With the release of their debut recording ‘The Message’ just around the corner, Kibbs & Mac Folklaw chat with Newcastle Live about the recording process, the message behind ‘The Message’ and their launch at Lizotte’s on July 23.
How did you two come to work together on this project?
Kim: I’ve been songwriting since a ‘tween’ and have performed covers in the local industry for over a decade. Kibbs and I met through the covers circuit in February 2011. We both had a desire to do originals, and twelve months later we started working together songwriting and found some original music gel, so-to-speak. Then in 2013, I found myself coordinating Youth Rockin’ the Black Dog a youth music competition for raising awareness of mental health. Part of that process involved organising an EP Package for the winning act. There were no opportunities like that when I was young, so Kibbs and I made a plan to tick ‘EP’ off the bucket list by the end of 2013. And that’s what we did.
What’s the message in “The Message”?
Kim: There’s a bit of a story to how the name for our EP came about. I would like to say it’s really deep and meaningful, but it’s kind of an ad hoc, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of thing. Originally we had planned to feature a song titled ‘The Message’ as one of the five tracks on the EP. We had our graphical work already done for the EP, but as the powers that be would have it, the file for The Message track became corrupted prior to mastering, so we couldn’t use it. So now, we’ve set a standard that any EPs that follow, must be named after a song that didn’t make the final cut. That’s the message!
Where did you record the “The Message” and who produced it?
Kim: We recorded The Message at Mangus Studio in Broadmeadow with Justin Ngariki. Ngariki has an amazing ability to make me feel comfortable as a singer when that record button lights up. He also has this innate ability to know when I’m starting to goof around with my lyrics. Ngariki helped me to keep it simple, to remain authentic and to be open to feeling vulnerable as a songwriter. In a nutshell, Ngariki just ‘got us’, what we are about, and what we’re trying to do – tell stories through song.
Which track was the most rewarding to finally get on tape?
We love all our music babies – even those that still remain in raw and unpolished states. Each time one is born you think it’s the ant’s pants until the next one sprouts forth. What you start with and what you end up with can morph quite dramatically from an initial raw take. However, when it comes to The Message, I have a bias for Water and for Spaces. For me I guess it relates to an overall ‘feel’ thing plus the metaphors.
How do you guys write? Do you work on lyrics or music first or is it a case of all in?
Kim: Sometimes it’s a melody that jumps to mind that I put down on my iPhone and relay to Kibbs later, who finds the root notes. Other times it’s Kibbs who will come up with a bass run to which I put melody and lyric. Some songs fall out and flow within minutes, others you can sit on for months, even years. It just depends.
What’s it like to release your musical babies to the world? Do you get nervous about what people will think of the recording?
Kim: I think it’s natural for all artists to get nervous about how others perceive their work. It feels good to be recognised, appreciated and accepted. But that’s not the driving force for us. For us, it’s about the longing to create and express stories through song. If others happen to connect with our creative expression, then that is a major bonus to us.
Releasing your own musical product to the world is actually a humbling experience if anything. By the time you go through the creative process and you’re ready to give birth to music babies, you are generally left with a myriad of fellow musicians, industry folk and community people to thank – like a hospital labour ward, giving birth to music babies is not something that occurs in a silo. Releasing our music has left us with an abundance of gratitude to the people of the Newcastle music industry, media and community alike.
Kim: In February 2013 a young person close to our hearts was diagnosed with a heart This news left us shocked. We thought heart disease was something that happened to older people. At the time we received this news, we were already in the process of songwriting with the aim to record and EP. So, we decided to make ‘raising awareness and funds for HeartKids NSW’ a part of our original project, because awareness of young people living with heart disease is what was happening for us as we were in the writing process.
We love your logo and art work for the release, who did it and what was the inspiration?
Apart from being a close friend and local musician, Graham Thompson from GT3D animation studio is a killer graphical artist to boot. We handed Graham full creative licence with our website, CD Cover and promo artwork – the only key words being: “Telling stories through song”.
After the show at Lizotte’s, what’s next for Kibbs & Mac Folklaw?
It will be back to the cave for more songwriting and refining based on everything we have learnt from this venture. While both of us plan to do a bit on the covers circuit in the next 12 months, we still plan to continue writing together and to develop the 30 odd songs we have in raw state already. We’re also looking forward to establishing a collaborative network with other musicians who are interested in the original songwriting scene.