KUČKA will perform at the State Of The Art Festival on Saturday, May 31, at the Perth Cultural Centre. BOB GORDON checks in.
The year that was 2013 proved to be a consolidatory one for Laura Jane Lowther, aka KUČKA.
“It was different as I spent much more time performing than I did writing compared to previous years,” she explains. “I got to play shows in Europe as well as Australia and this definitely taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t in a live sense, and also where the underground scene is heading internationally.”
Lowther performed at the Quartz Music Awards in Paris (as a result of taking out the 2012 WAM Experimental Song Of The Year) and is now releasing her debut EP in Europe through France’s NUUN Records label. As well as local media attention, she scored a mention in The Guardian UK’s piece about the Top Five Under-The-Radar Australian Bands.
US rapper A$AP Rocky sampled KUČKA on his single, Long Live A$AP, as well as asking Lowther to contribute backing vocals on the track, Fashion Killa. Given his album hit #1 on the US Billboard charts, it’s having something of a knock-on effect.
“I think it’s made people take notice of me for sure,” Lowther reflects. “It’s so hard for artists to stand out online, so it’s great to have that international connection to make people stop and notice. I definitely get lots more respect from teenage boys now too.”
The latest missive from Lowther is a new single, Unconditional, co-written by Jake Steele (who contributes analogue synths to the live KUČKA experience, along with Catlips’ Katie Campbell’s electronic beats). It’s the first KUČKA track to be borne of a co-write.
“It was basically written in one night,” Lowther says. “We were hanging out listening to music and playing with the drum grooves on an old Casio keyboard and a few hours later we had recorded the arrangement.
“It’s kind of a slow jam love song. I was listening to lots of old records with really sweet lyrics and wanted to write something that was real, but not cheesy and cliche. Musically, it has a drum machine groove, with layers of old synths and vocals, making it kind of dreamy.”
Unconditional is a new hint towards what’s to come on the KUČKA album, due later this year.
“I have so many tracks that I’ve written over the past year or so,” Lowther says. “Now it’s just a matter of getting them all together and choosing which ones I want to release and then getting them really polished.”
It’s not all studio-focussed however, Lowther’s further plans this year include some interesting directives for what a live KUČKA show can be.
“I want to get really creative with the live shows this year,” Lowther reflects. “Recently we have been working on a collaboration with Martina Menegon, who is an installation artist from Vienna… this collab will be premiered at our single launch.
“She has been making some amazing 3-D visuals that are synced to our music, with the rhythms and sounds changing the textures and colours of the visuals. I would love to take the visual element to the extreme and really focus on a theatrical live show, something that I think lots of electronic musicians neglect.
“Of course the main focus is getting the record finished and released too! Once that’s out we will also be touring over East if all goes to plan.”
KUČKA’s Unconditional single launch happens at The Bird on Saturday, June 7, with support from fm (Sydney) and Mudlark (live), plus DJs Rex Monsoon and Salut Barbut (The Monarchy). $10 entry at the door.
Pic: Girl The Toy, at White Elephant Arts Warehouse