Keelan Mak
Keelan Mak | Credit: Jess Brohier

Love Letter to a Record: Keelan Mak on Matt Corby’s ‘Telluric’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter To A Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share stories about how the music they love has influenced their lives. Here, Keelan Mak raises a glass to Matty Corby’s 2016 album, Telluric.

Keelan Mak was announced as [PIAS] Australia’s latest signing in May. The Naarm/Melbourne alt-pop artist has since released the singles ‘Forever Ago’ and ‘Boy Oh Boy’. Of the latter, which was released in mid-July, Mak said, “Writing it made me feel empowered and sexy. I liked the idea of owning the torture of it all.”

Keelan Mak on Matt Corby’s ‘Telluric’

Dear Telluric,

My journey with Matt started before your inception, so I feel like I should acknowledge that first. I was 14 at the time, on school holidays at the beach with my family. We still used radio as our main avenue for finding new music. I remember hearing ‘Brother’ for the first time and having this immediate curiosity to the vocal performance and writing. It felt like something new, something I hadn’t heard before – growing up with pop, R&B and pub rock, ‘Brother’ was a different experience.

I was just picking up a guitar at the time and this track had really sent me into this zone of folk music. I would perform at school assembly regularly and it became pretty apparent that I’d be covering a Matt Corby song. I did the thing you do when you’re finding yourself musically, copying his vibrato and falsetto, basically trying whatever I could to sound exactly like him.

It was a while after that he released Telluric and I had the chance to sink my teeth into a body of work from him that was longer than a four track EP. The production, writing and performance was mind-blowing. I was like, “Guys, he like played like every instrument on this record.” I was in awe for all of 2016.

At this point, I was 18 and studying music and really starting to learn things and incorporate them into my writing and production. My drive to uni was around 50 minutes long. I would put the Telluric CD into my car stereo and listen from start to finish there and back, five days a week. Around that time I wrote and released a song called ‘Control’ that’s still on my Soundcloud. A lot of people would say I sounded like Matt with that song. Very funny as I was very much trying my hardest to sound like him.

Matt Corby – ‘Monday’

‘Monday’ was a revelation. I owned a big looper machine at the time and this reaffirmed my looping needs. I tried so hard to replicate that song again and again. Looking back on it now, there was definitely some recording magic going on and I was never going to get it spot-on, but I tried either way.

‘Belly Side Up’, the bass line will always have my heart along with the behind-the-beat drums. ‘Knife Edge’, a downwards key change? Unheard of, and so seamless. Honestly life altering; shattering, even.

Seven years later and I could still listen to Telluric start to finish and find something new. It’s a funny thought considering I make electronic pop and this neo-soul/pop rock/indie record could influence me so much, but it was honestly such a foundation to my musicality at such an important time in my development.

And to Matt… you’re a one-of-a-kind musician and I’ve grown with your music over the years. Thank you.

  • Much Love
  • KM

Keelan Mak – ‘Boy Oh Boy’

Further Reading

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