• Kathryn Rollins 'Cut & Paste It'

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5 minutes with Kathryn Rollins

Posted on 25 Aug 2014

Taking a new direction with her songwriting and sound, Melbourne's Kathryn Rollins sat down with us for 5 minutes to answer a few questions. 

What’s your earliest memory of music?

I remember dancing in the living room to Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’, or changing the speed on my dad’s record player so that the singers would sound like chipmunks.

What was the first instrument you picked up?

I remember always knowing I wanted to sing but being really shy, my first instrument was piano at around 6 years old, my dad insisted I learn that before I learn violin which for some reason I was obsessed with. I then remember playing the upright piano at our house when I was pretty young and also holding onto the leg of it to stop them from taking me to lessons.

Which instruments do you tend to use?

I write a lot using drum samples, MIDI keyboard and vocals. Sometimes I play the guitar as well.

Can you remember the first song you wrote?

I’m not sure if it was the very first one, but I remember writing this love song and only knowing like two or three chords on the piano and then reading it back a couple of years later and being confused by both the key I was trying to write in (or lack thereof) and the hilarious cliched lyrics. I was around 12 years old at that time.

Do you like writing alone, or do you prefer to collaborate?

When I’m writing for myself I like to have some time to write alone and gather my thoughts, meditate on my direction and then bring it to someone who I trust to help me finish it. Although, I’ve also recently had some experiences collaborating from scratch with different people and that has also been really fun.

What part of songwriting do you find the hardest?

Finishing. The start of writing a song is really exciting to me, it holds all of this potential and then as the idea becomes more cemented sometimes it’s harder to get fresh perspective and take it to that next level, that’s where I find having collaborators on board especially helpful.

What inspired you to write music?

I always wanted to make music. I was obsessed with it from a very young age. It’s probably a combination of genetics and upbringing, I was always watching my dad play music, but I also knew I wanted to sing from very early on. When I discovered songwriting at age 12 I was instantly drawn to it and became obsessed with it really quickly. The combination of expressing emotions/ideas and also creating this beautiful art form was irresistible to me.

How would you classify the music you make?

Epic, sci-fi inspired, dark, beatsy, a little left of centre and sensual.

How often and how long do you practice?

I practice at least once a week with my full set up. I play music most days and practice my live set more frequently if I have gigs coming up.

Were you influenced by other records or artists? Which ones?

I have a large number of influences but the main ones that have really stuck with me long term would be Radiohead/Thom Yorke, Bon Iver, Jeff Buckley, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Pharrell Williams, Fever Ray/The Knife, Grimes, Ta-ku, and PJ Harvey.

Where do you draw influences from?

I listen to Soundcloud a lot to find new music and cool upcoming producers, I also follow online publications on social media to get the latest. I also watch YouTube videos and fall into the internet black hole on occasion.

Favourite lyric of one of your songs?

‘I’m sipping on this slow traction following my gut reaction / kissing the lips of silence oh my mind is my truest find / and I’m drinking the dreams of kings / wondering what might begin to sing’

CD/Vinyl/Mp3? Why?

Realistically, MP3s, purely because most everything I have and use regularly now is digital. I either listen to music on my computer or my phone. Occasionally I listen to vinyl, but it’s rare, I feel like I should do it more often. To my mind CDs are already becoming redundant. My computer doesn’t even have a CD drive.

What’s next for Kathryn Rollins?

More writing! More live shows! More releases! More fun!

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