Ever since the premiere of Manyara back in 2019 on Our Culture, the beloved Kendl, has been on our radar. To mark and celebrate the release of his new EP Dreamlike, Kendl joined us for an interview to talk about his latest release, his influences and how he has evolved over the years as an artist.
Firstly, how are you, what have you been up to since quarantine?
I’ve been well! It’s crazy to think this life lin lockdown has become the new normal. Like most people, though I’m just trying not to go mad, haha. It’s been good having the extra focus on music, but at the same time, it’s been challenging without a change of scenery for so long, which is important for my mind to keep creatively stimulated. Not all doom and gloom, though! It’s been great being able to spend more time with the fam (my better half and my dog Billie). I’ve jumped on the bread-making wagon while in iso. So gone are the days where a dense bun compromises my homemade burger. Other than that, I’ve just been doing my best to stay on top of my health mentally and physically.
Releasing new music during this time has been really good for my spirits. Initially, it felt like a weird time to be putting out new music and I wasn’t sure how to go about doing so, but it has helped me feel a lot less isolated connecting with people through this new music.
Dreamlike has been a long-awaited EP of yours, how did the idea start for it?
I bought a medium size upright piano, which was long-awaited! The melodic ideas all started there. I’ve been quite spellbound by the piano, it’s such a beautiful instrument and in turn, it has inspired the feel throughout the EP. There was a fair bit of daydreaming involved while writing the music, which I find is the best state of mind to be in while fishing for ideas. Hence the title.
You’ve gained a respected amount of recognition on platforms like Spotify, how has the digital age influence the way you mould and plan your releases?
I’m very grateful with how my music has been received and supported on these platforms.
It’s been a huge learning experience releasing and promoting my music over the years. As a self-managed and unsigned artist, I’ve found it to be quite overwhelming at times, especially around planning releases due to the many varying forms of advice out there on ‘how to build your career as an artist’. I found the internet can be a double-edged sword in that way. I’m always learning and always will be. Right now my attention is more focused on what’s most important and in my control.
It’s clear that you have evolved as an artist over time, how has your creative process changed over time?
I think back to when I put out my first set of releases and my journey since then. Navigating the music industry has had its share of pleasant and unpleasant experiences as well as a lot of change and growth in my personal life. All of which have had an impact on my sound and in turn, my creative approach. Over the past few years, I’ve become much more in tune with my feelings and who I am. There have been some barriers that I’ve had to overcome to get myself closer to sharing the music that best conveys my point of view.
In terms of process – one of the biggest changes has come from now having physical instrumentation to work with. I bought my first synthesizer as I was finishing up my debut EP. Since then I’ve been slowly acquiring various hardware synths and acoustic instruments. Having physical instruments that I can play and get hands-on with feels more intuitive for me.
In terms of your sound, what has influenced it the most over the years?
My sound is shaped partly by being a self-taught musician. Music has been an emotional vent for me and a therapy I’ve relied on since I was a kid. My mum was a music teacher, so there were often wind instruments on stands in the living room and a piano. I never really wanted to learn how to “play” an instrument growing up or read sheet, probably because of my ADD I was far too distracted. I was more interested in freely playing instruments and allowing my imagination to create sounds and textures I enjoyed. I feel like the lack of rules from being self-taught has given me this free flow approach, which just means I rely on my ears and being in tune with my sound palette and what does and doesn’t work musically.
Finally, what is next for you?
I’m planning to have another body of work finished by the end of the year as my pandemic goal. I’m keen to do some live studio sessions, too. Other than that, I plan to get out and going camping as soon as I’m allowed and making more bread.