Interview :: kyu
March 7th 2012
It’s been eighteen months since Sydney has tasted the sweet, sweet honey produced by busy bee duo Kyu (Freya Berkhout and Alyx Dennison). They’ve been mixing and creating in their hive of wonder and now it’s time to pollinate our ears once more. Freya took five to sit down with Zoe and have a chat about their new album, her other projects and Africa. Yeah, Africa.
FBi: You guys are in the process of making your second album “yuk”, how’s it going?
kyu: It’s going really well, we’re finishing up the mixing so we’re nearly there. It’s been a while in the making because initially, we were writing an EP but then had enough material for an album and decided to complete another record.
What’s the driving force behind creating the second album? Experimenting and creating a new sound or pleasing fans of the first album? Both?
I guess it’s a balance between both of those things. On the one hand, it has ties to the last record, but on the other, it’s quite a departure in that what we really wanted to create was happy music. The first album is super intense and always required a lot of energy and emotion performing live, but this time around we wanted to make music that just made us happy and was fun to play and listen to. We also wanted to move away from the watery, reverby sound of the first record, so the vocals are more dry and direct, the lyrics are more audible and the music is generally more poppy.
You guys aren’t touring anymore, what is it like to be a studio band?
For us, it’s great. We’re planning on doing one Sydney launch for this album, but that’ll be a one-off (and really spectacular, hopefully!). It means that Alyx and I can both work on other projects as well, as touring can suck a lot of time and energy out of you. It’s been really nice. We both hope to keep doing it.
So what are these other projects?
Well, Alyx is working on some solo stuff, as well as working a bit with FBi radio & she’s also at uni. I have just finished scoring a short film with Danny Keig, which is due out this year. I’ve also started a new band with my brother, called Gnome. We’re in the process of writing an EP and hope to start touring soon. It’s a bit more electronic, glitchy and accessible than kyü, so it’s been nice to have been able to pursue other passions – we both have lots.
You’ve just been in Africa! How was it?
Yes! It was awesome. Really tough travelling, and that always reminds you of how lucky we are to have popped up in a developed country. However, the people are pretty incredible, with an optimism that is often baffling because of the adversity they have to overcome – poverty, disease, lack of food and education. But the landscape is absolutely incredible. Rwanda was a real highlight, so inspiring, they’ve made such progress since the genocide and really look to the future. Zanzibar was also amazing, a mixing pot of African, Middle-Eastern and Indian cultures. Very, very cool.
Was it similar to your trip to India in that it inspired your music?
I think I definitely expected to be affected and inspired by music there, but I was surprised that there wasn’t a huge musical culture in East Africa. Apparently, you go to East Africa for the landscape and West Africa for the music. So at least I know where to go looking!
What influences on the first album still apply for the second record?
The artists that always inspire us – Björk, Animal Collective – are still there, but we really wanted to make sure this record was sonically different from the first, so we’ve been exploring more glitchiness and rawness, fewer polished sounds and a bit more grit.
What would you tell your fans who are awaiting the new album to look forward to?
I’d say it’s hopefully better developed and more mature than the last time around. We’ve worked really hard and are really proud and eager to release it, so basically, we just hope they like it!
What: new record ‘yuk’
Where: On shelves at good record stores in July/August, released through Popfrenzy