Kllo Interview: "There’s no use creating when you’re not giving yourself the space to think clearly"
Kllo's debut album Backwater is out now through Good Manners/Caroline Australia.
Talk about Australian electronic music with anyone within the industry, and I’m almost positive the name Kllo will be brought up as one of the best. No longer are they that little secret you’re so desperately itching to tell each and every one of your friends about, instead, with their delicate fusion of electro-pop the Melbourne duo appear set to take on the world. The past 12-24 months has been a triumphant one for the Good Manners darlings. Making an impression is everything and in 2016, boy did they make a big one. Off the back of the stellar Walls To Build and the incredible Bolide (which we can confirm, is still a tune twelve months later), their 2016 EP Well Worn turned a lot of heads and it’s really no surprise as we sit here nearly twelve months on that we are still talking about how freaking good that EP is. But, if you thought we’d heard the best of Kllo, then you best strap yourself in because their debut album Backwater – out now – is a truly unique body of work.
Wrapped in a masterful lesson on production by Simon Lam that twists and shifts its way through various electronic elements (think Bonobo, Jamie xx, Tourist all packaged into one) and armed with a steady stream of that absolute gorgeous and graciously intimate vocal work from vocalist Chloe Kaul, Backwater is a twelve-track genre-melding escapade that continues to showcase their ascension as one of the country's most exciting electronic acts. With a stretch of headline tour dates kicking off next month, we were lucky enough to field some questions onto the Melbourne duo. Covering everything from their hugely successful 12-24 months in music to the challenges faced when creating Backwater, both Chloe and Simon gave us some great insight into the project, the album and what they have planned for their upcoming tour dates. Check it out, along with their debut album and the full run of forthcoming tour dates below.
Firstly, congratulations on the release of your debut album Backwater, from start to finish it sounds incredible. How does it feel to have the record finally out there for the world to listen too?
Thank you! It’s pretty surreal. We’ve kept this release to ourselves for the last year and a half so it’s a weight off our shoulders to finally get to share it with everyone. It means we can move on and start on the next chapter.
Having released two EPs and now an album, you both have had an exciting and successful past 12 - 24 months in music not just locally but also internationally. With music being quite a hectic industry sometimes, what are some things you both do when you’re not immersed in the Kllo project to keep things fresh?
We are both focusing on other musical projects at the moment. We both have solo projects that we write in, just so that we don’t over commit ourselves in Kllo. We need our other outlets so that we can fulfil other sides of us and keep sane.
You both have been amongst the music industry for a few years now, Simon in particular with the various projects you have been associated with. Do you take elements of those projects (i.e. Nearly Oratorio and Couture) and bring them into the Kllo project?
Those other projects were a great place to experiment and create and refine techniques. There’s definitely a lot that carries over, like the way I sample and combine sounds. But there are more things that I leave behind in those projects than I bring into Kllo. I think I got what I needed out of them and I don’t need to revisit those ideas in Kllo. The best part about new collaborations is creating your own philosophy and own set of rules, and getting our fix for a different sound in this project.
Creating an album can at times be a challenging and long process. What were some of the challenges you faced (if any) when creating Backwater?
The biggest challenge would have been knowing when a song is finished. We always have access to a computer, so we can easily reinvent a song, delete parts and tweak sounds. Sometimes we can get obsessed with taking a song to a certain level that we fall down the rabbit hole and lose perception. We found that we always seem to come back to the initial ideas. If you’re spending too much time on a song, you’ve either got to take a break from it, or the song is just not as good as you first thought it was.
Has there been anything you’ve learnt in the creation of Backwater that you can apply for future releases?
Let things breathe, otherwise we over complicate it for ourselves. There’s no use creating when you’re not giving yourself the space to think clearly and see things for how they really are.
In previous interviews, you’ve stated that you draw inspiration from the likes of Caribou and Four Tet. What were the inspirations behind Backwater and its creation?
Both those artists definitely inspired some of the first tracks writing for the album, particularly Caribou’s other project, Daphni. Later in the writing process, Frank Ocean’s Blonde played a big part, we listened to that a lot while driving on tour in the UK and really got deep into it. Jacques Greene and Kelela worked their way into our writing, as always. James Blake’s The Colour In Everything pushed the more minimal tracks, as well as a few others that didn’t make it to the final track listing.
No doubt you have been playing certain songs from Backwater in your live show already, but I’m guessing on your new tour a lot of the album will transpire into the live show. What is being done to translate the album into a live setting, and what should fans expect from your upcoming dates?
Our live show is going to be a bit more daring this time around. We are mostly playing songs from the LP and really focusing on emphasising the strongest sections of these songs. We are both going to play as much as we can live, but there’s only so much we can do with the two of us. We are hoping for an upgraded light show to help us create more of a mood on stage, as we want to ride through a variety of emotions.
I know you both have spent some time overseas, so I’m interested in how you now see the Australian music scene in comparison to the scenes in the US and Europe. Are there any huge differences?
There are differences yes. We feel as though the US have a sound, the UK have a sound and Australia is combining those sounds together. Being so geographically far away from these places, we hear things last and we take little bits from each place.
Music is subjective, we all like and love different things. If there was one thing that you would like fans and listeners to take from your music, in particular your debut record, what would it be?
We hope people just really like the songs that are in there, at the centre of each track. Production elements are things that will always change like fashion, but we hope people connect with the chords, melody and lyrics. Those are the parts we spend the most time thinking about.
Tour Dates (click on the poster for tickets):
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