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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

On a Bender with Kaiyote

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Sonic Architects National Conference is touring 
the nation taking four of Australia’s most exciting acts on the road, together!

Featuring boundary-pushing Melbourne-based artists Hiatus Kaiyote, Remi, Kirkis and Silent Jay and Jace XL, Sonic Architects National Conference is set to be an all-out four-hour live sound clash!

This melange of artists comes together from four disparate schools of sound but all share the same ideology of innovation. Their songs were built in the underground, with no blueprints, designed with intuition and inspiring a new breed of Australian artist.

Hiatus Kaiyote are the first Australian act to be nominated for an R&B Grammy award, yet they stand incomparable to anyone in the whole world of R&B/soul.

Their sound references a swathe of influences – electric, acoustic, futuristic, psychedelic, progressive, soothing and urgent – slipping in and out of genre and defying definition.

HIATUS-KAIYOTESeen as a sonic Voltron between four artists (Nai Palm, Simon Mavin, Paul Bender, Perrin Moss) over the past 12 months Hiatus Kaiyote have toured the world relentlessly – selling out shows across North America, Europe and Africa – since re-releasing their self-produced Tawk Tomahawk EP on Salaam Remi’s (Amy Winehouse, Fugees, Nas) new label Flying Buddha.

They count some of the most innovative artists alive today as fans (Prince, Pharrell Williams, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, Questlove) and are uncompromising in their musical vision and philosophy.

Paul Bender had a quick chat with The Echo. Having spent months in the studio on their upcoming album, Bender is in the creative flow!

‘When we started the record we had a lot that we wanted to record, things that didn’t make the first one, or newer or things we’ve rarely played live, and things getting a new lease in life, and we had a strong idea of what we wanted to record. It’s been challenging.

‘We have strong ideas on how we want it to be captured and how it is to sound. On the first album we had no history together; we had only just begun being a band. It’s kind of easier when you don’t have a preconceived notion. This album has more of an intention behind it and we are trying to do multiple versions of each tune.’

Second albums always place pressure on artists who’ve enjoyed success with the first.

‘I was definitely super-aware of that concept, and we walked right into that! It has been very difficult, and a lot of things have changed in the band’s process. You have to do something cool again.

‘For me it’s all about whether it makes it in a commercial sense, and I am very aware that whatever you do there will be some people who like the other one better, or this one better!

‘I think our strength is our creativity and that we are not worried about what else is happening in music right now. It’s not that we don’t care; we just draw from anything that we like. There’s no need to jump on whatever is current or right now or to limit your creativity.

‘I don’t want to limit a track to being a number of minutes, or worry if it’s too complicated or weird. I think all those things are a little bit offensive to the people who are going to buy your music and listen to it. I think they get it.

‘In parts of the music industry there is definitely the concept that your listeners are stupid and this is something you put on and it’s a club thing or a dance thing or whatever.

We are influenced by a lot of things, but as a band we tend to think in a compositional way and we like orchestral or magical things, or things that take you in a different direction.

‘The story isn’t just within the lyrics, it is the whole story. We think about music on a lot of different levels and I guess that’s where we are coming from, and anyone who is seriously into what we are doing is into it for that too. For us it’s about trying to do as good a job as possible with what we are trying to create.’

Hiatus Kaiyote play the Byron Brewery on Sunday as part of the Sonic Architect’s National Conference. 6.30pm. $30 tix.

Go to byronbaybrewery.com.au to purchase tickets online.


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