'All In The Family'
Nina Simone, after too many champagnes is swirling her feather boa, Joni Mitchell alone in her bedroom, makes a perfect mistake, Kurt Cobain singing 'Come as you are' in the shower, gets soap in his mouth...
Shacked up in a 1740s farmhouse in Bucks County PA, with old microphones, a marxophone, a salty old guitar from a Virginian shipwreck and a Fender Rhodes piano, The Kin are making a record. By the side of a fire in the old library, Isaac and Thorry Koren are working with producer Nic Hard (The Bravery, Jesse Malin, Aberdeen City) to record...well, whatever comes out. Big epic images, dense harmonies and haunting melodies drench their sound and their songs tell quirky human stories that often leave you with a question. The brothers, with no fear of revealing their personal truth, dare to use sentiment that often feels radical, yet sincere.
The Kin is a partnership of two brothers from the small town of Adelaide, Australia, who have found their way to New York. They drive around in a 1977 VW bus, known as ‘Daisy’ that has no heat. They have Scottish blood and play to a highland marching style of rhythms. Thorry plays the guitar with a knee-jerk drive that forms the backbone of the music, while Isaac lays down swirling dynamics with a Rhodes piano. Their voices are compelling individually; Thorry hits the angelic high notes and gravelly low notes, while Isaac croons softly one moment, then sings out like a town crier. But you don't fully understand The Kin until you hear them sing together. They start out in unison, trade off leads and slam into bracing harmonies. They change the subject when you talk of style and influences, then talk your ear off about their musical heroes.
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up
and how many still factor into your music today? [Isaac and Thorry Koren] - "Our mum used to be blasting Janis Joplin as we would come home from school and our dad used to pump 'Dark Side of the moon' every Saturday morning at 9am. They were old hippies and we never quite gave them a proper backlash. The first time we sung together was jamming out to Prince before we quite teenagers."
"In high school, Nirvana was the life changing sound - it ripped through our ears like a signifyer that the world was listening with us. From there we started to leave the mainstream and get into Jazz - ending up at 'A Love Supreme', Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bill Evans, and vocalists such as Donny Hathaway, Nina Simone, and Stevie Wonder have all played a huge roll in shaping our feelings towards what it is to sing. Currently, we have been inspired by Sigur Ros, Imogen Heap, Lior, Aberdeen City, Damien Rice, Ray Lamontagne and Philip Glass."
"The older influences are the ones that are really the deepest ingrained in our songwriting - it's the influence that comes out without strong reference that we seek - but I believe that it all comes from the call and responses of your life - so we may be wailing from the place we first heard Janis and we don't even know it....or dad's Pink Floyd keeps coming to our door and twisting our metaphors into ghosts.....who knows?"
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of
buying your new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "Music to live by - music for your human."
Your album title 'Rise and Fall' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it
has more of a personal meaning to you?! "It is an album that tells human stories - the human story is one of rising and falling, the longwaves of our culture and of our own lives - in it we call an end to War as a site of struggle on a world sense and personal sense, we call out the story of Abraham and its ironic stage today, we name a notion of Love that is more didactic than pillow talk - but rather a referrence to that which brings us close to life - the reason why we get up in the morning - hope. I think this album is not just about hope, but truly about struggle - the rising and the falling. We only wanted to paint on the mirror.... to paint a picture."
And realizing that the bands name most likely originates from the fact
you are brothers, what else could it so easily have been had that name not
won out?! "We started out as 'The Harlequin'. WE beleived in the 'fool' as the character to tempt the world into a state of reflection and irony - to best tell a story to the king without losing his head! The Voyeur, the stranger, the outsider - however, this country did not react well to it and we found ourselves explaining the name as if it was some kind of cultural manifesto , but iit was more often received as a bad attempt at romance !!- we were heading to rehearsal one day and we said 'we are going to rehearse the Kin' - we looked at each other with a relieved look and said - 'that's it!'....we have been the Kin for 3 years now. The Kin means more than brotherhood - it means clan. It reminds us of our scottish and Norwegian and Afghan heritage - all clansmen in different ways. There is a tribal sense to it - a return to the humanity of life that it signals to us. It is also a Mayan name for 'year'....and those guys were badass!"
How easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant,
wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical
wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "It is impossible - and we lose as soon as we try! we had struggled in the past at finding ourselves and the sound , trying to ride the wave of what was current , it always backfired for the first time we feel that our sound is truly us----- whether anyone likes it or not."
Please tell us more about a couple of the songs on this new release that
are the most personal to you ... and why? "That is definitely a hard one! Each song on this album made it thru cause it had its own relevance --- in telling the story
great divide is a song of hope that was given birth from a dark time in our lives, it speaks of the almost impossible passage."
Is it true that your backing band now has a drummer that plays with no
sticks involved? Are we talking purposeful one-upmanship here re: Def
Leppard, perhaps?! "The guy is a freak - we played all the instruments on the album (except strings) and we were praying for a drummer who could help re create what we had played - he was there in the subway and we asked no questions - it is a match made in heaven - he is a dangerous dude! We respect his art and his career - he has so much ahead of him. In speaking of his instrument, the thing I like the most is that he is STRAPPED into it - so he is PART of his instrument!"
Being Australian, what are you hoping to achieve here in the States that
you couldn't back home? "A real fanbase for touring for extended periods of time - this is not physically possible back home - the number of people in NYC on a Tuesday afternoon is spread out across the size of the former Soviet f**king Union!!"
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!)
pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why?! "'99 Red Balloons'!! Cos it sucks and changed the world and no one knows quite why!"
Lastly, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "Yes! Penguins !!! Cant believe they survive thru winter like that !!!! That'd put hairs on your chest! The biggest problem for penguins is the melting ice. They may end up changing their image to adapt."
Thanx again for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for
the future "Thank you for your time !! Cheers, Isaac and Thorry."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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