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Interview: Australian singer/songwriter Kanishk releases debut EP (Includes interview)

Showcasing warm finger-picking techniques and stripped back vocals – as well as sublime songwriting – the Cairns-based artist’s impressive and confident-sounding debut displays a maturity beyond his tender years.

Produced by Mark Myers (Leanne Tennant, Brealyn Sheehan) and mastered by Grammy award-winning engineer William Bowden (Gotye), the five-track release explores acoustic folk, indie-rock and blues.

“Things have been going well,” enthuses Kanishk. “I’m pretty stoked with the response the EP’s been getting. Now that it’s out there and I’ve got some more time on my hands, I’ve been able to write some new material too.”

“The EP has five tracks and it revolves primarily around the folk genre, with hints of folk rock as well,” he continues, going into more detail about his first solo venture. “When I was writing the tracks I was heavily influenced by nature.

“For example, the song ‘Dripping’ is written about the lush landscape and rain in North Queensland. The track ‘Ripple’ was initially going to be titled ‘Ripple in the Water,’ but I decided to leave the latter part for the name of the EP itself as it represented nature as a universal theme.”

How did Mark Myers end up on board? What did he bring to the table? “I was put in contact with Mark by Cairns musician Leanne Tennant… She sent him my music and we went from there.

“Mark was great to work with in the studio. We worked together to determine the direction of each track and how we wanted to vary them from each other. Overall, Mark’s insight helped immensely in polishing the tracks.”

The lead-off single from In the Water is “Trance” and I asked the rising star to tell me a little more about it. “I wrote ‘Trance’ based around an encounter I had on a train in Melbourne,” he recalls. “I struck up a conversation with someone I hadn’t met before about the book they were reading.

“We chatted for a while and then the conversation ended and I started to daydream out the window. When I looked back, she had already got off the train. So the whole song is a bit of a mockery of how I daydream too much and zone out at times when I probably shouldn’t.”

Which of the other tracks particularly stand out for their composer? “It’s hard to pick favourites but I was quite pleased with how ‘Ripple’ turned out… In the studio we decided to keep the production very minimal by just doubling the guitars and adding cello and violin.

“I think the simplicity of the track highlights the vulnerabilities it aims to portray. The mood is exactly how I wanted the song to be and it complements the lyrics.”

“I would define my style as folk,” muses Kanishk, when asked about the genres he flits between. “However, the EP ranges from smooth and mellow to upbeat and catchy. When making it, I chose five songs that would incorporate a range of moods to essentially evoke different emotions.

“Looking back, I’m pretty happy with the songs I chose because it gives the record diversity while still staying true to my sound.”

Kanishk: At one with nature

Kanishk: At one with nature
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Discussing the subjects tackled on the EP and what he likes to write about in general, the former YouTube vlogger, who was born in the southern city of Melbourne, states:

“The majority of the songs are written about encounters I’ve had with people, so one of the underlying themes or messages is to make the most of the people around you, whether it be friends, family, partners or strangers.

“Most of the songs on the EP explore human interaction and the idea that every encounter you have is temporary. As I spoke about earlier, I also like to write about nature. I think this is because I do a lot of songwriting outdoors in secluded areas, so it tends to come through in what I write.”

What are Kanishk’s plans for the rest of 2016 and beyond? Does he hope to release a full-length album at some point? “I’ve got a few gigs lined up in Cairns and I’m hoping to get back into posting covers and originals online on a regular basis,” he replies.

“At the end of the year I’ll be touring the east coast of Australia as well, which I’m really excited about. If all goes well I’d love to get back in the studio and release more music in the near future.”

In the Water is out now.

For more information, go to Kanishk’s official Facebook page.

His official YouTube page is here.

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