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Interview: Kim Churchill

6 min read

Having already conquered the charts in his homeland of Australia earlier this year with his debut studio album Silence/Win, singer-songwriter Kim Churchill is taking the next step in his career by launching himself into the UK music scene.

Currently enjoying a successful tour alongside fellow singer-songwriting extraordinaire Seth Lakeman, Kim is gearing up for the UK release of his debut album and we were lucky enough to steal some time from the musician recently to talk about the collection, his plans on infiltrating the UK music scene and what fans can expect from his support slot alongside Seth Lakeman.. Here is what he had to tell us…

Brendon Veevers: How are you Kim and where in the world does our interview find you?

Kim Churchill: I am sitting in a small pub in Scotland about to have a birthday haggis! I figure at some point in one’s life they should dedicate their birthday to a haggis feast, and I’ve reached that point today.

Kim Churchill - Silence WinBV: You are busy promoting the upcoming UK release of your debut album Silence/Win. Firstly, can you talk to us about the name of the record and what the title means to you?

KC: Basically it’s about reaching a point of maturity where I realised there were a lot of moments when I’d do better to be quiet. Not just verbally, but in my head and the way I do things. It’s my own metaphor for a certain kind of surrender I found incredibly liberating around the recording of the album. The dash between the words kind of helps represent how utterly bewildered I was that one concept could lead to the other. It was a brilliant moment learning to be quiet sometimes.

BV: Is there a favourite track for you on the collection and what about the track makes it stand out for you?

KC: I like a song called Rage. It took me about 20 minutes to write and felt like some else’s work, which I guess is why it stands out so much! We recorded it with a string quartet in a small house in the north of Vancouver Island; I have a real soft spot for string quartets so it was amazingly fun.

BV: What can fans expect from the album and what would you say is the key feature of Silence/Win?

KC: The songs themselves I think. They’re good songs. I’ve waited a long time to bring something to this part of the world because I have grown up with British music and have a hell of a lot of respect for it. I think this album is the first time the songs have been good enough to bring them to a UK audience and it’s a nice step to have made.

BV: Having made your mark in your homeland of Australia with the release proving successful earlier this year when it was released down under, how are you feeling about tackling a new market and one as big as the UK?

KC: It’s brilliant. An incredible awe inspiring country to be working in – I hope the music fits in with the whole place. In the meantime I get to enjoy the odd cultural experience and learn a thing or two about ales. The whole process is pretty enjoyable really.

BV: What’s the reaction been like towards your music from those who are only now becoming familiar with you?

KC: There is so much music out there now, it’s amazing. When someone comes onboard – you know, really comes on board, and becomes a solid fan it’s an amazing thing. It’s very rewarding to see those emotions coming out of someone and regardless of how good I think I am, or how much I think I’ve improved the fundamentals of what happens inside someone when they’re moved by music. It reminds me not to think too much about what I’m doing or judge it for myself to much..

BV: The new album was recorded in Vancouver – what drew you to recording the new record there?

KC: The producer firstly and foremost. Warne Livesey is his name and he’s originally from the UK. He’s previously worked with The The and Midnight Oil and loads of other acts I really love. He now lives in Vancouver – it worked out pretty well for me because in the summertime it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen!

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BV: How will you know when things have really taken off for you – how do you define success?

KC: I got to open for Billy Bragg at Festival Hall last year and if anything defines success for me it’s seeing man like that 35 years into his career selling out that venue and giving one of the best shows I’ve seen him do. If I can do that in 30 years I’ll have considered myself quite successful, regardless of how big or small my profile becomes in the meantime..

BV: What’s your songwriting process like? Are you perfectionist when it comes to piecing a record together or is it more a ‘go-with-the-flow’ type of process?

KC: I tend to wander between the two. Perfectionism is a curse of mine but sometimes something happens in 5 minutes and I know it’s finished.

BV: What inspired you the most during the writing and recording process of Silence/Win?

KC: Mexico – I wrote a lot of the album there. The process was split between Mexico and Montreal, where I finished the album. There was a serious paradox between the two places, and both brought out lots of different elements of the what the final product was. I was very lucky to end up having those places.

BV: What artists would you say have been influential you to you as a musician and for what reason(s) do you regard them as influences?

KC: First it was Bob Dylan. He really opened my eyes to the art of song-writing, as before that I was a classical guitarist. Then I started falling in love with my dad’s music – Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, stuff like that. Then I found Nick Drake, who has been a huge influence on me, and later I really enjoyed Coldplay’s first few albums. Lately it’s been things like Alt-J, Beck and I really liked James Blake’s last album too. I find it comes down to energy, lyrics and melody. Sometimes I love things for being incredible at one and sometimes they have more than one.

BV: Are there any acts out there that you would love to collaborate with or tour with and if so, who would they be and in what capacity would you like to see a collaborative project?

KC: I’d love to tour with Alt-J – just to see how they do things each night and what their work ethic is. They also seem like nice guys, but more than anything I’m just a big fan!

BV: You are on the road with fellow folk singer-songwriter Seth Lakeman. How is the tour going and is there a venue that you are particularly keen to play on the tour?

KC: He is a very lovely guy and a really wonderful musician. It’s great to be in a tour bus too! Usually I travel around in a pretty small van, so his inviting me to stay on his was great. I have always looked at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and wondered whether I’d ever get to play there – I’m counting down the days until I play in mid-October!

BV: Aside from promoting the UK release of Silence/Win and touring with Seth, what other plans or projects are in the pipeline for 2014/15 that fans can look out for?

KC: Well I’m deep in the writing process of the next album already. I think I’ll be touring to UK a lot more and beginning to record music here. I’m also hoping to record another live album in a specific attic in Montreal. It would be the third volume of that. We shall see…

BV: Thanks for your time Kim and best of luck with the release.