Kirklandd is a Canberra-based artist who has just dropped a brand new short-film for his hit single RISE, off the back of his headline national tour. We spoke to him about the new visuals, the national tour and more.
OTC: First of all, how did the single come about?
KIRKLANDD: RISE first came about in October 2015, when I began a late night session with Cam Bluff. Cam was running me through some pretty different ideas and played those pounding drum rolls you hear in the track, and I was really taken by the intensity of those drums. We crafted the eerie sounds of the siren, strings and keys around those drum rolls, and I started writing that crazy second verse flow, conceiving the idea for the track.
At the time we started production, I was heavily into Raury’s first album, so a lot of the concept was influenced by his lyricism exploring infatuation, greed, and temptation. RISE is my stance against these elements of the genre that are constantly enforced to the youth, and my difficulty in denying myself of this allure when I was younger and my passion for Hip-Hop was peaking.
You toured the single across Australia late last year off the back of the release of RISE, how was the reception to your debut national tour?
The response to the shows was sick. I put on the tour because I was genuinely so excited to share the project Cam and I had spent an entire year working on. RISE is a track that I feel stands out because it blends so many different genre influences, with Mondecreen’s crazy chorus sections, and the coolest aspect of the tour was showing people this sound for the first time with the live drum version.
My drummer, Josh, made those shows what they are, and it was great to see the reaction from crowds outside of our hometown for the first time. He’s from a punk rock band originally so we create a pretty unique energy together live… and playing Revs in Melbourne was especially lit.
You’ve now dropped a stunning short-film for RISE, what was the concept behind the clip and what made you want to create a short film in comparison to a regular film clip?
I really felt the track explored some subliminal, deeper concepts that are easy to miss on a first listen. The track comes at you in a really impactful, uplifting way, and for the film I wanted to have a more patient, intricate approach to things, so we went for the longer ‘film’ style as oppose to a generic rap clip.
The concept behind the video was entering a vision in my minds-eye that sees me fight off these images of temptation and allure, represented by the shadowy villain (played by George from Mondecreen), who gives a creepy as shit performance with those black contacts. He portrays the power that this allure possesses, and its symbols in the girl, the watch, the car; basically things that appear attractive and lavish, and what comes of me when I give in to this allure.
You’re working with a host of accomplished producers (such as Cam Bluff), how’d you manage to link up with these producers and what’s the experience of working together been like?
It’s been a phenomenal experience working with people like Cam from such an early stage. Cam especially has guided my sound for the past two years and he makes what we do so diverse musically.
We first linked up when I sent him a low-key demo to a Kaytranada instrumental a couple of years back, and (by some miracle), he saw potential in my flow and we linked up from there. Since then we’ve developed a really alternative, eclectic style together, blending my golden age flow and his dynamic style in drawing from so many different genres. What we make is Hip-Hop, first and foremost, but it draws from so many other genres that we’re always aiming to defy expectation.
This is the first single from your upcoming EP, what can we expect from the project?
The aim is always to make what you yourself would love listening to, so we’re hoping to achieve just that. The challenge for me is that I fuck with so many different artists in different genres that it’s hard to stick with a single tone for one project. Some of the tracks on the EP draw influence from artists like Thundercat and Mick Jenkins, but at the same time others draw from Kaytranada and early disco sounds.
There’s definitely an alternative tone to it given this mix, and I’m excited by what we’ve managed to craft so far. It’s definitely going to push Australian Hip-Hop into more alternative, genre-bending turf that I haven’t really seen done yet. RISE gives you a feel for that alternative sound, and we’re going to release the opening track of the project (with a sweet live choir) to give a further taste of the EP very, very soon. I think Hip-Hop heads are going to vibe with it most.
WATCH THE RISE FILM BELOW