The Church frontman Steve Kilbey and All India Radio’s Martin Kennedy have been releasing music under the guise Kilbey Kennedy since 2009, and today the prolific pair have released album number five: Glow and Fade. I caught up with Martin Kennedy to talk about the album, which they are calling their “Magnum Opus”, its cover by Dune artist Bruce Pennington and their upcoming plans.
Glow and Fade is being described as your “magnum opus”. What do you think has made your fifth album together shine particularly bright, when compared to your acclaimed body of work to date? You had set the bar high to say the least…
A number of reasons. On a technical level it came together very quickly – just seven months from the idea to the final mastered songs. We were used to taking years in fits and starts on some previous albums. It also arose out of adversity. Without going into details it represents something unexpectedly positive that came out of health issues and personal rumblings we were both dealing with. Lastly, it seemed to be the ultimate coming together of everything we had done before but hadn’t quite got right. I feel that I had finally nailed the music side of things and I’m pretty sure Steve was happy with his lyrics.
What do you hope listeners take away from this album?
I hope people listen to it from start to finish as a complete album experience. I won’t go as far as calling it a concept album, but it kind of is lyrically and musically without being too obvious about it.
Has the way you and Kilbey collaborate changed across these five records? How did the making of Glow and Fade compare to that of Unseen Music, Unheard Words?
No, it has more or less stayed the same apart from varying time frames. I record the music in isolation and then give it to Steve to record his vocals. He won’t have heard it before then but he trusts me to come up with the goods! As mentioned previously Glow and Fade happened very quickly compared to Unseen Music, Unheard Words which dragged out over a few years.
Five albums in 8 years is prolific even by the standards of a band who have no side projects (and thus you’re doing well at making everyone else look bad!). How have the two of you managed to have such an impressive output while you continue to peruse other projects? We’re guessing the answer is “we never stop creating…”
Actually its technically eight albums in 8 years because we also did three albums of ‘commissioned songs’, but I don’t count them as studio albums. Yes, the answer is we never stop creating! Music is more or less a full time thing for both of us and if the ideas are flowing you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines. I’ll always find the time if I’m happy with what I’m creating.
How did Bruce Pennington come to grace the stunning cover of this record?
I’m a big sci-fi fan and I’ve always loved his art, especially the Dune covers, which I remember as a kid. I searched for him on the internet, found out he was still alive and approached him through his agent. Bruce doesn’t have any modern technology apart from a home phone so I had to wait for calls to be made. I asked if I could license one of his old works and he said yes.
I particularly love the design of the vinyl if you’d like to talk about that as well! For those playing at home, this releases in July.
The vinyl will be worth waiting for. It’s something to hold in your hands while you listen. Bruce Pennington’s artwork will look especially tasty on the LP sleeve!
Will you be taking this album on the road?
Most likely not. Steve is always super busy with his own gigs and The Church and to be honest I’m a very reluctant live performer. But never say never.
What can attendees expect from a Kilbey Kennedy live show?
But if we WERE to play a show, based on past experience, you could expect to see a brilliant and funny front man singing our songs and cracking one liners, and a guitarist standing in the shadows doing his thing. We might be wearing tuxedos and have a psychedelic light show and have a fantastic backing band.
Who are some of your favourite up-and-coming Australian musicians?
Oh dear. I’m totally out of touch here. I just don’t listen to a lot of new music. Are The Necks up and coming still? Midnight Oil are up and coming again…
What else is coming up for you?
What the future holds for us – Steve is working on a new Church album, a solo album, and is about to embark on a US tour, and I’m about to release an album with David Bridie (Not Drowning Waving) followed by a classical music project, a genre which is new to me and could be the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but you’ve got to give these things a try.
Kilbey Kennedy‘s Glow and Fade is in stores and digitally today via Golden Robot Records. You can get it from any of the links below:
SFR Store (signed CD, fan bundles & vinyl, with bonus tracks) | bit.ly/KK-GF-SFRStore
iTunes (with bonus track) | http://bit.ly/KK-GF-Digital
JB Hi-Fi | http://bit.ly/KK-GF-JB
Sanity | http://bit.ly/KK-GF-Sanity
Photo by Martin Kennedy