What is your name and role within Kyoshi Mother?
My name is Leah Wilkie, I front the band playing keys and singing, and I do quite a lot of the song writing as well.
Where are you currently based?
I live in Newtown, the boys all live in and around Newtown and Marrickville too so we’re more or less based in Sydney’s Inner west – a great hub for local artists.
What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been so far?
Well, Covid for me personally was amazing. I loved being able to slow down, and to do a lot of self-work and self-reflection. We don’t get a lot of opportunity to do that in our society, we really have to make time for ourselves if we want it. I felt that collectively too, everybody really needed to realise the importance of slowing down and learning to sit with ourselves. On the other side of that, I am also excited that things are opening up again for everybody – although I do hope that everyone can find a bit more of a balance coming out of their experience in 2020.
Your new single ‘Mother’ is out today, what influenced the sound and song writing?
Collective feminine energy was the big inspiration for Mother! I really felt energised by a lot of the amazing women in my life, and inspired by some of the leading female artists in the scene too like; Allysha Joy, Moonchild and Nai Palm. I really wanted to honour the creativity, and the divinity that lies within us and is all around, through nature, connectivity and love.
How did you go about writing Mother?
Well, I was sitting at the piano, I had the bass line and the vocal melody in my head already, and then I settled on some chords. The lyrics really just flowed straight out of me at the time – something that does not happen often in the writing process for me. It was something that I just really needed to express – It was also a reminder to myself to honour my own creativity and divine femininity too. To always show myself more love!
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
We did most of the recording at Coda Audio and at Yianni’s house (our guitarist and synth player) over 2019 with our recording engineer Felix Abrahams. Felix also mixed our record, we did that at his place, and Madalyn Henly from Viking Lounge Studio is our mastering engineer.
How did you approach the recording process?
We went in a little blind, it being our first record and all. We definitely learnt a lot coming out of the experience, we know what we would do again and what we would totally change next time round. But we had a lot of fun recording and adding parts in, we really took our time with everything too. We preferred to sit on ideas and flesh things out as they came rather than rushing.
You’re playing 8th April at Waywards – Newtown, what do you have in store for this gig?
Yes! We are so so excited for this show, I am bursting to play live again. The show is going to be huge, we’ll be playing some tunes off our upcoming record, there will be ethereal soundscapes and improvised interludes and jams (amongst other things) – we always love throwing in some improv and just vibe off each other.
You have a debut album pencilled in for around August 2021, can you give us a hint of what to expect?
The love child of a caramel slice and a sticky date pudding, but for your ears.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been loving Edu Lobo’s album Cantiga De Longe, some delicious Brazilian music, Yussef Dayes’ and Tom Misch’s latest creation What Kinda Music, Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange – some crazy creators from Melbourne, and Epoch by Alfa Mist.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love to read actually, always got a couple of books on the go. I practice yoga often, I run small groups for friends too – honestly it keeps me sane! I’ve just started running women’s circles too – something I am extremely excited about continuing. Cooking is also a very cathartic practice for me. I’m also a music teacher, so I pour lots of my energy into that. I absolutely adore the crazy cycle of knowledge, and sharing something that I’m so passionate about with others is just so incredibly rewarding.
What’s planned for 2021?
For me, 2021 is all about honouring my own needs, and really becoming the person I want to be, surrounding myself with beautiful humans, and creating my own opportunities. I’m also really excited to see how Kyoshi’s path unfolds this year, really focus on expanding our flavour but mostly just really enjoying one another and enjoying the journey.