Feature

Kim Churchill talks his first band, his favourite Disney movie and plans to visit Garden Route ahead of his SA tour

With only two weeks left to go until he performs at Lush Festival, I caught up with Australian singer Kim Churchill to chat a little bit about Disney movies and the appeal of Jeffrey’s Bay.

You’ve travelled extensively, how would you say this has influenced your music?

I guess what I’ve learnt over the time is that the more I travel, the more I allow the places that I’m travelling to, to kind of channel through me, the better my music becomes because the more things it entails, the more sort of colours and textures, the more  kind of unique different things I can draw on. It’s kinda become an almost cyclical thing where writing songs and performing them allows me to travel but then travel is the thing that inspires me to write songs, so it works quite neatly.

Okay so its like a feedback loop?

It’s a feedback loop, yeah exactly!

I read in an interview online that you started the first rock band in your school and that it was called Soggy Marshmallow. What inspired that name?

That’s serious research, oh my god. Yes, we were called Soggy Marshmallow. Um, I don’t know I mean we were 10 years old, so it seemed like a good idea. I still think it’s one of the best band names ever.

That’s what I was gonna say, like would you consider reuniting because I think everyone would be keen to see a band called Soggy Marshmallow. Well, I would be really keen to watch a band called Soggy Marshmallow play.

There was a big falling out in the Soggy Marshmallows and I just can’t see us ever healing and becoming a band again but maybe I’ll start another band and just call it the soggy marshmallows and see if anybody from my year five music class…

It’s definitely a good idea because I really like the name, it’s very unique.

I can’t believe you found that! I don’t know where you found that, it’s incredible.

The internet! So, you’re a multi-instrumentalist but what would you say is your favourite instrument to play?

I love playing harmonica because I can put it in my pocket, and you know if somebody asks me to get up and jam on stage, I normally take the harmonica up to jam and it’s something that… well maybe singing but I don’t know if that really counts. But yeah harmonica is just wonderful, it’s a really emotive instrument, you kinda bend the notes through creating all these pressures and bending all these muscles in your throat that you would normally use to talk or to express yourself verbally in some way or another, so the harmonica I think is kinda a beautiful extension of that. It’s like a new way to do it that’s cutting and kind of ferocious and I love playing it for that reason.

That’s amazing and its also cool that you keep a harmonica in your pocket for spontaneous music sessions.

It just fits so easily in there.

I think that’s probably what it was made for, they sat down and thought easily transportable music instrument… pocket-sized!

Yeah, I think they used to call it something, in the beginning some kind of nature of it was more around the pocket or something. Yeah exactly and that convenience is one of the reasons I love it so much.

I saw that with your previous album you spent 18 months working on it and then you didn’t like it and you wrote a whole new one in a week. I know you’re about to release your new EP, tell me a bit about the creative process behind your new EP, I suppose it wasn’t as dramatic as the previous one?

It wasn’t as turbulent, but probably a larger endeavour actually. It’s part of a four EP collection and each EP is recorded in a different country, with a different producer and they all kind of go together, aw this 27 song collection of music so it’s kind of a large undertaking, the nw EP. But yeah, less turbulent, I mean what I really learnt from that whole process throwing out all those songs and throwing out all of that work was to not try too hard. It was a real lesson to me in terms of not tensing up, not frightening, not becoming too stringent and obsessed with the outcome of something because creativity just doesn’t work that way and that’s what I did. I was really kind of stressed with that album that I threw out and I was creating music in a very tense, almost sort of fearful frame of mind and the music sucked and I had to throw it out and start again. I think there was a certain hangover of that in my last album to a degree, the one that I wrote in a week, it was quite liberating to do that but I was still kind of getting through this kind of journey to understand what life is about. Its not about cruising and not working hard, but it’s about just surrendering to the realities of your life and what’s happening and whatever you’re creating at whatever point it is and I’ve kind of settled into that now so the new music is much more enjoyable for me to play and for me to listen to and yeah it was less turbulent in its creation.

It’s really cool that you could acknowledge that and just let it go and start something new because I think a lot of people would try and hang onto that, it takes a lot of guts to be like “nope this is not me” and sort of try something new.

Are you going to visit Jeffrey’s Bay when you come here?

Yeah I am, yeah I’ve got myself about 8 days before the festivals.

That’s nice!

Yeah so I’m gonna do the Cape Town, kinda fly into Cape Town, drive up the Garden Route and I don’t know how quickly I should do the Garden Route but I feel like I want to do it quickly so I can get to J-bay but at the same time I’ve heard its one of the most beautiful drives.

You posted a video on Facebook of you singing ‘Colours Of The Wind” from Pocahontas. Is Pocahontas your favourite Disney movie?

Probably not, no. It’s funny your bring this up because I’m literally looking at the lyrics in front of me, I’ve just been writing them out the last few days because I learnt the song and then I forgot it so I had to write it down again and learn it again. Ah maybe my favourite Disney film is Mulan.

Okay but that is the best Disney movie.

Do you think so as well?

Yes, I fully agree with that.

Is there any other Disney movie song you’d like to cover for fun, because I think you should maybe cover “Let It Go” from Frozen because you could potentially tap into the fanbase of kids obsessed with Frozen, which could be a lucrative opportunity.

I’m writing it down right now. Yeah that would go viral!

It really would!

I did watch Frozen, it’s kind of ridiculous the way that film has just… But yeah is there another Disney song I wanna learn… well interesting because I started thinking I should learn a lot of Disney songs because I just got so much enjoyment out of learning “Colours Of The Wind” but then like I tried to play a couple of others and they’re often kind of theatrical in a way that I can’t quite pull off. You know the lyrics of the “Colours Of The Wind”, it could be a Neil Young song, you know what I mean?

Yeah.

Whereas like most of the songs from the Mulan soundtrack, the only time it sounds good when I sing them is drunk with my friends and 1 o-clock in the morning. It can’t sound good, if I try and play it on a guitar it just sounds like I’m being pretentious.

LUSH – A Festival In Clarens – Presented by KykNET and Sunday Times

18, 19 & 20 April 2019

Location: Noah’s Cheese Farm, Clarens

Tickets on sale from https://www.howler.co.za/lushclarens