Meet Melbourne's Kendl and his stirring new EP, Colours
The producer's new five-track EP is out now and includes collaborations with Tiger Darrow and Feelds.
Hailing from Melbourne, Kendl is an emerging name in Australia's bright electronic scene, gradually making moves both here and abroad with a flurry of high-tier singles and remixes. His sound is bold yet minimal, taking on a stripped-back house sound that at times, feels particularly reminiscent of names like Australian festival favourite Tourist, with percussive break-downs and pulsing, hypnotic bass lines captivating us across many of his gorgeous productions. It's a sound quite unique to Australia particularly in its restraint, choosing to avoid the flat-out heaters that Australia's house scene continually delivers (not that we're complaining) and electing to keep things more subdued and impactful. His new EP Colours summarises his work as a producer perfectly, combining woozy vocals from guest vocalists such as Feelds with these unobtrusive productions that balance on that delicate tightrope between mainstream house and left-field electro-pop, something we're always keen to see, particularly from Australia. Dive into the EP below, and get to know the producer and his EP a little better below that:
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Jesse Kendal and I write and produce music under the name Kendl. I grew up listening to a lot of rap and hip-hop (Nas, The Roots, Jurassic 5, Mos Def) and playing drums in a jazz band all throughout high school.
I loved hip-hop so much I got into DJ’ing. I remember early high school days searching the internet for turntables I wanted to buy for when I had the money. I ended up buying my first pair of Techniques and a mixer when I was 18 and would mix my favourite tunes in my room and did so for years. At 21 I ended up getting gigs in clubs around Melbourne and securing residencies. After a couple of years of DJ’ing, I found it wasn’t satisfying my creative urges enough, so I bought Ableton and started making my own beats and uploading them to Soundcloud. I’d always wanted to write my own music; I knew I had a lot to give. The idea that I could achieve what I wanted to in music always seemed a bit out of reach or unrealistic at the time.
Then one day I had that “what am I doing!” moment. So I quit my job as a carpenter and studied audio production and sound engineering followed by a year-long Ableton production course. After producing music for the last 5 years I have uncovered a huge passion for sound. I’m always exploring new ways to evoke strong feelings and emotions through my music with the use of interesting sounds that really capture a particular emotion.
What kinda tunes we talkin’?
I’ve been writing mostly dance music with a mix of stripped back minimal stuff. The styles I draw a lot of my inspiration from are hip hop, future garage, minimal tech and experimental electronic dance music. My music teeters on the edge of mainstream and left-of-centre. I think it’s pretty eclectic. Although my sound can be somewhat off-kilter, my aim is to make my music accessible.
I’ve always steered towards an atmospheric beat driven style of music. Emotive melodies and chord progressions supporting intricate percussion. I love using foley and location recordings. They always make for really interesting percussion and textures if you use them in the right way. It also instils human presence in the music which I think is really important if you want to connect with it on a deeper level.
When I have the full day to write I’m up at 6:30am. I’ll get my emailing out of the way before I meditate for 15 mins or sit outside with a coffee to do some breathing exercises to make a start at 8:30am. Routine is pretty important to me on days that I write to get myself in the right frame of mind, and if it’s just not happening in the studio, I’ll venture out to a record store and dig for sounds.
My process is a bit messy. There are so many different angles I take when I start writing a track. Sometimes I like to start from the very beginning and finish writing the track once I reach the end. I usually do this when I feel like focusing on the change of sound over time and how it will affect the listener and for instrumentals. Otherwise, if I have a strong idea for a track, I’ll write the A, B and C sections and make room to collaborate with a vocalist. I usually start by digging through my bank of sounds to trigger some ideas if I don’t already have one. I love making really intricate percussive patterns using sounds that are really interesting to me. Space and energy are my two best friends. I really like sampling foley recordings off vinyl sound libraries from the 70’s and 80’s. There’s just so much history and character in them and keeps everything sounding as interesting original as possible.
I write music that I connect with on an emotional level and if I can do that I know that listeners will connect with it in the same way, which is the most important thing to me. It’s the main reason I write music. If my music can make a positive change in someone’s life, then it’s all worth it.
Can you tell us about your new EP, Colours?
The Colours EP is a collection of 5 unique musical expressions that I wrote over the past two years of experimenting with my songwriting and productions. The last two years have been filled with so much change in my personal life with friends and family and also a big turning point in my music. I worked away from home all of 2016. I would fly to a remote island just outside of Australia in the middle of nowhere, and I worked as a maintenance carpenter for three weeks. I would then fly home for three weeks before repeating the cycle. I did this to have time to focus on my music when I was home and pay the bills. The year away definitely took its toll and there were many ups and downs. I think that’s why Colours has a wave of so many different emotions and each track tells such a different story.
The five tracks on my Colours EP are my five favourites over the last couple of years.
Any shows coming up?
I actually just played my last show I had booked in at the Penny Black, playing alongside Hemm, Elkkle and Otious. A couple of weeks ago I played a small festival in Brisbane, which was pretty cool. It was great to be hit up to play interstate after releasing only a few singles.
What’s the rest of the year have in store?
I’m really looking forward to having more time in the studio and collaborating with artists I’ve connected with over the last year.
Where can we hear more of your music?
All of my official Kendl releases you can stream on Spotify and all other major media outlets. Keep your eyes and ears on my SoundCloud too as I have some tunes I’ll be throwing up as freebies soon.