Kane Strang is a young singer/songwriter hailing from Dunedin, New Zealand. This early-20-something year old has been exploring his creative side for a while now and has already achieved a great deal as a musician.
Whilst living overseas in Germany he made his first album which was recorded in a World War 2 bomb shelter but, he explained, “the lights being on a timed meter gave the recordings a rushed feel”, he also described how, “I’d be playing or singing then the timer would go off and I’d be in complete darkness. It was haunting”. This album was released in 2013 and was titled A Pebble and a Paper Crane but, somewhat dissatisfied with this material, Strang reinvented himself and changed his approach to songwriting, stripping it right back.
Released on the 1st of this month, Strang has just released what he now calls his ‘debut’ album. Titled “Blue Cheese” this record contains 9-tracks of hazy psyche-tinged, folk-pop and follows the less-is-more aesthetic. This lo-fi artist has recorded and self released this album which, inexpensive to create, is rich in content, unpretentious and extremely honest; the stripped back approach has allowed Strang’s lyrical charms to roam free.
Packed full of hazy guitars, hypnotic rhythms and a kaleidoscope of sounds, his record takes you on a psychedelic jaunt with flamboyant tracks like “The Canyon Her River Carved” and “Never Kissed A Blonde” sounding something like early Pink Floyd would have released.
Taken from this album is “The Web”, a single that immediately gets under your skin with it’s heavy driving bass, contrasted by Strang’s lightweight vocals, his lyrics crisp and clear telling a tale of today’s modern approach to romance..
I was lucky enough to catch up with Kane and asked him a few questions about his new release and what inspires this young up and coming musician:
I have just read that “Blue Cheese” is your debut self-released album but have also read about an album that you did in 2013 called “A Pebble and a Paper Crane”, what happened to that? A Pebble and a Paper Crane was a demo that I made in Germany and sent home on CD for my friends and family. People seemed to like it a lot but I am pretty sick of the songs and the sound. I guess I took it off the internet because I don’t think it represents me very well. Being solo and making music under your own name makes it a lot harder to leave things out there that don’t feel like you. There is still a music video for a song off the demo called Winded and a few CDs floating around though.
Where did the title for your debut “Blue Cheese” come from? It was just a dumb thought I had one night. I was sick of not being able to describe my music to people when they asked me what it was like. I’m so bad with understanding genre and where I fit in exactly. I decided that I’d just say it was Blue Cheese from now on. As in, kinda sad and kinda cheesy.
When did you start playing and writing? What inspires your songs? I started playing guitar properly when I was kicked out of clarinet class in high school. I wrote extremely bad songs for years and years and years. It’s only very recently that I’ve started to write things that I don’t mind. And I’m inspired by a lot of different things. Sometimes a conversation with a friend, or just listening to some music with them, will make me want to write something.
Do you write lyrics to music or the other way round..or is this dependent on the song? There’s really no structure to my songwriting process. It’s all a bit chaotic, especially when I’m trying to finish a few things at once.
Your Psychedelic Pop reminds me of early PInk Floyd, what music has influenced you? Lately I am really into people like Parquet Courts, Speedy Ortiz and Connan Mockasin. Angel Olsen has inspired me a lot too. Also, yesterday I was listening through an Orchid Tapes compilation at my parents house and it was so damn good.
Any plans to tour? I’m definitely going to tour Blue Cheese in NZ this year and get overseas to do the same ASAP. I’ve had a few practices with some really good friends of mine and the full band line up is really coming together. I want to play the songs better live than I was able to record them in my room and I think that’ll be more than possible with these guys.