Love Letter To A Record: Kit Hepburn On Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become. 

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Kit Hepburn – Radiohead, In Rainbows (2007)

It’s hazy late autumn. I’m looking out the stained bus window, watching the leaves change as I glide through the tiny roads, hills and fields that carry me home from school. I’m listening to the intricately layered guitar melodies of ‘Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi’ on my faded iPod nano as I hold my phone, waiting for a reply. I’m 15 years old, and I’m in love for the first time. A memory.

I lived in a tiny town in regional Victoria, so I spent a lot of time travelling solo to and from school. I had heard a few Radiohead songs, but In Rainbows was their first album that I deep dived into.

From its cover art to its rich ambience and lush guitar tones, I became totally immersed in the warmth and romance of that album, just as I was with that feeling of first, teenage love.

I had always been a shy kid. I was an only child and had gone to a few different primary schools, never really knowing where I fit. I had a lot to express, but I didn’t really know how to yet.

That year though, things were starting to change. I was beginning to slowly come out of my shell.

I’d been struggling with some health issues the first couple years of high school, and following a particularly emotionally intense period, I was ready for a radical change.

I was in drama class one day when I saw a poster up for the high school play. I took it as an omen and decided to take the plunge.

I’m not sure whether it was through getting older, or through the brazen confidence that a crush can bring; but suddenly, my whole world was beginning to change. I was performing for the first time on stage and teaching myself to play the piano on my friend’s old upright.

‘Videotape’, the closing track on In Rainbows, was the first song I ever learned.

I remember that time so vividly. A time of awakening and coming of age. Of blind leaps and golden leaves, all memories that are forever tied to that album for me.

Musically, the work of Radiohead has both influenced and inspired me – with In Rainbows being the album that propelled me forward on my own journey as a musician.

Kit Hepburn’s latest release is his hazy new single left alone, an entirely self-produced track that draws upon ambient soundscapes and R&B elements, and feels particularly representative of the shutdown the world experienced in 2020 due to COVID-19. Watch the video, here.

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