Kaurna cronin, and the making of glass fool.
Words by Isaac Selby
We spoke to Kaurna Cronin as he prepared to leave for an extensive three-month tour of Europe in support of his upcoming debut album. Due for release on July 3rd, Glass Fool is a collection of 10 guitar-led folk narratives detailing the folk-singer’s experiences travelling the world and growing up in Adelaide. Written over the past 18 months, Glass Fool has already begun to receive considerable attention with Cronin’s first single Inside Your Town is Inside Your Head receiving airplay round the country, including multiple spins on Triple J.
The album features support by a talented ensemble of musicians that includes Chris Panousakis (Timberwolf), Ben Zubreckyj (Jesse Davidson/Brokers), Dom Symes and Lizzie O’Keefe.
First off, congratulations on finishing the album, has this album been a long time coming? When were your first musical experiences?
Well I’ve always grown up around music. I did a lot of festivals with my parents growing up as a child, regularly going to WOMADelaide and the Port Ferry Folk Festival, which was a big influence on my love for music and performing. I’ve played in bands since I was about 13 years old around Adelaide and I guess this solo project just came out of a love for both of those things.
So you’re leaving the country tomorrow, where does your tour begin?
We’ll be flying straight to Hamburg where we play a bunch of festivals and then we’ll go to the UK, France and then back to Germany.
I noticed that you’re playing quite a few shows there!
Yeah this tour is sort of a culmination of the last four years building a German following, I recently was signed with a distribution and publishing label over there and it’s sort of evolved into a ridiculous European tour.
Any plans for subsequent Australian dates?
Yeah, we’ll be doing an Australian release tour in September.
You must be excited for people to hear the album, what can we expect?
I guess the album is essentially a collection of songs I’ve put together over the last 18 months in Byron Bay with a bunch of great Adelaide musicians and engineer Jordan Power. He’s from 301 studios in Byron Bay, and has recently made his own studio in an industrial estate. It’s a really beautiful environment where he’s worked with lots of great artists like Powderfinger and The Living End and produced great albums by Angus Stone and Xavier Rudd.
How would you describe his input on the album?
Very efficient, in terms of creating the sound he was great because he let us take the reigns. His role wasn’t so much of a producer as an engineer; he doesn’t play any instruments himself but has a really great ear, which I admire. When you have so many great musical minds it’s good to have someone looking out for the tone of the sound. The way it’s coming through the microphone or wall is important and someone who isn’t necessarily listening to the whole song or arrangement, but is instead focusing on the particular sound being created is very helpful.
A lot of lyrics on the album are quite personal, how do you find the experience of performing these songs in a live setting with your band?
A big thing for me is developing a really strong personal relationship with the people in your band, so that when you’re tackling a concert or a festival it isn’t so much that you and the band are performing your songs, you’re putting them forward together as a group and you all believe in them. So our performances of the songs are still a reflection of the whole group, I’ve chosen these people for a reason and we’re all doing it together.
Would you like to tell me a little bit about your second single The Kind of Woman I Need?
That song was a reflection of someone who I’ve had a relationship with over the last couple of the years. I guess in a way all of the songs on the album are a reflection of that to some extent, but maybe it’s a relationship with a place or a person, or a community of people on the other side of the world. It is definitely an album based around relationships but with different people in different places.
A few of the tracks on Glass Fool address the difficulties you’ve had finding creative inspiration, do you find that travelling around and doing these shows helps or hinders your creative process? Do you find it a distracting or a motivating experience?
I think it can go both ways, it depends on what kind of state of mind you’re in, I think sometimes travelling is the greatest inspiration because you’re exposed to so many new experiences. You can be inspired by emotions and feelings during these different experiences, but sometimes the busy lifestyle of touring isn’t so conducive to being able to sit down and write songs that are personally reflective.
I was listening to the track Awake and it seemed to me like a song written whilst travelling, it seems like quite a… wandering song?
Yeah, that’s probably the most reflective song on the whole album. That was a song I wrote while I was down in Robe, with my bass player. We got a house and were doing a show down there for some reason, and I just walked down by the water and that came right out of me.
In these upcoming euro shows you’re going to be playing a lot of these personal, unreleased songs, is that an exciting prospect? Is it daunting? Or both?
A little bit of both, you know with something that’s daunting it’s always going to be exciting, you’ve always got that element of the unknown. With the European tour I’m playing with a completely new band that I haven’t played with before, they’ve been rehearsing without me and seem like they know all the songs. I haven’t heard them play, but am looking forward to having a rehearsal with them and seeing how it sounds.
Do have a preference between writing music on your own, or playing in a band?
They’re like chalk and cheese, they’re very different, but I think they’re both beautiful in their own right. You get different rewards from both things but when I’m drumming in a band I get that beautiful feeling when you’re collaborating with other musicians on a very early level of developing the songs together. Whereas I find the nature of my current project is that I’ll write the song and then bring it to the musicians, from there we’ll workshop it and then we’ll record. So it’s a completely different process and I guess with writing alone you don’t have that solidarity as a unit. I try and create that as much as possible with my project because I think acts that have that sense of solidarity and camaraderie is really beautiful to witness in a live setting. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/kaurnacronin/inside-your-town-is-inside-your-head-1[/embed]