George Kalpa is a Melbourne musician, composer and filmmaker about to launch his debut album. The debut single is Leave The Street Alone and it’s a dark and gritty track that I’m growing to enjoy more with every listen. We got to learn a little more about George in this recent G rated interview.
Hi George, welcome to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking to us.
What drove you to pursue a career in music?
I’ve always had ideas and sounds in my head. For as long as I can remember whenever I heard something that I would connect with I’d always think ‘I should be doing that too’. There was a always a piano around the house and I would always be writing something.
How would you describe your sound?
Its an off center mash up of whatever I was listening to at the time which was a lot of music from the 80’s and 90′ with darker vibes. I was working on film projects when I was writing the album and a lot of that found its way on there. I listen to everything from hip hop to black metal so it’s hard to be genre specific.
Where does your songwriting inspiration come from? Do you have a process for writing songs – is it music or lyrics first?
I am inspired by ideas that come from the the most honest places. As soon as that idea grabs me I run with it. A sound might inspire a scene in a film or something I saw in a dream might inspire a song. I found that during the recording of the original takes, even before most of the lyrics were written, I was humming melodies where I was actually trying to say something. I wasn’t aware of it until I caught onto the pattern. It spun me out.
Mode is your debut album, releasing October 11, can you tell us about it?
Mode is a score to a time in my life when I couldn’t see what was happening right in front of me but I felt something eating away at my subconscious. I only realised after some changes in my life happened that I knew they were coming through the songs and film that I was writing. The old cliche of life imitating art rang true here.
You are also a filmmaker and you created the clip for debut single Leave That Street Alone, can you tell us a little about the song and the clip?
The video was a natural extension of the song. It took a glimpse of an old laundrette on the way home one night to nail the vibe of the visuals. The story came to me over the next couple of days. It was a trip editing a video to my own song, an amazing feeling. Making the video with my regular film crew was inspiring.
Much of the work on the album was done by you, can you tell us about your recording process?
Whenever an idea comes along that does it for me I record it straight away. Having the studio on hand is a big plus for documenting ideas. I found that I used a lot of original takes on the actual record. There’s no point in sitting there trying to mess around with something if it’s already sounding fat and you’ve already fallen in love with it. As the songs grew on me I worked on instrumentation and flow, but overall its a very natural process. I like to keep it simple. The whole recording process from tracking to mastering took 6 months and it was both a liberating and sometimes frustrating feeling doing it all on my own. Having my brother and label/production co-founder Gene co-produce the record was a big plus. A fresh pair of eyes and ears telling me that a part was finished 2 weeks before I got obsessed with it.
You collaborated with local talent on the album, how did you come to find them?
I had the pleasure of working with some truly gifted musicians on the record. I had worked with saxophonist Ben Harrison on an EP I did with my band Nihl last year and collaborated on some film scores before so he was a natural fit. I saw vocalist May Johnston performing at the Night Cat Jazz Club and her voice just blew me away, I just had to have her sing on the album. She nailed it in 2 takes, as did Ben.
There is a launch show at Revolver, what can audiences expect from a live set?
A good time and some killer grooves.
Where is Mode available to purchase?
MODE is for sale now on iTunes, Bandcamp and through my online store at georgekalpa.com
What’s next for George Kalpa?
I’m working on two scripts at the moment and always working on music videos. I’m also working on a new bunch of songs which are sounding great acoustic. Some more live shows are in the works too.
Thanks for your time George and good luck with the launch.
Thank you and your lovely publication.