Having played with The Lost Valentinos, Mercy Arms, Fashion Launches Rocket Launches, and now with Jack Ladder Kirin J Callinan is what you might call and adaptable artist, even a sonic contortionist.
His work, either solo or with any of the aforementioned bands, has always seen him pushing the boundaries of traditional instrumentation through his idiosyncratic use of effects pedals and sound in general.
However, Kirin has been using all the artistic flexibility he can muster these past few days as he has faced the creative constraints of recording his debut solo record live in three nights at The Russian Coachman, and tonight is the last show.
My interest aroused by his ambition amongst other things I talked to Kirin over the phone a few weeks back about the upcoming shows as well as what went on with Jack Ladder on The Wolfmother tour.
Music Feeds: So what made you want to record your debut solo record as a live album?
Kirin J Callinan: Basically it was time for me to do my solo record, and it didn’t make sense for me to go into a studio and record an album because as you know, recording music and performing music are two very different art forms. I love going into a studio and I’m very proud of a lot of stuff I’ve done in the studio, but with my solo stuff it’s only ever existed in a live context.
MF: Was it partly to limit what you could do, stop you getting carried away you might say?
KC: I think you’re right in the sense that I’d go into the studio and never stop recording and it would become impossible to replicate live. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem though; I have absolutely no problem with trying to record a masterpiece and doing something totally different live. I’m sure Bohemian Rhapsody never would have been created if Queen ever thought they had to replicate it exactly the same live, you know.
But with the live album it was very much borne out of the fact that I want to be able to make the record and it is what is and I can let it go. I’ve done a lot of recordings in the past that’ve never seen the light of day, simply because I’ve never let go of them.
MF: So no overdubs at all?
KC: Actually Jono Ma is going to mix it with me, and we’ve set ourselves this rule that if we do want to do some overdubs, to make sure that the overdubs are essential, we’ll have to do another live show where we play the recording through the P.A. and I have to perform the overdubs live and re-record the whole thing.
MF: You’ve been doing solo shows for a while now, and every time I see you you’re trying something different. Are these album shows then a culmination of those experiments?
KC: I guess so. I don’t even know myself how I’m going to do the songs, I haven’t thought about it too much yet I kind of want to keep it free. But in the end of the day, these are the ones getting recorded so these are going to be the ones that become the definitive versions. I’ve already promised myself no matter what happens it’s going to be released as my first record. I don’t even mind if it’s terrible. A lot of my favourite artists have terrible records before they have good ones. That’ll be the test of bravery you know, letting it go.
MF: What made you want to do the show at The Russian Coachman?
KC: I really didn’t want to do the album in a venue as such. I made a short list of places I wanted to do it in, St Mary’s cathedral being at the top of the list, but I wasn’t catholic enough for them. But I’m not Russian but the Coachmen’s let me come in there.
MF: I’ve never heard of the place…
KC: Well it’s not a venue, and I guess I have to be careful of what I say, but basically it’s a Russian mafia hangout. It’s pretty dodgy, and I knew it was going to be quite dodgy to get involved with them from the beginning, but the place just had too much weight to not do it there.
I’m not sure what it sounds like, it could sound awful, but it’s not really important, it’s more about everything else that goes with it, you know hopefully some of that weight and history translates into the recording.
MF: How has it been working with them so far?
When I first went into the Coachman to speak to them about playing there, I went there and they were locked up. I called this number they had outside and this guy answered the phone parked in his car, just sitting out the front of the venue. This big Russian guy. So he got out and let me in to have a look around and I asked him how much to get the space for one night, to which he replied $10,000. So I just laughed. I looked around a little more and was like, ‘look I don’t have $10,000, how about $300 for 3 nights’ and he said ‘$250 for 2.’ And that’s how the deal came about.
MF: So aside from the album you’ve also just finished doing The Wolfmother tour.
We’ve just been doing The Wolfmother tour. It’s all just drum machines, like this old 1969 1970 drum machine that was hand built by the guy who started Roland. We found one actually, wrapped in a tarp, nothing else around it, that was all there was. And we had a long conversation after we found it and played with it and it was amazing, do we take it. And we took it and now it’s the backbone of our band.
MF: How did that go over with the Wolfmother fans?
KC: They hated it. We knew that was going to happen, but that said, it’s a little bit different from saying beforehand they’re going to hate it, to being on stage and having them throwing things at you and screaming fuck off we hate you.
But it was cool, it was pretty funny, I had a chocolate bar thrown at me, it was delicious.
Be sure to come down tonight October 21st to The Russian Coachman 763 Bourke St Redfern, otherwise for more information please visit http://www.myspace.com/kirinjcallinan