Written by: Jen Dan
When you’re making analog, guitar-based music it’s hard not to reflect the late ‘60s and ‘70s sound in some of the songs. There’s something about the warmth of those classic records, and the formal liberties acts of those eras took, that will always be appealing to artists; that, and the idea of the quest for emotional truth through music.
Kush K are a folk/garage/psychedelic band based in Zürich, Switzerland. They refer to themselves simply as Catia, Pascal, Paul, and Nicola; just some friends making music together.
Their debut record Lotophagi was released on BlauBlau Records and it’s a work that is clearly rooted in the ‘60s aesthetic. That’s not to say that anything on this record sound exactly like anything from that era; it just has that vibe.
It’s direct and fuzzy and unpretentious, and feels down-right real. Like a band really going for it, recording live and trusting the music to take them there. It’s jammy enterprise, but in a good way, like some of those great records of yesteryear.
Catia, the singer and main songwriter of Kush K, kindly took some time to reply to a few questions about their music.
Hi Catia! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. It’s really hard to avoid talking about the COVID-19 situation, especially since it’s had such a huge impact on the music market, with all the cancelled shows and delayed releases. How are you all dealing with the situation?
We are very well aware that our situation is very privileged, with having enough space to more or less practice social distancing and isolation… Others have it much harder and we are aware of that. Of course, we have no income coming in and this would have been an important period for us as a band – great shows and output. I suppose we’re dealing with it like everybody else, trying to appreciate what we have and figuring out a new flow, detached from everything that we knew before.
What is it like to promote a record right now, being that news channels are mainly occupied with the pandemic?
The approach changed; it’s more about music for the sake of music right now. I think people have more time, focus, awareness and this translates to how we listen to music and how we treat the things we love. I guess it’s the appreciation that changed. Believing in such things creates a positive energy; we’re making music not only for the good times.
Your new album Lotophagi sounds so heavily steeped in a ‘60s aesthetic. Was it a conscious decision to invoke that vibe?
Not at all, but the band’s and Domi Chansorn’s instruments, recording techniques, and sound aesthetics find their origin in this time period. But also in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and nowadays.
The record title refers to lotus-eaters (Lotophagi). Who are these individuals?
The album title Lotophagi stands for the social longing for happiness. The songs deal with Generation Y and the polarizing approaches to this premise. The conflict of interest between defenses and conviction – opposites that you like and yet denounce. High contrasts. Support and criticism simultaneously. An artificial paradise.
In Greek mythology the lotus-eaters were a race of people living on an island dominated by the lotus tree, a plant whose botanical identity is currently unknown. The fruits and flowers from this tree were the primary source of nourishment on the island, and were also a narcotic which put the inhabitants to sleep in peaceful sort of apathy.
Figuratively, a lotus-eater is an individual who spends their time indulging in pleasures and luxuries, but disregards practical concerns.
A communal spirit and a sense of ritual seems to be a big part of your operational modus as a band, can you tell us a bit about that?
Whatever phase we’re going through can be accessed through our expression of identity. When we’re spiritually connected we operate on a different level and are pure joy satisfied. No questions. Purpose and emotion complete each other. Rituals in any form declare this space and help us to dig deeper into ourselves, to create a state of a higher consciousness or unconsciousness.
When the traveling and crowd restrictions get lifted, can we expect to see you live at some point?
For sure! For now all the concerts got postponed, but this will definitely happen!
Keep up with Kush K