Interview: KIAN (AUS) on “Every Hour”, turning 18 and growing as a musician

KIAN

It’s been a full year since The AU Review caught up with KIAN, when the then 16-year-old dropped his debut EP BLISS. Since its release, KIAN has ticked off phenomenal milestones musicians decades his senior are waiting to achieve: he played Splendour in the Grass and Spin Off Festival, toured the UK and Europe with Conan Gray, travelled to the States and still had time to get in the studio to create his next body of work.

His latest single to launch the next era in KIAN’s discography is “Every Hour”, which captures a youthful obsession of wanting to waste “every day and every hour” with someone special. It’s a woozy, rose-tinted croon paired with orchestral embellishments and a neat overarching guitar riff that’ll transport you to those warm-weathered times, walking home grinning ear-to-ear after meeting someone magnetic. It’s obvious KIAN is at a great place personally and sonically and definitely has us excited for the singles to come. We checked in with him to hear all about it.

How are you KIAN? Where are you right now?

I’m good. I’m just in my hometown, Castlemaine, just holding down here.

Isolating with the family?

Yeah, in ways. One of my older sisters is staying and my mum’s here, so yeah.

Is this the sister who’s an incredible dancer/choreographer?

No, different sister. That one is still in Melbourne. I’ve got three older sisters actually.

Oh nice, what does this sister do?

She is a talented artist in training. She’s good at design. She was in uni for doing architecture and stuff but I think she’s doing design too. Everyone’s got that creative eye.

What a good little family to be a part of. There’s no science-based outsider?

Yeah, no one who’s a lawyer that we’re trying to live up to.

I love that! What have you been doing to stay busy and keep creative then?

Honestly, it’s hard to keep a routine in terms of… I feel like it’s hard to stay productive, but I am trying my hardest to stay happy. I got to go to the studio set up here and got my guitar and everything so I’ve just been trying to stay writing and just doing something, little bits and pieces every day, making sure I tick the boxes I need to tick. So yeah, doing pretty well.

Wildly, I think it’s a year to the day that we spoke about your debut EP BLISS. If you could summarise the past 12 months in three words, how would you summarise it?

I’m trying to think of three words. I would say there’s been growth, been a lot of growth since then. I think me as a person, but also me as an artist, has grown a lot.

I think my two words would be… God, I don’t even know. There’s a lot of words in the world so it’s hard to pick three. I’m just trying to think of how to describe it.

How about we try the next 12 months? What do you envision for your future in three words?

All right. Hopefully more growth.

Yes, good.

I want to say productive. I want to make sure that I’m just keeping my work ethic, keep working. I did take a whole year off music, not really off music at least because I was working on it the whole time, more like I took a year off releasing… It was good to have that time to take it slow. Let’s say productive growth, and I hope that I can resonate, if that makes sense?

That’s totally achievable. But in talking about your pause on music, I think it’s super important as a creative to have downtime to reflect. Particularly with you, you had such a so-called “quick success” even though you’ve been doing it for years. It would just be a whirlwind and you need time to take that in. I mean, you’re nominated for an ARIA for best song at 17. It’s crazy.

Yeah. It’s pretty… I feel like I just forget how old I am so far. I think that year was just very intense for my development, just personally. Everything happened so fast. I know that I never really had any expectations on myself at the beginning for how it was going to be. It definitely exceeded all expectations that I had, so yeah. It was just about me mostly catching up to myself.

Is there anything you wanted to take off the list before you turn 18?

I want to make sure I feel like I’m in a good position and I’m feeling confident to take on my adult life, I guess? I feel like I’m always living semi-adult life in a way, having to be pretty independent. But yeah, I think the next step is being independent and feeling like I can take on this next year as a creative and also as a young adult.

Well you’ve got a good training ground so far and you definitely come from a very good support network for that! Congrats on “Every Hour” by the way. I love this song and I love Jerome Farah. He’s such a sick producer. What was it like working with him again because he had a large hand in BLISS? It’s just like a dream team at this point.

He’s almost, pretty much had his hands on all of my music, I would say. I think him and I have a great creative chemistry together in terms of, we can get to the studio and we can come up with the songs by the end of the day. I think in terms of how we work, we’ve worked really well together. I think there’s definitely a time where we worked really fast, and we got stuff done. Like tracks, some of our songs that are on the BLISS project, we just made in a day or two.

It’s cool just to be able to have someone that I gel with so much. From there, he’s the best person to work with as he’s super, super talented. I think there’s things that I am not so good at that he’s great at, so I think that’s where he helps me I guess. If there’s certain instruments I can’t play, or I can’t do something, he’s really good for that.

I honestly think it’s been good over the last year too because having only worked with him for a long time, it was good to work with some other people as well and try to branch out and collaborate with other than him, because I think that’s the only way you can keep growing and keep just learning new things. There are other things I’ve learned about the music industry and just about creating in general, little tips and tricks, little things that have helped me along the way. I think without all that stuff I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

It’s good to see other people’s creative processes. In this new upcoming body of work, have you got multiple different producers across the EP? What’s it sounding like?

Well, there isn’t necessarily a finished body, but there is a lot, like 12 months worth of music that is being finished over time. We’ve got songs that are already ready to go, so there’s definitely music coming. It’s all kind of, some new producers, some with the same. I could tell people I feel like I’ve gone and met and worked with them over a few days to a week and really gelled with them and got along.

If I looked back, not only do I think that they’re really good songs, I have really nice memories of creating the songs. I think that’s a big part in terms of, if I enjoy the song and I really care about what I wrote and the meaning, also you have the memory and the person that I made it with. It’s definitely a different experience for, I think, the person who created the music.

100 per cent. Listening to “Every Hour” content-wise, looping back to “Waiting”, that one was obviously a bit more about a crush and reciprocation and all that aspect of love. And “Every Hour” is more about security being in a relationship.. KIAN, this past year, you’ve fallen in love?

Yeah…

Is that what you’re touching on when you said you had a big personal growth year?

I think that, pros and cons. I think for me, “Every Hour” sound-wise and the contents of the song, I think this is how I’ve been coming of age and in terms of… Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like when I wrote “Waiting”, I was 14 years old and I guess, the messages and the context of that song make feel a bit awkward. Like in “Waiting”, it talks a bit like how that day in your life when you just don’t know what’s going on? There are things kind of weird? But I think “Every Hour” was a bit more safe and secure. It feels a lot more like everything is coming together.

I guess that might show a little bit of me reflecting on how I was feeling, as far as going on creating memories. Yeah, I’m just happy to share with people.

It sounds like you’re in a really good spot with that song. I’m really keen to see what the upcoming release is out. Have we got a bit of a timeline? When we can expect the next single?

There’s plans around it, but there’s a few different things that determine it. I actually don’t even know myself exactly when it will be ready to go.

We’ll have to keep an eye out then. Congrats on the single KIAN! 

KIAN’s new single “Every Hour” is out now. For more information on KIAN, head to his website

Main Image Credit: Maclay Heriot

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