Enter the ethereal plane with the mad genius of Kamandi. The burgeoning New Zealander producer and DJ is known for weaving together sonic worlds that intangle listeners in its pulsating and dazzling soundscape. His new album, Voices, is an awe-inspiring construction of raw emotion and fluttery vibes that highlights his masterful artistic vision. We shine a spotlight on Kamandi and learn about what makes him tick in our new interview.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
Moody and sporadic, but I also want people to form their own ideas. Sometimes describing music feels like describing colours.
What influenced you to gravitate towards producing atmospheric/cinematic music?
I guess the whole point of a lot of film music is to inject feeling into a scene. I want my music to give a feeling that I’ve had at some point, so it often lines up well with a cinematic style. I really want to make more music for movies too.
You hail from New Zealand, did any local artists or experiences draw you to being an artist? Or how did growing up in New Zealand develop your artistic vision?
I think New Zealand has lots of artists and little scenes that rubbed off on me. Growing up, my city, Christchurch was always been big on underground electronic music. I like the weird little niche’s that pop up here too, quirky bands and dodgy rappers. I’m biased but I think my music probably sounds a bit like my city. Sometimes cold and suburban and then you change track and you’re in some dingy house party or a warehouse party, or a dimly lit club off of the strip, then you’re outside coming down by the Avon River, then you’re in your room doing not much.
Is there a meaning behind the album title, Voices? Does it connect to the song titles?
My instrumental music is like my voice. I have different ideas with these different songs so I’m speaking in different voices.
Was there an inspiration for the album or individual tracks?
I like witnessing what happens when people are tapping into that unique part of themselves. Everyone has the potential to do something in a way nobody else can. I’m just trying to tap into that for myself. I focussed on trying different things to what I have done before. Playing with new instruments and modifying tape machines and even blew the dust off my guitar for a couple of the tracks, but even more it was about just trying to switch up the actual music I was writing. I get bored in one place and if I stop doing new things then I feel like I will die.
Listening to Voices, it feels like it needs to be consumed as an album to truly connect with the underlying narrative. Do you feel this is true and if so, what is that narrative or feelings you want people to connect to?
For sure, if that’s how you felt then that’s how it is. I’ll leave the narrative up to whoever is listening.
If you could pick the ideal place for someone to listen to Voices, where would it be?
I want to say somewhere exotic but realistically it’s probably parked up on the port hills looking over my grimy city at night time.
Do you prefer to produce singles or EP/albums?
I like doing it both, I like making music.
What was it like working with Azizi Gibson and producing for other artists? How does it change your creative process, if any?
With Azizi, first and foremost that’s my close friend, so when we make music its never been too hard to find the junction where our style meets. He’s always been respectful of what I do and same for me with him. I can’t be completely ambient or whatever with an Azizi record so we definitely still cater these records to each other’s strengths. It’s similar with other singers and rappers that I’ve worked with, we just need to find our vibe on a personal level first then music can happen. I mean, sometimes with certain artists it’s just business and no connection, especially with super commercial music that exists just to be sold, but really I don’t involve myself with that soulless part of the industry anymore. Tried it, hated it.
You’ve scored for Dior and Netflix, how did their brand play into the writing process? Did that add any challenges?
For these ones I really didn’t have to do anything extra, they came to me asking for songs I had already made and put into the world so that was flattering. I’m fully open to scoring though, if the right opportunity presents itself, but for these ones, I didn’t have to hash out any music separate to what I was already doing. I have some more of these types of syncs about to come out soon too which is cool.
What’s Next for Kamandi? Anything you want to tell the readers?
This interview has reminded me how much I want to make music for movies so if anyone reading this knows any movie boys/girls, let them know. Thanks to anyone who makes time to listen to my music, most people who make music just want to be heard, that’s me too.
Listen to Kamandi’s Voices below or follow this link for more options.