Ahead of the release of his new record Weight_Falls this Friday, we caught up with Australian singer-songwriter Kim Churchill, to discuss the journey of the album, making tough decisions and touring Europe and the UK this Autumn…
The new album is hitting our shores next week, and we understand that it took some time before you settled on a final piece, having scrapped 18 months of work before busting this out in a week! What made you make this brave move and was it a done there and then on the spot?
I think it was something I was gently coming to terms with for quite some time. Something about the other material just didn’t feel quite and I’d put a lot of work into trying to shake that feeling. It came to me quite suddenly. Somewhere in between a breakdown and an epiphany. The odd sense of relief I felt was quickly replaced with this wonderful drive and motivation that lasted a couple of weeks. It almost felt like enlightenment! Naturally, it faded, but I’m glad it stuck around so I could get the new album written in time.
What did you not like about the previous recording, and did anyone else have any input in the decision to bin it?
I always have a circle of close friends and acquaintances to help and give advice. But even many of those we’re dancing around the truth. I think it’s the kind of brutal decision only I could have made. I can’t really explain what wasn’t right about the other album. Its great in every way. That’s why it was so hard to come to terms with my feelings of it not being right. I think perhaps, in anything, it felt slightly too ‘grand’.
Did all of the original tracks go, or did any make the cut for the final piece?
One piece called ‘Rosemary’ made the cut, though it was re-recorded. It’s a song from the perspective of an old man who fell in love with my Grandmother in the last few weeks of their lives. She knew his mind was beginning to malfunction but went along with it. They shared a few really nice weeks together. He’d sit by her side as often as he could. It was a really cool thing to be a fly on the wall for, and I definitely knew I’d bring that song across.
The album is titled Weight_Falls – is this a reference to dropping the weight of the first effort? And does the underscore represent anything in particular?
Yes exactly: Once making the decision to drop that other album I felt like a huge weight had fallen away and that I could breath and move freely again. When I decide to rewrite the album in a week I knew a lot of labels and people in my global team would be looking in concerned. I wanted to make the demo’s sound a bit nicer that my normal, dodgy phone recordings. I downloaded Garage Band and collided with a beautiful world of digital inspiration. I started chopping up my guitar parts, adding weird beats and synth bass and layering loads of vocals. It paved the way for the production styles we used. When I’d export a song from Garage Band it would arrive in computer accompanied with lots of odd symbols and numbers. I put the underscore in as a little ‘tip of that hat’ to how much that digital world inspired and guided me.
In 2009 you were named Australia’s National Youth Folk Artist of the Year – clearly you’ve won the hearts of your fellow countrymen and now it seems you’re starting to cause a stir over here in Europe too! How do you feel the UK and European audiences take to your work, and how excited are you about releasing the new album here?
It’s always been a dream to play shows throughout Europe. My mum is British and I was brought up on a healthy diet of Brit music. I always wanted to get over there and have a career. It’s really exciting and wonderful to think it’s starting to happen! The food at petrol stations is also incredible. Makes for healthy touring ;)
You’ll also be touring the UK and Europe in the coming months – do crowds differ over here compared to home shows?
Not too much. People who come to see live music are normally either music lovers and attentive or drunk and rowdy but enjoying it all the same. I love both kinds!
Which track from the new album are you most looking forward to playing live?
I really like playing the new single ‘Second Hand Car’ live. I’ve always had a ‘one man band’ approach – kick and snare drum, guitar, vocals, harmonica and tambourine. Now I’m joined onstage by two drummers who also sing harmonies and do some keys/synth stuff as well. That particular song has a wonderful beat to play live and all the drums are amazing to be surrounded by. I can’t wait to play that one every night :)
And finally, it’s going to be pretty cold when you visit us in November! How will you be preparing for our slightly less exotic weather!?
As an Australian I think I will have to come under prepared by default. We’re terrible at doing anything about weather. I still remember oggling at friend pulling out an umbrella for the rain a few years ago, ‘genius!’ I thought. I don’t know, I’ll probably bring a jacket and some fingerless gloves. Maybe a few multi-vitamins.
Thanks for having me guys!
Weight_Falls is released in the UK this Friday on September 15th and Kim’s tour dates can be found by heading over to www.kimchurchill.com