Kirklandd is a multifaceted artist, songwriter and instrumentalist, based between Canberra and Sydney. Having written with the likes of Genesis Owusu, Dylan Joel, Citizen Kay, Lucy Sugerman, Taka Perry, Lil Spacely, Chelsea Warner and more, Kirklandd has developed a unique songwriting style, grounded in hip-hop and drawing inspiration from alt-pop and nostalgia punk. Working with producer Cam Bluff (Amy Shark, Allday), Kirklandd released his debut EP in 2020 titled ‘The Love Divide’. Blending elements of alt-rock, hip hop and pop, the project amassed over 160,000 streams online since its release, and was met with editorial support from Spotify (New Music Friday) and Apple Music (The New Australia). Kirklandd has performed with his live band at festivals including Spilt Milk, NYE on the Hill and Groovin’ the Moo as triple j Unearthed's competition winner in 2019. Crafting a new style with Sydney-based producer Taka Perry, Kirklandd has shared snippets of this new direction online and at his recent live shows with his band, teasing a genreless new direction for his follow up to The Love Divide.
Get to know this week's triple j Unearthed Feature Artist and Canberra artist, Kirklandd.
Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
My earliest influences came from the soul and blues my mother played around the house when I was a kid – Aretha Franklin, The Bee Gees and the Doobie Brothers were on regular rotation. From there, I learned to play the cello for 6 years, and I first discovered hip hop when my cousin handed me Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor record when I was 12. From there, I studied the greats like Nas, Slick Rick and A Tribe Called Quest, and artists like these really instilled my old school style early on.
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
My experiences in life. Music’s an outlet for me to voice my journey in trying to figure out life and grow in myself, and I love being able to share what I encounter along the way through my music. Hip hop holds the unique ability to tell stories in a deeply authentic way, so I always hope to have my music reflect this.
What can punters expect from a Kirklandd live show?
A very, very big vibe. My live set’s become this cool blend of hype and intimate storytelling, and this is how I most love connecting with people: through good energies and sharing my experiences with the audience before me. My drummer Josh and I have really levelled up our performance routine for the Impulse tour, and especially our GTM set this weekend – I can’t wait to show Canberra the surprises we have in store.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
I can’t remember who said this to me, but to always enjoy the process. Immerse yourself in the experience of creating, find fulfilment in the process, and thrive in the journey to finishing it. Everything will follow from there.
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
‘WUTD’ by Genesis Owusu. WUTD? Cry, or boogie?
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
‘Waiting’ by KIAN. Those chords are really beautiful man.
You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
‘Compliment My Shirt’ by Saint Lane. That’s the g right there.
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
The last show I went to was around a week back in Sydney. I went to do a short performance of some unreleased music I have coming with a good homie of mine, Francoistunes, at a One Day Party that Kaiit was headlining in Marrickville. The vibe was so strong. I love the live culture the One Day crew have built. Kaiit is one of the warmest, most genuine performers ever, and seeing everyone turn up for her was awesome. And she has the coolest rider on the planet.
Tell us about the bands or people in the Canberra music community that inspire you.
All of them; bands, creatives and all members of our community. The mutual support between artists and creatives in our city is incredible, and we’re constantly pushing each other to go further and create the best art we can. It’s the best feeling knowing if one of us is winning, all of us are, and we’re all forming Canberra’s musical identity in the process. It’s a crazy exciting time for our city and I’m blessed to be a part of it.
What are your plans for 2019?
This week we’re kicking off the Impulse tour with Groovin the Moo as our first date. Then we’re hitting Melbourne and Sydney for the first time in a long while, with Zellow supporting us nationally, and I can’t wait to bring the live experience of Impulse to our Sydney and Melbourne family. From there, I’m diving back in the studio with Cam to finish the follow up to Impulse, which I’m hoping will be my strongest single yet. A lot more music is yet to come this year and I’m wildly excited to share where my sound is heading.View Profile Hide Interview