Australian folk pop artist Kim Churchill’s newly released album, Weight_Falls was written over 18 months, only to be scrapped and rewritten in a week.
The young singer songwriter shows a maturity and well travelled, reflective nature that will work well to offset the madness of his impending extensive Australian headline tour to celebrate the album’s release. Kim shared with us some of his surf and travel stories as well as gushing over his first love, music.
TGW: Lots of long established artists go on endlessly about creative process, but we’d like to know how you can spend 18 whole months writing a new album, only to trash it and re-write it in a week?
KC: Hahaha I think it would make an interesting case study. My take on it is that the creative process is a delicate and beautiful thing as small as it is infinite. When I start thinking too much and trying too hard, I begin to trample on on all my creativity with consciousness and anxiety and over thinking. Once this begins, it’s very hard to stop because everything solidifies and becomes too considered. I then ‘consider’ how to correct this – this a kind of snowball effect. So when I put down that other music and committed to making a whole new album in a week it was oddly liberating and I didn’t have time to think. But I knew I wasn’t supposed to think. I just let all the songs excitedly race into existence.
When I start thinking too much and trying too hard, I begin to trample on on all my creativity with consciousness and anxiety and over thinking.
TGW: How do you determine what material is and isn’t inspiring (for your own music)?
KC: A tiny little voice way, way underneath all your layers of ego and your worries and your aspirations and goals. The trick is finding a way to find enough quiet and stillness to actually hear what that voice is saying clearly – and then don’t overthink it.
TGW: What are some of the new elements you’ve added on this album, compared with your last one to move the sound along?
KC: Well, after the first attempt got canned I set out to write its replacement in a week. I knew a lot of label people would be listening in to some pretty crummy demos. I downloaded Garage Band so I could at least add some reverb and stumbled across a whole new world. I got right into chopping up my guitar parts and adding beats and odd bass samples. I was super inspired by Portishead at the time so we kinda went more of a ‘beats’ vibe and went for bass synths rather than guitar. It was a lovely new sound to stumble across!
I downloaded Garage Band So I could at least add some reverb [to my demos] and stumbled across a whole new world.
TGW: After touring Silence/Win around Australia in 2014 and 2015, he embarked on a series of high-adrenaline overseas trips that included performances at the Glastonbury and Telluride Blues Festivals and adventures in the Peruvian Andes and along the coast of Sri Lanka.What’s one of your best on the road stories from Sri Lanka?
KC: We got off the train and headed down to a beautiful little town at the bottom of a mountain known as Adam’s Peak. The bus ride itself was a fairly crazy ride. The driver was hooking round the super sharp bends on tiny little roads through the tea country. It could have been in an amusement park. We stayed in a little tea house and got up at 2am to climb over 5000’s steps to a Buddhist temple to watch the sunrise. Its an amazing pilgrimage and there were hundreds of incredibly young and old people. It was hard work and that was impressive! When you arrive at the top you ring the bell for every time you’ve made the climb. I saw one old lady ring the bell 47 times!
We stayed in a little tea house and got up at 2am to climb over 5,000 steps to a Buddhist temple to watch the sunrise.
TGW: The playlist you put together for us is called Sunshine & Surfer Days. How did you select the tracks?
KC: Yeah each song reminded me of summer for different reasons. Some like Bon Iver ‘Perth’ is known for bringing about a beautiful concept of winter. But when it came out I was touring North America in the summer and listened to it to sleep every day. It was so warm and the summer was so stunning over there. I met the group Bomba Estereo staying at a little hostel in Columbia. They are complete superstars, but I didn’t know it at the time. Boo Seeka came on tour supporting me for a summer tour I did in 2015. I think every song just sprang to mind for different reasons 🙂
TGW: Where are you when you’re listening to this mix?
KC: I’m all over the world in different places. Sri Lanka, Columbia, Montreal Canada, Indonesia, Belgium. I’ve been lucky to see some amazing summers – and just heaps of warm places in general haha.
Listen to Kim’s playlist here.
TGW: What’s the best thing about being an Australian in 2017?
KC: The music scene for sure. It’s such a beautiful and thriving place for local musicians right now. I can’t think of a better country to be playing music in.
TGW: Where are some of your favourite towns to tour in Australia and indeed the world? Why? (Bakery, pastries, characters at the pub, beaches etc.)
KC: I love playing Maitland, NSW because of The Junkyard venue. It also has Newy Burger Co, which are by far my favourite burgers on the planet (big call I know – but for reals). Montreal is probably my favourite city. It has the best bowl of Pho I’ve found (though I haven’t been to Vietnam yet), and some of my best friends [TGW editor: pho before friends, noted). I love playing in Newquay, Cornwall because I discovered the best pastie in a little farm shop out the back of town. I love playing Wollongong because the crowd are always so brilliant and I really dig playing in Old Bar because of a brilliant venue there called ‘The Flow Cafe’. Melbourne is also great to play. They love their music down and it really shows. So nice to play for!
TGW: On style, is it kind of an unwritten thing that surfers wear whatever they find on the floor, or is it more considered and ‘put together’ than that?
KC: Hahahahaha! If it looks that way and cool then you’ve got the key to the city. If I’m not dressed up though I do tend to get around in whatever is laying on the floor.
TGW: Do you think style has anything to do with being a successful and magnetic performer?
KC: Yeah totally. Art is as much visual as it is sonic and to disregard our sense of sight when it comes to appreciating music is ridiculous. Unless of course you have your eyes closed ; ) I think that style is a wonderful area for creativity and to give people some visual cues to in the direction of what you’re trying to communicate musically.
I think that style is a wonderful area for creativity and to give people some visual cues in the direction of what you’re trying to communicate musically.
TGW: Classical training or self-taught guitar hero?
KC: Classical training for a looooong time. I started classical guitar when I was about 7 years old and kept doing it until I was 18. I often wanted to stop but something kept me trudging along through my exams. So glad I did. I actually look back on all that work very fondly. Even though It was kind of uncool (or at least I thought so at the time) I really did enjoy it.
TGW: When was the first time you ever let someone hear you sing?
KC: Wow! This really is a superb interview. One of my favourites ever. I think my mum encouraged me to sing for the first time in a choir she was in called ‘The Lotus Choir’. They were a bunch of strong feminist women who would sing at all kinds of events and the first time I got up with them was at one of those ‘Reclaim the Night’ shows. It was very scary and exciting. I was the only little dude allowed there and I got to sing a little solo. I felt very special in an odd way. They were all so wonderful to me.
Kim’s new album Weight_Falls is out now and you can catch him on his Weight_Falls Australian Album Tour throughout September and October. Tickets are on sale now from www.kimchurchill.com. See dates below;
Watch the video for ‘Secondhand Car’
Watch Kim Churchill’s ‘Like a Version’ cover of Queen Of The Stone Age’s ‘Make it wit chu’
Kim Churchill Australian Tour Dates
- THURSDAY 14 SEPTEMBER – CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE
- FRIDAY 15 SEPTEMBER – UNIBAR, WOLLONGONG
- SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER– STREET THEATRE, CANBERRA
- THURSDAY 21 SEPTEMBER – THE JACK, CAIRNS
- FRIDAY 22 SEPTEMBER – THE OFFICE, TOWNSVILLE
- SATURDAY 23 SEPTEMBER – TIMBERFEST, MACKAY
- FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER – CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE
- SATURDAY 30 SEPTEMBER – KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT
- SUNDAY 1 OCTOBER – SOOKI LOUNGE, BELGRAVE
- THURSDAY 5 OCTOBER – FAT CONTROLLER, ADELAIDE
- FRIDAY 6 OCTOBER – WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART
- SATURDAY 7 OCTOBER – ROYAL OAK, LAUNCESTON
- FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER – FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE FRONT LAWN, FREMANTLE
- SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER – PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY
- SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER – RED ROOM @ CLANCYS FISH PUB, DUNSBOROUGH
- FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER – THE FACTORY, SYDNEY
- THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER – SOLBAR, SUNSHINE COAST
- FRIDAY 27 OCTOBER – SOUNDLOUNGE, GOLD COAST
- SATURDAY 28 OCTOBER – THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE