Kim Churchill will return tomorrow with a brand new single, a warm and uplifting piece of folk dubbed ‘After The Sun’. And as it happens, the tune marks our first lick of a tasty new cross-continental musical experiment that saw Kim write and record four separate EPs across four different countries.
The ambitious new project, which is nothing short of mind-boggling in scale, features songs that tap into the people and environments of some of his favourite parts of the world — Germany, Canada, the UK and (naturally) his own land down under — in collaboration with local artists and producers.
‘After The Sun’, for instance, has been lifted from the forthcoming German EP. Written and recorded in Berlin, the track was also notably co-produced by house and hip-hop producer, Vincent Kottkamp.
To celebrate its release, we sat down with KC to find out more about his crazy new musical experiment and its surprising results. Read what he had to say below, and prepare your ears for ‘After The Sun’ to land tomorrow!
Music Feeds: This sounds like such an intriguing experiment! Was there anything about the results that were unexpected or that really surprised you?
Kim Churchill: More than anything I think the continuity has been a bit of a shock. Recording 4 EP’s with 4 different producers in 4 different countries was a bit of a leap into the unknown and I initially worried about how the hell the whole thing would come together as a coherent body of work. As I’ve gone through the first three EPs, lots of wonderful little coincidences and synchronicities keep occurring. For example, there’s a beautiful reference to surfing in a large bit of graffiti on the wall on an abandoned chemical factory in Berlin, where we shot an acoustic video. Even the places I thought would be the most contradictory to the aesthetics of my art and songwriting have offered a wonderful sense of belonging and it’s all just felt really ‘right’. I guess I didn’t think it would come together so smoothly. I’m glad I had a bit of trust and took the leap.
MF: Can you try to explain the way the ‘sound’ of each EP changed depending on the location?
KC: Well, the recording techniques of the producers were just so different. In Berlin, Vincent Kottkamp was bringing all these German house sounds and using hip-hop inspired beats and sounds. Then, on Vancouver Island in Canada, Colin Stewart was old analogue gear and huge 70’s late reverbs that took up half the studio. He loved the old gear and recorded to tape and we spent hours making these weird psychedelic beds. But beyond that, my main ‘objective’ with this project was to see how these different places and cultures could seep into my songwriting and performance style. I left a lot of the final lyrics to be written once I was in the locations and tried to exist in a very open and judgement free mindset. I really wanted to allow everything I was experiencing and living within to fold its way into the songs. In hindsight I really feel like it worked. Each EP of work takes me right back to those cities and places.
MF: Your first single ‘After The Sun’ was written in Berlin, can you explain some of the ways the city worked itself into the DNA of that song?
KC: The idea first started when I was sitting in the shade of a tree, slowly watching as the world turned and the sun hit me. I thought it was an incredible idea that the sun could come to me as the world turned. In Berlin, with the other writers who worked on ‘After the Sun’, we mused on the way nature was evidently returning and swallowing lots of old structures in the city. Similarly, the free, artistic nature of the graffiti everywhere, sneaking its way onto the bleak, post-war architecture. It gave us feelings of wonder at how these natural, beautiful things occur in the world. It seems a lot of the time nature, just like sunlight, comes and goes in a very gentle and undisturbed way. Be it a tree breaking through an old abandoned building, or a beautiful, painted elephant rearing up on the side of an apartment building, these beautiful things seem to come and go with complete ease. That really inspired the ideas of not chasing beauty and light that ‘After the Sun’ deals with. Surrendering to the way that days come and go; and allowing them each to pass without too much strain or thought or worry.
MF: What was the thought process behind working with a house/hip-hop producer like Vincent Kottkamp on the Berlin project?
KC: I had worked with Vincent in a couple of co-writing sessions in 2018 and just really felt a synergy with him. He came from such different world but somehow knew exactly what to do, what to sample and how to work a beautiful, natural sound around my acoustic guitar and voice. After those sessions I just really wanted to go back and work with him again. I think the risk of such a different move also excited me – and it fit with this project so well.
MF: What are some of the main things you’ve learned or taken away from this whole experience?
KC: I’ve really learnt to trust in creative situations that are bringing me joy and a sense of flow. Not worrying or over thinking whether the art I’m creating is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and just searching and riding the processes that are bringing me joy. Also, because it is such a large body of work, I haven’t had time to think too much on the quality of what I’m doing, and this has been really liberating. I’ve just been enjoying making the music, enjoying the process of finalising everything and ending up with a sense of contentment that each song is what it is.
Kim Churchill’s new single ‘After The Sun’ is out tomorrow. Follow him on Spotify here.