Perth based producer Laura Jane Lowther’s futuristic musical output as KUČKA has quickly evolved from a solo bedroom based project, to a nationally touring three piece band with a record deal – being the first signing for Inertia music’s new imprint “Midnight Features”.
Check out their performance below, then scroll down for a quick interview detailing their live performance setup and the KUČKA story so far.
Heads up Australia: Catch KUČKA live on tour around the country throughout May & June 2015 – dates here.
So tell who is KUČKA – what’s the story so far?
Laura: We are KUČKA, an electronic pop act from Perth with some experimental influences.
We’ll be releasing an EP next year with Midnight Feature, which is a new imprint run by Inertia. At the moment its only us on the label, but I’m sure they will be signing more people soon – they’re focusing on pop acts with a more experimental edge.
The KUČKA project started probably about four years ago. I was just experimenting with recording on Ableton Live. I’d been mixing up a bunch of different percussive sounds, like recording lots of tibetan bowls and using it make really droney, loopy and ambient music with lots of vocal layering. Then, the more music I wrote, the better I got at structuring songs – which over time has helped KUČKA evolve to a much more pop focused project. I think the pop focus is purely happened because I got better at writing – before I was like “ooops… sounds are happening!! okay cool, ummm maybe I’ll turn this up?”.
It did evolve from an experimental background though and I’m still choosing to incorporate a lot of those more experimental sounds and textures which I think gives KUČKA a good point of interest compared to a lot of other electronic music – like recording organic material still. I think its really import that your music has unique elements that no one else has – like you’re not just creating music from this one sample pack which has been used for 100 other tunes on Soundcloud.
And how did KUČKA evolve from a solo bedroom project to a 3-piece live act?
Jake: Well, we all met at Whoppa – which is a uni in WA. We were all doing the music tech and composition course.
Laura: We had another drummer in the band first, but he was in so many projects we needed to replace him and get someone else. We had an EP launch in just one week, so it needed to happen pretty quick. I’d seen Katie around and I was aware that she did electronic music and then Jake and I were walking through uni one day and saw her and I said to him “I think I’ll just ask that girl to be in the band” and jake was like “Wait, do you know her?” I was like “no its fine”, and so as we were approaching her we were having this argument, then I go up to Katie and just said straight up “Hey do you wanna be in a band with us – do you reckon that would be cool?” she was just little bit confused…
Katie: I was in the year below them and had kinda heard Laura’s music. I just remember I was on my laptop playing with music and Laura came up and said “Oh… so you’re a drummer right?”, I was like “Nah”, so then she just asked “Do you reckon you could be?” and I was like “Um yeah..? yeah!”. So then we had a rehearsal where we ended up kinda getting drunk and going to a party and by the end of the night we all decided “yeah cool this could work…”. At that point Laura told me “The EP launch is on friday!”, and I was like “yeahhhhh okay”.
Laura: I was like ‘Here is like 10 tracks can you learn them all.”
Katie: But then I think that’s the only way I can really do stuff like that – just have a super short deadline and be forced to do it.
Talk us through your live setup – what’s everyone’s role?
Laura: The lineup works really well now. Katie comes from a really rhythm orientated background with Catlips, so when I show her a beat she get’s it immediately – she just knows. Even if her interpretation isn’t exactly the beat I had on the recording, it’s the same vibe – so thats cool. Then with the synths Jake always manages to find the the perfect synth tones. Again they’re not always exactly the same as the recordings though, so the live show does become a little more improvised and varied from than the recordings.
Katie: Yeah, I think because we are all used to playing live quite a bit in a band sense, and doing solos, we always kind of change up a little bit. Which is like our live shows always kind of changing and like taking away instruments like condensing our set up, and doing a bunch of different things, so it is kind of good because you play different gigs in different projects, and you see what works well live so it kind helps.
Jake: In the live show we are constantly changing the set up, at one stage Laura even had a keytar (laughs), but i think we have finally settled on what is working well. On stage I’m using the Moog Slim Phatty which is doing all the bass and sub bass tones, then I’ve got a delay pedal which helps me get some cool textural sounds. I normally have a Push controller as well, which is connected to another laptop to trigger off samples.
Laura: I run MIDI from my Live on my laptop to Jake’s laptop, which syncs the tempo. This allows us to have the visuals in sync and interacting with the music – it’s all synced up so when I trigger something, the visuals change at the exact time. We also send a click to Katie so she can easily stay in time as well.
Katie: Yeah, we used to all have a click track in our monitor, but we have now gotten to the point nowwhere we have a bit more experience and the tracks are more structured, so really I just need a click now to hold down the rhythm end of things. My live set up is still flexible enough to improvise quite a bit – I improvise some live effects for the shows just to keep it interesting and if we decide before a show we want some extra samples in there I can incorporate them really easily.
Thanks to Katie, Jake and Laura of KUČKA for dropping by Liveschool – keep up with their sounds at their soundcloud.
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