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Kane Strang

Kane Strang

Interviewed by
Ben Coley
Wednesday 24th December, 2014 10:43AM

Dunedin musician Kane Strang has been building a strong reputation and solid following over the past 12 months thanks to his intriguing psych tinged folk-pop and lyrical charm. However his first album A Pebble And A Paper Crane, which was released back in 2013, has been a slow burner for many. Strang recorded that album whilst living in Germany, but he is now back in Dunedin and is currently working on a follow-up record. His recently released single 'In Thailand' has been getting regular radio play and UnderTheRadar was keen to find out more and to see how his new album is coming along...

UTR: You grew up in a musical family, has music always been a passion of yours?

Strang: Things are definitely pretty musical on the Strang side at least. My Grandad used to play in the town hall here. I have an uncle who plays guitar, an uncle who plays drums and my dad plays bass. I think he was even in Central Otago playing some punk gig when my mum went into labour with me. Still, there was never any pressure to play anything. I was actually kind of sporty as a kid but I had so many concussions that I had to stop. I played clarinet for a while until I got kicked out of class for hitting the drums with it. Now I am here.

You spent some time in Germany and even recorded A Pebble and A Paper Crane while over there. What made you move?

I had a good friend who lived there, and no idea what to do with myself here. My friend and I went over on one way tickets. We ended up sharing a one bedroom apartment with no doors in this strange but beautiful place called Krefeld. Apparently it’s one of the heroin capitals of Germany - and it’s most polluted town. I never intended to record anything but these people I was getting to know happened to have the gear I would need to do just that, set up in an old bomb shelter of all places. I wasn’t working because I couldn’t speak German (and am also really lazy) so I had a lot of time to kill when we weren’t travelling around. It’s all a bit of a blur now but I met so many amazing people.

How did you find the music scene in Germany compared to New Zealand, and in particular Dunedin?

I don’t think I know enough about the German music scene to compare the two. To be honest I didn’t play many gigs or see many bands while I was away. Most people assume I was always in Berlin or something like that. In reality I spent most my time in these odd little towns where you just bike around and play cards. If I make it back to that part of the world it will be for music, this time was mainly to hang out with an old friend. I did see Snoop Dogg live though.

You are currently recording a new album. How's it coming along?

Horribly! I have actually scratched what was going to be called Sun Sounds and my latest single 'In Thailand' will most likely be the only thing people hear from those sessions. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to recording in my bedroom. My crappy Toshiba can't handle the German recording software that I have (and don’t understand). I kept trying to make the songs work despite all the technical issues, but by the time I felt a couple of them were listenable I was completely over it. I do have new things to work on. I don’t want to give too much away, for fear of not sticking to my word again. I’m just taking this past year as a giant learning curve and whatever I do next will happen a lot faster because of it.

Your music is lyrically very strong, when writing do you write the lyrics first or is it the music?

I had a decent collection of lyrics from when I was a sad teenager that I slowly chipped away at. I would just write the guitar parts and then pick something that I thought would suit. Lately, since my stockpile is gone, I usually write the lyrics after or at the same time as the music. I kind of want to keep things a bit more lyrically simple in the future.

You play live solo - do you have any plans to form a band?

I actually have finally formed a band! We have been practicing at the Attic space in the middle of town and played a couple of shows. I’m sure it’ll be an ever changing line up as people come and go but for now it is sounding okay. Our first gig was at a release party for a music video that Emily Berryman and Phoebe Mackenzie made for me. It had been a long time coming and was a really exciting night.

What are your plans for 2015?

Aside from getting an album out, touring New Zealand is my number one priority. I’ve been able to play shows in Dunedin with so many great bands from elsewhere this year and I think it’s my turn to go see them. But first priority is to get an album out. I will probably look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame by the time I do.


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