Today we Spotlight – Kirty. Hailing from Toronto, Kirty is following up a successful release with the new release We Are All on Fire. Filled with smooth melodies this whole album is worth a listen. Check our convo below.
Hello Kirty! Thank you for joining us today. Would you like to give an introduction to all of our readers?
Hey Hidden Beats! First off – I’m Kirty. I’m a songwriter and musician based out of Toronto and I’m about to release my 2nd album this August. I also play in the alt-rock band – Fast Romantics, and spend a good chunk of my year touring with them. It’s nice to meet you. Xo.
What is the story behind the name Kirty?
Well, my full name is Kirsten, but no one has ever called me that. My parents came up with Kirty as a nickname when I was born, and it stuck. It’s weird and I definitely get a lot of comments and questions about it, but hey – it’s all I know!
Tell us about some of your early inspirations? Who do you owe your music passion to?
My mom is definitely responsible for my musical passions. She used to play Paul Simon’s Graceland record on repeat when I was a baby, and then when I was old enough to talk, she’d play guitar while I sang songs for my family. She’s an incredible musician and she taught me and all of my siblings to play and sing. It’s now a pretty regular occurrence for our family to throw a big party, build a make-shift stage, and play songs till the wee hours of the night. As a kid I listened to everything my mom listened to – a lot of Canadiana; Blue Rodeo, Sarah Harmer, and Neil Young. We also loved Simon & Garfunkel, CCR, and lots of old-timey country classics and rockabilly.
Your latest release “Turn You On” was crazy. It definitely raised all the emotions I am sure you were going for. It was certainly ostentatious and grotesque but somehow, alluring to watch. What was the inspiration to go with such a bold music video?
Well, thank you. It was very much intended to be weird and gross, but colorful and alluring! I owe the beautifully crafted grotesqueness of this music video to the talented, Anne Douris who developed the concept and directed the video. I had sat down with Anne one evening over zoom to chat a bit about how I felt about this song and to loosely go over some ideas. After our conversation, I felt completely confident that I could hand over creative control to Anne and let her work her magic. The result was this video – which is personally, one of my favorites.
This is not uncharacteristic for you. Your previous single “God Help Us” also had a music video leaving watchers quite perturbed. Are you a fan of the horror genre?
Funnily enough, I’m not a fan of the horror genre but this album cycle seems to have brought out a bit of darkness in me which plays out both lyrically and visually in the videos we’ve made so far. It’s not my intention to be overly serious (as you can tell from the “Turn You On” video), but I think it’s fun to get messy, and freak people out a bit. Especially since I think the songs and my voice have a contrasting sweetness / rawness to them.
We are ecstatic about your new album “We Are All On Fire” dropping in a few weeks. You don’t have to spoil too much for us but hopefully, you can give us a little clue. What kind of themes can we expect on this album? How do the rest of the song stand to “Turn You On?”
Thanks! I’m very excited to be sharing the new album with everyone! In terms of themes and imagery – there are some common threads woven throughout the album: imagery of fire, water, and ice appear throughout, in addition to larger themes based around death, impermanence, and healing.
Do you have a favorite song on the new album? Which was the hardest to write?
My favourite song on the album is “Miss You”. It was also the hardest to write and produce because I wanted to make sure that lyrically and musically it perfectly captured the delicate sentiment I was trying to preserve.
You have been releasing singles under Kirty since 2016 this is your second full album. How long has this project been in the works? How does it differ from your first album?
I started writing this new album at the end of 2018. For me, it’s quite different (both thematically and sonically) from my first album and seems to dig a bit deeper into the guts of my brain. My first record was a fun, dreamy, summer album. This record feels raw, dark, and dusty. Unfiltered themes that aren’t necessarily wrapped up in pretty packages.
How do you deal with the nerves of releasing new music? Or are they completely overpowered by the excitement of putting a new project out there?
To be honest, I’m never very nervous to release new music. I’m quite happy with what we’ve made, and I’m happy to be sharing it, in the hopes that some of the words or sentiments might resonate with anyone else on this planet. I don’t like to worry or fuss too much about what the world might do or say about.
After a few years of writing and performing with a band, what is it like to be a solo artist? Is it freeing to have complete creative control or does this make it difficult to bounce ideas?
I’ve always written and performed as a solo artist, so it was actually the band dynamic (with Fast Romantics) that was new to me, when I joined in 2014. I had to get used to giving up creative control and making all the decisions. Honestly, I love both for different reasons and I feel like having a balance of the two projects really satisfies different sides of me.
Your music is highly genre-bending and doesn’t conform to one box. Your music is described as indie, rock, dream-pop, scythe-rock, and more. Do you identity your music with any of these labels? Are there other genres you are hoping to break into?
I always find that it’s near impossible to lump your music into a specific genre. I can never see my music clearly (or the way that other people see / hear it), so I’ve stopped trying to figure out where it fits in. To me, it’s kind of like how you’ll never know what you look like to other people. You’re too inside of it all! I think that this record is an alt-rock record… but what do I know!
You went to college in Toronto studying music as a major. What are the secrets to music you learned in the program? Do you think school was a huge influence in starting your career?
Of course, studying music at college for four years allowed me to strengthen my musical skills and broaden my knowledge of theory, performance, history etc., but the biggest take-aways for me, weren’t musical skills and technqiue at all. Attending an extremely competitive, performance-based music school taught me, not to constantly compare myself to others, not to dwell on imperfections, but to focus on my strengths and passions and allow myself to stand happily and confidently in my own shoes and create freely and authentically. That’s where the magic lives.
Even though “This Year’s Been Hell” there must have been some amazing things about the last year that helped fuel this new album. How has this last year impacted your creative process and music-making?
Even though the past year and half has been tough, having an album to work on and a creative space to work in, has saved my butt. I feel very lucky, that I’ve been able to work and record with my band-mate and house-mate Matthew Angus throughout the pandemic.
Venues are opening back up again soon! Are you excited to get back into the swing of things? Can we hope to possibly get a tour with this album?
I’m very excited to see that the world is slowly opening up – It’s going to feel amazing to play to a live audience again. I have some shows booked with Fast Romantics this fall, but as we look towards the new year, I’ll be eager to play some of this new album live with my band as well.
What is a fun fact you wish your fans knew about you?
I’m a fan of maintaining some mystery. This is only my second solo record, so I feel that my fans are getting to know me slowly and surely, and I think that’s a nice way to do it. Maybe my new album with uncover some fun facts about me that they don’t know yet?
Spotlight – Kirty is a wrap! Big thanks for taking the time to come chat with us
Check out We Are All On Fire right now!
Keep up with Kirty right here
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