Grotto goes Down Under
Australian singer-songwriter Kim Churchill is at The Blue Grotto for a show on Thursday, June 7.
The young musician — he’s just 20 years old — finished high school, hopped into a camper-van and hit the road, touring, busking, playing and surfing.
Since the time difference between Kamloops and Canberra made a phone interview challening, KTW emailed Churchill a few questions to learn more about him:
Tell me about your early years, from when you started playing to when you realized it was what you wanted to do.
I was introduced to the guitar incredibly early, around four or five and my mother started getting lessons.
It became this regular thing for her to give me the lesson she just had.
I'm not sure how much I really progressed to begin with.
My earliest memories of the guitar are working out Beatles songs with mum on weekends. I must have been about seven.
From then, my dad saw my interest and enrolled me for classical-guitar tutoring and exams.
I followed this for about 10 years working my way through the grades.
I don’t feel as though I ever had a moment where I really realized it was what I wanted to do.
It began before I can really remember and throughout I always used music and guitar playing as a way to identify myself (the kid who plays guitar).
I guess I still do.
You mention a disparate group of influences (Dylan, Bowie, Marley, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jack White), although each is marked by strong songwriting. Is that what you draw from them, or are there other aspects of their careers that influence you?
Songwriting is certainly what draws me in first. Dylan and Neil Young, Nick Drake or Lennon.
These guys are my idols because of what they created, rather than how they performed it.
I think influences like Pink Floyd or Zeppelin were more because I liked the experimentation with sounds.
Each time they get up to play live, it’s an adventure and they go off in new directions.
I think this has been very attractive to me over the years and has drawn me towards similar music.
It’s the freedom of being an experimental almost 'jam-band' that I like and I try to perform and write music in a similar way.
What can people who come to the show expect?
Well, something different every time.
I don't rehearse and, when I do, things become rehearsed (go figure).
I like to keep each performance as a musical journey for myself.
It also seems to work the best for listeners as well.
There really is no one, not even me, who really knows what will happen next.
I perform all the songs i've written over the last five or six years.
I think because I have this kind of vast multi-instrumentalist approach; there is a lot of room for me to move wherever I want.
Lots of electronic elements, also.
Its basically an exercise in sound-scaping that just worked around the songs I have written.