Featured Artist: Kirklandd
One of the most exciting artists to come out of Canberra recently has got to be hip-hop/rap legend Kirklandd. Since releasing his first track featuring Genesis Owusu in 2016, Kirklandd has made a significant impact on the local scene, helping pave the way for a new generation of hip-hop in our nation's capital.
With his 4-date 'Knowbody' single tour set to kick off next week at Melbourne's Gasometer Hotel, we caught up with the rising star to chat about Canberra's flourishing hip-hop scene, the new single, and what's on the horizon.
You grew up and currently live in Canberra, if you had to describe the hip-hop scene in Canberra to someone who's never been before, how would you describe it?
I'd describe it as diverse, supportive and unique. I came up in the Canberra hip hop scene about three years ago, and I'll never forget how welcomed I felt when I first began performing. There are so many fire acts here - Jedbrii, Genesis Owusu & Weirdogvng to name a few - and hip hop represents a really unique pocket in Canberra's live music culture. I'm excited to push that forward with shows that aim to draw fans of indie, rock and electronic music too, and show them what hip hop can offer audiences live.
Tell us about your latest single, 'Knowbody'. Where did the inspiration come from for this track?
Knowbody came from the whirlwind week I had when I was about to play Groovin the Moo. I was dealing with the loss of a friend, and I was trying to make myself feel better leading up to our set on the weekend. In the middle of this, my producer Cam sent me a wild energetic beat loop - the flute sample you hear in the track - and I began to write the song I needed to make to gain clarity on things. Knowbody's a celebration of finding the right ways to make yourself feel better; it's upbeat, vibey, but there's a dope depth of meaning to it if you go looking for it.
You made an appearance at Groovin' the moo this year, how did it feel playing to such a big crowd?
Man, that was wild. The whole day was a bit surreal. I've been working towards playing Groovin for years now, and to be given the opportunity to play on the main stage by Unearthed was a massive vibe. It was our first time playing at a festival, and since then my drummer Joshy B and I have refined our performance for shows of that scale. Coming in to Spilt Milk, we're bringing audiences something pretty damn lit.
What are 5 tracks you can't get enough of right now?
Daamn, okay: DaBaby - 'Intro', Masked Wolf - 'Astronaut in the Ocean', SiR - 'You Can't Save Me', August 08 - 'Spiral', and Jack Harlow - 'Heavy Hitter'.
Let's talk about your freshly released single 'Knowbody', can you walk us through the songwriting process that lead to its creation?
Knowbody was a quick but carefully executed song as far as writing. I wrote the first demo to the song over the course of two weeks - every day in that period I came up with different flows and melodies until I landed on the right ones, but I still wasn't totally set on the hook. When I was in Melbourne for a show, I linked up with Dylan Joel. We had a dope chat about life, music and the delicate balance of self-identity and social media. I rapped Dyl the song a couple of times, and he picked out a line in the second verse - 'til I get to know myself, I don't know nobody' - and I realised that summed up everything I was trying to communicate in the song. I wrote some fresh melodies with those lyrics, found the chorus, and realised I'd landed on the anthem of self-discovery I was trying to make all along. And it's catchy as hell.
You're heading on tour at the end of the month to support Knowbody, playing shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra as well as performing at Canberra's Spilt Milk in November. What can fans expect from your performances?
Man, a serious level up in our performance. Since our last tour for Impulse, Josh and I have played two festivals, a heap of interstate shows, and have refined our whole approach to performing. Our set's become this beautiful journey of musicality, hype and storytelling, and I'm so excited for our fans in Melbourne and Sydney to see how far we've come in the past few months... and we have the strongest supports we've ever had for a tour, period. Jaydean, P-Unique, Lanstan, Clarissa Mei, Groovy Daughter & Weirdogvng are all bringing their unique energy to these shows, and I'm so excited to perform alongside them. And we're taking over Spilt Milk in between. Big, big vibes are ahead.
Kirkland's single tour kicks off on Wednesday 30 Oct in Melbourne at The Gasometer Hotel, followed by shows at Sydney's Oxford Art Factory Gallery and Canberra's Transit Bar on Saturday 7 Dec. Check out full tour details below.
KIRKLANDD - THE KNOWBODY SINGLE TOUR
Wed 30 Oct 2019 | The Gasometer Hotel, VIC | GET TICKETS
Thu 28 Nov 2019 | OAF Gallery, NSW | GET TICKETS
Sat 7 Dec 2019 | Transit Bar, ACT | GET TICKETS