Image credit: kimchurchill.com | Kim Churchill is described as one of “Australia’s most exciting young guitarists."
Kim Churchill's One-Man Music Show
by Kayla Isomura - Cariboo Hill Secondary Mar 22, 2011
Since taking his homeland Australia by storm in 2009 with his folksy-blues music, 20-year-old Kim Churchill has been travelling non-stop and has plans to tour Japan, Canada and England this year. Churchill has gained experience performing at huge festivals in the “land down under” over the past couple of years where he's had a lot of success, including winning the National Youth Folk Artist of the Year award. He is said to be one of “Australia’s most exciting young guitarists” and Youthink was lucky enough to catch up with the ambitious one-man show after his concerts in Whistler and Vancouver to chat about his start in music, his musical influences and what are the two things he never travels without.
YT: You started playing guitar at four years old. Who gave you the guitar and did you have a pretty musical family growing up? KC: I did, well I sort of had a musical family. My mum was really musical and she was the one that gave me the guitar when I was four. I had a very creative family; both my parents were very creative and so they’re always quite keen for me to be expressing myself in some way you know. The big one was my mum. She didn’t know actually how to play the guitar; she played the piano and she was a singer but she went away, got six months of guitar lessons and came back and taught me what she learnt, so that was kind of where it all started.
YT: You list Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin as some of your musical influences. How did you become exposed to these artists? KC: That was my dad. Well, Dylan was kind of my own discovery. … I sort of got into Dylan when I was about 14 and I have no idea why a 14-year-old would get into Bob Dylan. I sort of wouldn’t think there are too many that do but I think probably cause of the music that my dad had been showing me over my childhood was older stuff. There was a lot of stuff from like the 60’s and 70’s I was listening to, so I sort of discovered Dylan myself, but the other things, the other music… Zeppelin definitely was one that dad [was] always listening to and always kind of pushing them on me saying, “You’ll love these guys,” and I sort of always thought they were cool but it was dad’s music, you know?
YT: You said that you found your “musical feet” at the age of 16. Is that the point when you decided that you were going to pursue music as a career? KC: No, I think I was honestly always going to pursue music as a career. …When I was about six years old to 16, I played classical guitar and so I never performed live or anything like that. I’d do my classical guitar exams and practice; I’d just practice the hours, that was all it was really. So when I was 16, I sort of moved away from that and started performing live and started for the first time realizing how I could make music a job. So I guess if anything, 16 is [when I learned] how I was going to do it.
YT: Why did you decide to perform as a one-man show and how long did it take to perfect your performance? KC: I think that’s just how it started, you know? When I finished high school, I just, I left. I left to play music... I came from a really small town; there wasn’t really anybody to be in a band with, so I left on my own and ever since then I’ve just still been doing it on my own. I would like to get a band one day but in terms of perfecting it, I don’t think I have [laughs] and one day, I hope to perfect it but I expect that will be well down the track.
YT: While your songs are mellow and relaxing, they still sound upbeat and inspiring. How would you describe your music? KC: Probably none of those things to be honest [laughs]. If anything, they’re soundscapes. They’re like... sonic art is the one I’ve been using to describe it; it’s like lots of layers ‘cause it’s a one-man band show. There’s different drums on the feet, there’s lots of different lines, there’s a guitar that [does] different things, and different sounds that the guitar can make, different effect pedals can do all kinds of things, so if anything it’s very improvisational. The live show everything just happens as I feel like it, like I want it to happen that night; it’s not the same, ever. It’s pretty upbeat; I mean there’s a kick-drum going most of the time. So it’s pretty sort of drivey music I guess: somewhere in between folk and rock.
YT: Have you had any surreal moments in your young career so far? KC: Surreal moments… everything’s pretty surreal [chuckles]. It’s all kind of wild and crazy. Surreal moments just keep happening constantly, like one second you’re snowboarding on Whistler Mountain, and you know, like barely 14 hours later you’re playing at a gig on Vancouver Island. You know, a day after that, you’re over somewhere in America and then back in Australia and stuff.
YT: Your self-titled debut album was released in Canada on March 1st! What are your hopes for the album here? KC: I just think, you know, that it can get out to as many people as possible. I think I’m really happy with the record label Indica. You know, I don’t have any worries about it being in all the right stores and being in all the right places. I think I’m going to gig into it really heavily here to promote the album as much as I can and get it out to as many people as possible.
YT: Being so far from your native home, Australia, do you ever get homesick? KC: Yeah, in a way but I feel very much at home in Canada; it’s such a beautiful place you know? I find I get a lot more homesick in America or in Japan or in other places, but Canada sort of feels like a home away from home; and also, you know back in Australia I live in the back of a campervan and travel constantly; I don’t actually have a fixed address there either, so I don’t really call any one place in particular home, so it’s kind of hard to get homesick for that reason as well.
YT: Is there anything you never travel without? KC: I’ve got a leather jacket that I’ve had for a long time and I’d be pretty devastated if I was ever somewhere without that. Also my guitar: that’s probably my most favourite thing in the world; the thing that’s the most important to me. And no matter where I go, where I’m playing gigs or whether I’m travelling for other reasons or whatever, you know, I’ll always have that with me, so probably… my guitar and my leather jacket are the two things… I mean you can’t really have many things when you’re living out of a backpack. [laughs]. So something to keep warm and something to make money [laughs] basically what I’d pack with me.
YT: Okay, well when not performing, I understand that surfing is a fun hobby of yours. So where are your favourite locations to surf? KC: Um, well I’ve got lots of locations that I’d really like to surf. You know, I’d love to surf in Mexico, I’d love to surf Indonesia and Costa Rica and stuff. Um, back at home, in Australia, I mean there’s thousands of beaches and there’s probably four or five hundred places within, from the top to the bottom of the East Coast Australia that I stop at on a regular basis and I couldn’t say that I have more of an attachment to any of them then others.
YT: And how do you hope your music and career will evolve in the next few years? KC: Honestly I have no idea. I like the idea of growing in profile; I like the idea of getting my music out to as many people as I possibly can. I wouldn’t say I’ve got any expectations or any particular hopes but I think we’ll wait and see. Whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll be exciting and you know I’ll just keep working hard at what I’m doing.
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