“It was about making something that really felt coherent as a record” – Kerala Dust release new longplayer
A groove-laden soundtrack for a movie never made, this record feels like the most comprehensive review of Kerala Dust‘s varying influences and inspirations, merged into something wholly unique.
Starting with guitar-driven blues-house on “Night, Bell (Arizona)” and moving firmly into the club on “Evening Redness”, the record then rides through a heady collage of bolero (Amsterdam), techno (Reflected) and 60s funk-balladry (Phoebe). The result of a year and a half’s work, the record’s most surprising aspect could well be that these varying musical tones all manage to feel part of a large, inter-connected musical narrative.
trndmsk: How long did it take you to produce the album?
Kerala Dust: About a year and a half in total! It was about making something that really felt coherent as a record, so I still have a lot of material left from that process which didn’t make it because in terms of the narrative, it just didn’t fit, even though I might have been happy with those songs individually. One of those songs, ‘Penelope’, is actually getting released on Mira’s 43 Katzen Tanzen aufm Tisch compilation next month.
How did you choose the title of the LP? Is there a special meaning behind it?
I wanted something that felt cinematic – we actually had the record cover before the title. What I want with song or LP titles or record covers is something that feels like it’s part of a larger narrative – something that invites the listener in to uncover some new type of story. Also, there seemed to be alot of darkness around this spring when I finished the record, and I wanted to present something that counterbalanced that in some way. Although I actually feel like we’re gonna be coming out of this darkness soon – looking forward to next year.
What inspired you to produce the tracks and the LP?
Relationships, little encounters, playing in nightclubs to people who are there to escape. And then watching people escape things all the time in everyday life. There’s a lot of silent running happening, people not addressing issues or addressing them in the wrong way. Spiritual bypass.
And then quite a lot of inspiration came from the books I was reading during the time; Don DeLillo’s ‘Americana’, Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, Roberto Bolaño’s ‘2666’. Especially Campbell’s book on the idea that almost every story follows the same pattern, and that deep in our collective human subconscious, there are myths and narratives that are universal somehow.
Where and how did you produce the tracks?
Most of the record was produced in Zürich, Switzerland and Berlin. A few of the songs feature friends of mine, such as Night Bell, on which my friend Henry Watts played the riff. The process is completely different with every tune, but the best bits of music usually happen late at night in autumn and winter, alone. The whole record was mixed together with my friend Aaron Ahrends at his studio on the Holzmarkt in Berlin.
How was the feedback so far?
Satisfying I think, but my feeling of success happens when I feel like I managed to say something very personal about how I see a certain situation or emotion, or person, with a piece of music. And you’re alone in your studio, and it’s your secret. You feel like you’ve just imprinted a part of your soul into an object – you finally feel real. When you really get that feeling, it’s the best drug in the world. Once it comes to releasing those songs, in some way they don’t belong to me anymore. Which is beautiful, and lets me move on to the next songs.
How and why did you choose Viken Arman’s Denature?
Viken and I have been friends for three or four years, and we have similar creative visions and ambitions. The whole label has been amazing in supporting some of the crazier bits of the production process!
What’s up next after the release? Any plans and projects?
We went to Spain in late September and shot the band playing the whole album live, among the landscapes where they filmed the Sergio Leone Westerns, Lawrence of Arabia and more. Alongside the live performance, we filmed a surreal narrative with two actors. We’re currently editing the film, and it should be finished soon! Besides that, I’m working on the next record, and looking to a very quiet winter filled with music.