With a crisp new track featuring the likes of Illy and a debut album in the works, 19-year-old Kuren, aka Curtis Kennedy, is one of those terribly talented people who really makes you wonder what you’re doing with your life.
Perhaps even more annoyingly, he’s a genuinely lovely guy. He’s hardworking and clear-sighted in his goals. We had a chat in the twilight of his new release Bright Dawn, talking about the future, the album and collaborations, particularly Illy.
“It’s so much fun working with him… he pushes me to do stuff that I wouldn’t really do in a studio. The thing about Al [Illy] is he won’t let anything pass that isn’t of quality… him making it really perfect. I respect that a lot. It goes to show that he doesn’t put out shit and yeah, he works really hard.”
Love of hard work, Kennedy explains, is a self-sustaining prophecy.
“It’s probably got more intense to be honest. The more things you do, the more opportunities you get… I think one thing that has changed is my priority of time… the way you prioritise time is a huge factor in your success. I feel like any chance I get I’m working on the Kuren project or I’m working on new music or touring or something different… and I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s so much fun and I want it to get more intense,” he laughs.
All that hard work, of course, is now gloriously and mysteriously coming to unforeseen fruition in the form of new tracks, including his latest offering Bright Dawn, and a new debut album.
“My songwriting and capabilities this year have changed and improved drastically, but I’ve always wanted to keep my sound over the top of it. So basically when I started writing this album I wrote down heaps of keywords that I wanted to go by… I knew that over time so much stuff would happen, and I might lose the original reason why I started. So some of the words I wrote down are industrial, futuristic, but also sort of dated. Old style mixed with young, modern and vintage. Sonically, it has a lot of new sounds and old sounds, but it’s what you do with the sounds that make up the artist that you are.
“I can’t talk too much about it… but basically we’re trying to make everything bigger. Trying to make the live show bigger, trying to make the brand bigger, just trying to do cool things with cool people ’cause it’s a great time for it. I think musically there’s a lot of exciting stuff coming.
“We just played a show in Sydney called The Plot, it was so much fun… I brought Dylan Frost who is the lead singer of Sticky Fingers out, ’cause we’ve done some music together, and it was really fun man. I think in the new year it’s looking like we’re gonna put all that together, so I’m really excited for people to hear some new stuff with a guy from a band that no one’s heard from in a year, so pretty excited. I’m hoping January/February next year.”
On the subject of his debut album, hinted to release next year, Kennedy revealed one particularly exciting experiment with an old hero of his. Sampling a motivational speaker that he found on YouTube, Kennedy soon realised the difficulty of getting it cleared for use. Instead, “we re-recorded somebody else similar to it. I thought it would be amazing to get Ta-Ku to open my first album, so I could get him to say what I wanted to say – voice it and talk it – so he did. He’s going to be opening my first album, which is insane – I’m in my apartment right now looking at a painting that I’ve got made of him because of how infatuated I am with him, so yeah, it’s really cool.”
“There’s something about Ta-Ku’s music that is so honest. Any musician can pick out sounds and re-digest the song, but with Ta-ku it’s music and that you listen to and it’s pure. It takes over your body with such power… I wanted to have that feeling with my stuff, but I wanted it to be a representation of me, obviously. I didn’t just want to cop out Ta-Ku’s music, so when I started making music I wanted to make sure that it has pureness and it has realness in every single part of it, instead of just showing off cool sounds or cool production tricks.”
Keep your ears open for new tracks next year, and keep your eyes on the undeniable curator of feeling that is Kuren.