I’m not a huge fan of the music of Kelly Lee Owens, but I am a huge fan of this interview:
“I grew up in a working class village in Wales and choirs were part of everyday life,” explains Owens. “It’s almost like National Service; everybody has to join a choir. People talk about this idea of finding your voice and I think that’s what happened when I was listening to those choirs. Hard men, ex-miners in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, singing with so much passion. Music had never hit me like that before. It made me want to explore my own voice. How could I express my emotions with this sound?
“The next step was Kate Bush,” she says, laughing.
Of course that’s how it works: you go from Welsh miners’ choirs to Kate Bush and then you become a successful musician. (Also: “My God, don’t you miss that? Don’t you miss hearing something that good in the Top 5?”) Later:
Much as I love working on the laptop, there is something about a machine like Dark Time that I find truly inspiring. You can program whatever you want and it doesn’t matter if it’s correct or not. It’s as if analogue is designed to go wrong because you always make mistakes. You press this button or put the kick here instead of here. So much of my stuff has that. I wish you could get plugins to fuck up more than they do. I think we need more of that randomness in music!
When the interviewer agrees and continues, “Obviously, you can do mouse clicks just as easily,” KLO replies,
But is it as much fun? Can you still create chaos? Will that kick be ridiculously late? Are you interested in making perfect music? I’m not. What does that even mean? Perfect music. What is perfect? A lot of time in the studio seems to be spent reintroducing variation and accident. I suppose you might call it humanness. Nudging things forward, nudging them back, dipping the volumes, trying to keep the listener engaged…. Analogue keeps things interesting. It rebels against stability.
Back to the rough ground!