on a novel too. So lots of creative stuff when I get the chance.
SF: What has so far been your most memorable performance and why? Would you like to go back there again?
KC: A small stage at Glastonbury a few years ago. It was almost like busking and people just started gravitating from all over to watch. It was nestled into woods and everybody was so into it. I could relive that moment for ever!
Kim Churchill’s album Weight_Falls is out now.