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Interview: Kacy Hill

Kacy Hill

American songstress Kacy Hill has had some very, very cool jobs in recent years. She’s a classically trained musician, worked as a poster girl for American Apparel, and was a back up dancer on Kanye West’s YEEZUS tour. When she turned her attention to making music, she shot to international attention in 2014 with her debut single ExperienceShe’s heading down under in July for Splendour in the Grass, and to head out on the road with British millinery enthusiast Jack Garratt. We caught up with her to chat out about her influences, what it was like to work with Yeezy, and what fans can expect when she gets in the country.

Are you excited to be coming to tour Australia?

Oh my god! I’m so excited! I’ve never been before and I’ve heard only the most wonderful things, and I think this will be a good way to experience it!

How do you think that your EP ‘Bloo’ is different to your releases?

I think the EP has been the first piece of music that I’ve put out that has been very much in my control. I feel like the single that I put out before that I don’t really connect with it anymore because I don’t think that I had enough of a vision as an artist or as a writer to communicate something. I feel like its a baby learning to talk, I’m wanting to say something but I don’t know how to say it. But the EP is a representation of myself as an artist.

There are so many different sounds on the EP, what kind of influences did you have during the writing and recording process?

When I’m in the studio, I’m almost never drawing directly from something. It’s not even intentionally, but I think that if I’m listening to music on the way to a session, or listen to an album obsessively before something I end up accidentally writing that song. In my head I feel like I accidentally take pieces of it, and I don’t like that, so usually when I go into the studio I try and go in with as much of a blank slate as I reasonably can. I think I draw from a lot of singer-songwritery stuff that I listened to while growing up. My mum liked Paul Simon, The Beatles, and Sheryl Crow, and my Dad like The Cranberries and that kind of stuff, so that’s what is stuck in my brain.

How do you think that Splendour in the Grass will compare to American Festivals?

The only festival that I’ve performed at in America so far is South By [South-West], and that’s kind of all over the place. It’s just a different kind of festival. I guess I don’t really go to a tonne of festivals, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to, quite honestly. I feel like I’m a bit of a beginner at everything. I feel like right now in my life is like a world of firsts, and that’s exciting cause I get to experience everything for the first time.

You’ll also be on tour with Jack Garratt in July, have you worked with him on anything before, or will this be your first time working with him?

He produced a song on my EP called Foreign Fields and then we just finished up his North America, and then again in the UK. It was amazing, he was such an incredible live act and it was such an honour to share the stage with him. The crowds were so receptive of me as an opener, which was so kind and warm. I think that’s probably kind of the crowd that Jack draws – people who just love music.

You’ve previously toured with Kanye as a dancer, what has Yeezy taught you about your music and your live performances?

I think being on the Yeezus tour was the first time when I thought “I need to do music, its something important to me”. He’s obviously someone who is very confident in everything he does, and I don’t possess the same assertiveness that he has. I can’t say “I am right and this is good music” like he does. I guess that knowing who you are is a really important thing, and he also has a lot of experience, and there is so much to learn from him as an artist and a person. I think the main lesson is to not back down.

I’ve heard you’re a classically trained musician, can you tell me a bit more about that?

I’ve played music growing up for a good handful of years, but I don’t use a lot of it any more. When I played it when I was younger I liked the idea of playing music more than I actually liked playing an instrument. I still have my oboe and my saxophone, and I’ll still play on my own, but I don’t think I’ll ever do something in the world with it. I found a way to connect with music as a way that isn’t in the classical sense. I enjoy playing in an orchestra, and I think its a really beautiful thing, but I don’t think I was as passionate about it as I wanted to be.

How does your training factor into your songwriting and recording process?

Not at all. I mean, I guess that having some knowledge of how music sounds might be good, but I use so little of that music theory, but at this point, I think like 90% of it is out the door. I think that songwriting is so much more about feeling, and it’s using an entirely different part of your brain, I think.

Click HERE to get tickets to Kacy Hill’s show supporting Jack Garratt. Watch the video for her Garratt-produced single, Foreign Fields below!

Kacy Hill Australian Shows

170 Russell, Melbourne
Metro Theatre, Sydney

North Byron Parklands, Byron Bay

Get Tickets HERE

Written by Max Higgins