Teaming up with Miles Williams and Steve Wilkinson, acclaimed singer Kymberley Kennedy has put out her latest EP Pacify. Tomatrax caught up with Kymberley and her band to ask a few questions.
What inspired you to become a musician?
Kymberley: I think it was probably my dad. Although he plays pretty much any instrument and I’m more an anti-musician in that I can’t play a thing. Bit awkward, really. That’s where these guys come in.
Miles: An unfortunately generic story of wanting to play an electric guitar when I was young because it looked cool so I asked for a guitar for my Birthday avoiding the common misconception that playing acoustic first is best. It was on the same Birthday that my uncle bought me a Jimi Hendrix album and I thought… yeah… I want some of that.
Steve: I ‘apparently’ used to spend hours sat by the record player listening to my mum’s records as a child, then would always be singing around the house, which prompted my mum to arrange for piano lessons for me when I was 7 years old – and it developed from there.
When did you write your first song?
Kymberley: That depends on your definition of a song! I’ve written some terrible “songs” in the past, but I really got into writing my own poetry at maybe 15 or 16 and I think it evolved into song-writing from there. Thankfully, we’re all songwriters now.
Miles: Awful flashbacks to two chord songs with love sick lyrics from a 14 year old.
Steve: I remember first writing raps and rimes over hip hop beats with a friend of mine in the early 90s, and we used to perform them to his family in their living room on a Saturday night. From there I then put a few chords together on the piano and wrote a song with a melody, but when I presented it to him, it wasn’t cool enough for him – so I confined those numbers to my bedroom at the time for my ears only to save some street cred J
You’ve just released your latest EP, how does it feel to put it out?
Kymberley: It feels pretty good. We’ve had some great feedback on the EP so far and it’s not even out yet. We were in the paper yesterday which was pretty awesome.
You gained a lot of critical acclaim for your previous work, did this make you feel any pressure when working on this EP?
Kymberley: If I thought about it then maybe, yeah, but ultimately I don’t really think about it. We just basically get together, work things out musically and get on with it.
Miles: It’s not something that crosses my mind personally… we just make what sounds good to us.
You’ve put out a series of EPs/singles, are there any plans for a full length album?
Kymberley: I had an album all ready to go a while back and due to some issues with a publisher it was put on hold for a little while. Since then, I’ve gone back, reworked some tracks, changed the track-list and re-energised myself. I think it’s worked out for the best, so yeah, a full length album will be out next year. Watch this space!
Your music covers some confronting and personal issues, is it hard to have these issues out and on show?
Kymberley: To be honest, I try to be subtle in that respect. People don’t tend to realise the true meaning of a song and that’s Okay. What a song means to me is often completely different to someone else so it’s not too difficult. I usually only reveal what the track is about, if it’s really personal, after it’s been out a while – after the dust has settled.
You recently performed a version of ‘Wicked Game’, what inspired you to cover Chris Isaac?
Kymberley: It’s just a great song. That’s it, really. We liked that it was timeless and me and the guys could put our own stamp on it.
You’ve been likened to band’s such as Portishead and Massive Attack, do you think that’s a fair call?
Kymberley: I think it’s fair… it’s also a major compliment, particularly because I’m a big fan of both bands!
Miles: I get a lot of comments after gigs saying what my guitar lines remind them of… these two bands are seldom mentioned but mentioned a lot when talking about the band overall. I think it’s hugely complimentary.
Your songs ‘Blackout’ and ‘All I wanted’ appear in the movie Syrup, what’s it like to have your music appear in a movie?
Kymberley: It’s actually really great! I actually had a preview of the movie to watch before it came out. The director sent it on to me. The exposure was amazing and it’s great to see old and new fans still talking about those songs specifically because of that movie. I have my own copy of the movie now and it’s a bit surreal hearing me warbling in the background whilst Hollywood A-Listers are speaking their dialogue.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Kymberley: Yeah, I kind of have to, more so to nit-pick than anything else. If you’re not going to listen to and critique your own music, why should you expect anybody to? Although, every time I’m in a car with Miles, he purposefully puts a track on, winds down the windows and shouts “we’ve got Kymberley Kennedy, here” just to embarrass me. I swear, I’ve wished for the ground to open up and swallow me countless times, now.
Miles: I’m hilarious.
What other music do you listen to?
Kymberley: I think my tastes are quite eclectic. I like to think of music as a buffet so I can have a bit of everything. Right now I’m discovering Sabrina Claudio and I love what JoJo has been doing. Also, we recently went to see London Grammar (they were amazing as expected), but we discovered a band called Lo Moon, who I’m now a fan of. You should check them out. Their front man sounds like Peter Gabriel.
Miles: That would just be everything from Miles Davis to Hendrix to the massive obsession I have at the moment of the XX
Steve: I’m a huge fan of Michael Jackson and you can’t not love, Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, Nile Rodgers with a bit of Genesis thrown in for good measure.
What do you have planned in 2018?
Kymberley: We’ll be promoting the album a lot with live shows and live sessions. The rest, you’ll have the wait and see!
Check out Kymberley Kennedy’s website to find out more!