Q: “Questions” is a song with a dreamy rock quality with a chill, yet upbeat effect. What specifically inspired this song?
Kalin: Before I started creating the concept of my EP (self-reflection), I already had the lyrics. That’s how I do it every time. There are phases in my life where I write a lot. Not intentionally, it just happens. The lyrics simply appear in my mind and the next thing I do is write them down. Often, they’ve already have a structure and a melody. That’s how it was with “Questions.” Then I interpret it for myself within the narrative of the EP. The theme of self-reflection shows the course of depression from its worst moments in the healing process to the point where you feel happy, like you can actually start giving advice to others. Questions are placed in the second part of this story when the protagonists develops a new view on life answering his questions. For me, it’s one of my most positive and powerful songs. In times of despair, it reminds me to never give up.
Q: What was your favorite part about making this song, “Questions”?
Kalin: The singing. I remember that I needed more than four hours before I was happy with it. The thing was, over time, I became more and more confident with my voice. I realized this when I recorded the parts over and over again. In the second verse, you can hear how sore my voice had become. I liked that. Playing drums on the last part of the song was not bad too.
Q: How did you first get into music? What inspired you to start writing or creating your own?
Kalin: As a kid, I took some keyboard lessons for one or two years. Maybe it was the teacher or the old folk songs I didn’t even know before playing them but for me, it was a very boring experience. Later, I chose music for my oral exam in high school. I chose it mainly because I was fairly good in music theory. I also had to sing a song accompanying myself on an instrument of my choice. I picked “Your Song” by Elton John. It took me half a year to play it flawlessly. However, for me, it was the first big project I brought to an end. After that experiment, music didn’t get its hands off me. At 19, I was falling in love with Led Zeppelin and started playing guitar. Soon after, I bought my first bass and when my best friend showed me Logic, a program I could use to record music, I became obsessed with it. The first song I wrote was a song for my girlfriend called “Kiwi Girl”. It was mainly influenced by Oasis’ “Songbird” and Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.” I think I was falling in love with music after understanding that I can do it on my own. In music you can do whatever you want; there are not restrictions or rules you have to respect. That’s what I like about it.
Q: What were some difficult parts about making this song?
Kalin: Definitely the mixing. I had so many tracks that I lost the overview. Well, and the vocoder! I needed days before the robotic vocals had the sound that I was going for.
Q: Who do you cite as an inspiration for your music, generally? Whether as a professional inspiration or in your personal life?
Kalin: I would say that Kevin Parker’s project Tame Impala is my biggest influence. Before I discovered his music, I always thought that I had to do music collectively as a band. The singer-songwriter genre didn’t spring into my mind at first. Being the guy with nothing but a guitar wasn’t something I originally saw myself doing. Regardless, recording songs with a bunch of instruments on my own is exactly the thing I want to do right now. It gives me the possibility to express myself fully. I can imagine myself working together with other musicians again for a song or an EP or even an entire album. But I think I need to freedom to do it on my own if I want that.
Q: Are you currently working on any projects we should look out for?
Kalin: Yes! Absolutely. On May 12th, I will perform my song “Rousseau” together with a friend in the Goodbye Babylon Studios and it will be filmed. I am also working on a new EP with that same friend, Lawrence. We are experimenting a lot with synthesizers after I bough myself an old Roland Juno 106. It feels very good, so stay tuned! I try to post as many things as I can on Instagram to share the process with my fans. So if you haven’t already, follow me on there!
Interviewed by Kat Rendon