Influenced by 90s alternative acts like Nirvana and PJ Harvey, singer-songwriter and producer Laura Lowther, aka KUČKA, started recording music on her parents’ computer after her family moved from Liverpool to Perth. It wasn’t until much later, when she was studying music production at university, that she became interested in the exploratory world of electronic music, which pushed her to experiment more in her songwriting. She uploaded her first self-titled EP on Bandcamp in 2012, a ghostly and idiosyncratic collection of songs that at times sounds a bit like if Björk made a lo-fi tape, followed later that year by a high-profile appearance on A$AP Rocky’s ‘Long Live A$AP’. She continued to refine and expand her approach and returned with her second EP Unconditional in 2015, while in 2019 she collaborated with the likes of Flume, SOPHIE, and Vince Staples in addition to releasing two of her own tracks, the equally compelling ‘Drowning’ and ‘Real’. Now she’s back with a new single titled ‘Contemplation’, perhaps her strongest outing yet, one that finds her teaming up with Vegyn (producer of Frank Ocean’s Blonde) for a sound that positions her somewhere in the uncanny valley of experimental music, hip-hop, and dreamy electropop. It’s a sign of an artist coming into her own and reaching for something bigger.
We caught up with KUČKA for this edition of our Artist Spotlight series, where we showcase artists and give them a chance to talk about their music.
How and when did you become interested in making music?
When I was about 16 I started using Garageband on my parents computer. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make my simple guitar and vocal recordings sound cool by adding various fx. It definitely changed the way I was writing.
Who are some of your influences, and what is about their music that speaks to you?
I listen to a lot of ambient music around the house. People like Laraaji. I guess it’s more to amplify the mood of the apartment more than anything. I like the environment it helps create, whenever we have people over or even our neighbors, it seems to help put people at ease and the conversation feels more fluid.
How would you describe your creative process?
I tend to do my best work in short bursts. I’m getting better at recognising when it’s worth going into the studio and when it’s better if I take some time out.
What was the inspiration for ‘Contemplation’?
I had been struggling with an illness for about 6 months and it was starting to wear me down both mentally and physically. I found relief in different forms of meditation. This could have been as simple as a visualisation, yoga or even writing music. I wrote the lyrics to ‘Contemplation’ from this place and it was very cathartic to me.
How was it like working with producer Vegyn on the track?
It was super fun, he initially sent me a folder with a bunch of different ideas in, and the synth melody for contemplation stood out immediately. A few months down the track we had an in person session at my studio to build the arrangement, that was super chill and I feel like we easily understood what was needed to finish the track.
You’ve collaborated with a wide range of artists over the years. What do you think makes for a good creative partnership?
I think trusting the other person’s vision is super important. You have to be able to work through uncomfortable stages together and trust that something good will come out the other side, even if you don’t quite hear it yet.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope it can help people access an imaginative, creative or healing part of themselves.
What are your plans for the near future?
About to film a music video for my next single. My wife is an incredible director so I’m really lucky that we get to create together!