Pop,Producer,Singer Songwriter,Songwriter

Blog interview: KALI

How are you?

I’m good thanks Del – thanks for taking the time to speak with me.

Congratulations on the release of “In My Head…(Again)” how does it feel?

I always find release days strange to be honest – after the long process of writing something personal to you, recording and then finally releasing into the world it can be daunting – but I am so happy with the reception ‘In My Head (Again…) has had. People seem to relate which is all I want as a songwriter. 

You are a singer/songwriter from London, how did it all begin for 

I know that I was properly obsessed with Elvis’ ‘Teddy Bear’ when I was about 3, apparently I used to demand it played really loud and the car windows down…. but  I guess it began when I got my first guitar when I was 8 or 9, and a few years later I remember writing songs, forming bands and just becoming obsessed with guitar music.  My dad is a massive influence and gave me a great musical education, whilst other kids my age were listening to Mcfly I was listening to old Stones records, Elvis or The Strokes debut. 

What did you listen to growing up?

I know that the first album I ever bought was Good Charlotte – The Young and Hopeless, but I don’t want to be judged on that alone! I was lucky to grow up in the golden age for guitar music, with bands like The Libertines, Bloc Party, Radiohead, The Strokes, Mystery Jets getting a lot of airtime. I only started to get into a bit of electronic stuff like Burial, Bonobo, Four Tet, Mount Kimbie and Nicholas Jaar in my late teens. I’ve always been interested in production of electronic music and how to incorporate that with songwriting. 

You had a debut live show at the Underbelly in Hoxton, what was that 

It felt like a homecoming gig, the room was packed with the mates I grew up with, everyone getting stuck in and having a good time. There was a good audience and the feedback was great for a debut – all about the next gig being bigger and better now.

“In My Head” has quite a story behind it. How did it begin?

It began as an acoustic track based around a midwest emo style guitar hook and the opening of line of ‘can you pass the wine?’. It took a while to grow from there and the released version sounds completely different to how the song started. I think there is an old acoustic version on my instagram somewhere actually! 

What was the easiest and hardest part of putting it together?

I had a clear idea of the emotional feeling I wanted to capture in the song but that’s far easier said than done. The instrumentation and arrangement was the hardest part – I’ve got about four completely different versions on my laptop – but once I played around with the hip-hop influenced drums and the analog inspired synths the rest came together pretty easily. 

You are currently working on an EP for release for later this 
year how’s it going?

Yeah, it is going good, thanks. 
I’m pushing myself to collaborate with other artists on my new stuff and get out of my comfort zone musically. There is such a talented community of young musicians in London that inspire me to keep pushing the boundaries as a songwriter.
That being said….I’m happiest sitting in my room, writing songs on an acoustic but that won’t get you very far.

What artists are getting you excited at the moment?

I’ve loved Black Country, New Roads album ‘For The First Time’, the creativity on the record is awesome, reminds me of early Arcade Fire/American Football/Midwest Emo bands but heavier…
Jacob Collier is also untouchable at the moment – Genius is a term chucked around too often, but it’s completely just here. 
They are nothing new but I’ve been loving Idles’ ‘Ultra Mono’ since it was released, the whole album grabs you, snarling and spitting from start to finish.
Again, nothing new, but I’ve been digging through West African music recently, Damon Albarn and the Malian Musicians 2002 Album ‘Mali Music’ is exceptional. 

2020 was a time to reflect for a lot of people, what was one thing you 
learned about yourself?

2020 was a time to reflect for a lot of people, what was one thing you 
learned about yourself?

That’s a tough question.
I do think I’ve found myself a bit as a person in the past year. I’ve always bounced around chasing different goals, burning the candle at both ends.  I’d say that 2020 has given me the time and space to focus on my music and that has been been pretty life affirming thing. 

COVID had a big impact on the creative industry as a whole what has kept you motivated?

Motivation is such a tough thing as an artist. It comes and goes before you know it.  I think it’s important for young, emerging artists to enjoy the process and not get too caught up in objectives or end results. 
Ultimately the songs I write tend to come to me without too much intent or purpose, so I don’t really have the struggle of sitting down and trying to make something. If I like a lyric or a start of song then I’ll be hooked from there. 

What’s next for you?

I have the follow up single ‘Show Me Your Best Side’ coming out on Friday the 19th of March. A more fragile B-side to ‘In My Head (Again…)’. 
Then supporting Ben Ottewell from Gomez at the Amersham Arms in Camberwell on the 22nd May, which is a sweet slot to get offered after the debut Hoxton gig.
Then keep enjoying the journey, form a band, collaborate more and getting some airtime on 6 Music / BBC Introducing is a big goal!

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