With his debut single Zoom In still fresh to the world, Kanada the Loop is as new as it gets. Aside from the single, however, we knew almost nothing about him.
Often when an artist’s debut single is pitched to you, it’ll come with a story. A tale that measures the significance of their song through heartbreak, glory, anger, or any of the above. With Kanada the Loop, there wasn’t a story. Just a confident passing of the track: “listen to this”.
With Zoom In, that was enough. It’s a killer track from a brand new Australian talent, and one who is obviously, authentically doing this for himself. We spoke to Kanada the Loop to find out more about him (as much as we could, that is – his name isn’t something he’s willing to share), from his obsession with the loveliest bits of internet culture to his willingness to mess things up on the road to getting things right.
HAPPY: It’s a rare opportunity that I get to interview someone I know absolutely almost nothing about. So, for other people who are in the same boat, is there an elevator pitch of the project that you have in your head?
KANADA: There is, but I still don’t know if I understand it myself, to be honest, I think I’ve tried to pitch so many things to people and like, I just don’t know if it’s actually come across in the way that I thought it was going to come across, and I don’t know if their reaction to it was what they’re actually thinking it is. They’re like, ‘yeah, I get it’, but in my head, I’m like, ‘I don’t know if you do, and I don’t know if I do either.’ But in saying that, I think I’m just trying to do something… as lame as this sounds, I think I’m trying to do something honest for myself. And it might actually be a thing of laziness, of I can’t be bothered going down a path that someone else has gone and it has worked, or go down a path that’s a really cool thing. Not that cool things aren’t cool, but I just don’t think I can pull it off.
HAPPY: I feel like authenticity, like people are more clued into that than ever. There’s this new wave of people who are doing really well just being themselves, and I think that’s good for art at large.
KANADA: Yeah. I think it’s such a thing these days as well, not only to be yourself, but to push the boundaries of what yourself really is. And like, what people are really like at home. You know how everything has blown up about like DIY stuff or like, ‘do you guys remember when people used to do this?’ Or ‘do you guys do this at home when you’re alone?’ Or ‘do you guys have this sort of thing happen to you in your mind’ or whatever? And it’s bigger than ever. And I think it’s such a cool thing for me to hear because I’m like, ‘yes, I do really like that’, and I have even further thoughts on that than what you’ve said. So, I’m going to talk about them too.
HAPPY: To get a picture of how you work, is there a home setup that you work on? Like, what do you usually demo on? How does a song usually come together?
KANADA: It comes together in a lot of ways, to be honest. But I have my own home studio. This is my bedroom, and then I have another little room just over there, but it’s pretty much just laptop, a guitar, and that’s pretty much all I used. I did have a MIDI keyboard, but I don’t even use it. I just straight up play it on the laptop.
HAPPY: I’ve come that way, too. You stop seeing A, S, D and start seeing C,D, E.
KANADA: Yeah, totally. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing, then I have to count on… I don’t know. There’s so many ways of making music these days that I don’t even think you sometimes need any gear whatsoever. You don’t even need a guitar or a keyboard. You could pretty much make a whole record with Splice, you know what I mean?
HAPPY: Oh, and people do! You’re right. It seems like you’re pretty happy to draw inspiration from pretty much wherever. So, is there a certain thing or a certain quality about something that grabs your attention the most?
KANADA: I think, yeah, it still goes back to the whole thing of… I don’t know. It seems as though the world is getting better at filtering good stuff through. I mean, people are getting better at like calling out BS and people are getting nicer about continuing a front that might be progressive in the best possible way. So I think everything that’s new that’s coming out seems to be the biggest inspiration, because I’m like, ‘yeah, that made it through for a reason’. There’s definitely some dumb shit that makes it through, but it’s easy for everyone else to see that. You know what I mean? Like, we can see when a pop star does like a pretty bad song or says something kind of questionable, and it’s like ‘they shouldn’t have said that’. But I think it’s just everything that just keeps rolling. Everything that comes out pretty much every day is like a new piece of information that seems to be inspiring in its own way.
HAPPY: I was talking to someone about this the other day – the difference between your ‘input’ and your ‘output’ mode as an artist. Your output mode can be draining. It can be mentally and physically draining. And then you need to actually spend some time going back into input mode where you’re absorbing and you’re figuring out, what’s what’s the lightbulb moment for the next thing I’m going to do? So do you have a ritual or a way that you usually go about that? Or is it an ‘always on’ thing at the moment?
KANADA: It’s definitely an ‘always on’ thing. I don’t know. I’ve got into this new habit where I don’t give any time to… if I have an idea, I’m like, ‘I might incorporate that into a song later on or something’. But I’m like, ‘nah, I’m going to go do that now’, and I would stop whatever I’m doing right then and there. Not like I go to a studio or whatever, but record it on my phone and get it down, and I’ll be just talking to my phone like, ‘it’ll go this way. The singing will be like… and the drums will be like…’, and I’m just going through every single thing. And then it’s so funny because that lightbulb moment might not have even been in that voice memo. But then when I try to incorporate those voice memos into an actual demo, that might be the lightbulb moment. So, I think I know all those moments can just… you know, you think you have a lightbulb moment, but then you don’t. But then that lack spurs on the actual lightbulb moment?
HAPPY: You’re totally right. Sometimes, something different comes out in the actual process of trying to get where you’re looking. If that makes sense.
KANADA: And that’s the funnest thing about it. Like, that’s why… I almost know zero music theory whatsoever. I was trying to ask people how to play certain chords together, and I was like, ‘I don’t know what I mean, I don’t know what’s going on’. And sometimes, when I’ve been trying to practice a song for doing a live show or something, I’m like, ‘I don’t even know how to play this part that I wrote, and I don’t know what it is’ or whatever. But I feel like that is exactly what you said. It’s the whole thing of the journey – you start something, and you try to do this, and you don’t achieve it. But that was the fucking best possibility that came out of that, because if you did achieve it more than often, it’s probably going to be like someone else’s song.
HAPPY: Yeah, exactly. So, maybe walk me through that… I mean, what was the version of that process for Zoom In?
KANADA: Well, I think that’s the thing. You know, you said ‘what’s the lightbulb moment?’ I think the lightbulb moment is me trying to copy somebody else’s lightbulb moment. I think it’s just like everyone else’s cool things I’m just combining into my own song or trying to. And then it ends up as my own kind of thing and yeah, that’s pretty much it.
HAPPY: Well, everyone’s doing that anyway, but most people just don’t tell anybody. They keep it a secret.
KANADA: You got to be honest about it because like – everyone knows. Everyone’s woke as fuck now. You’re not going to get away with it.
HAPPY: Yeah, it’s like, ‘oh, that sounds really like the chord progression in a Tom Petty song’. And so many people have looked me in the eyes and been like, ‘oh, really? That’s weird.’ So no, it’s refreshing. And is Zoom In kind of a blueprint of like what you might be releasing in future as well?
KANADA: That’s the thing. Again, I don’t know how to replicate things to what I’m actually doing, so I don’t even think I could write another song like that if I tried. Like, I have tried and it didn’t work.
HAPPY: Cool. Well, awesome. We don’t know what to expect then.
KANADA: Don’t expect any more of that.
HAPPY: In the small blurb I did get sent over, it said you’re super inspired by like internet culture. We’ve talked about it a bit, but are there any reference points that you really keep coming back to?
KANADA: I think it’s just the most active parts of the internet. I mean, you can find some very old stupid stuff on the internet, but there’s also people on the internet every day saying stuff that could potentially change your life. You know what I mean? And I think a lot of those places seem to be like, you know, creators that are on YouTube or Twitch or Discord or any of those sort of live streaming things. I think it’s easier to pick stuff out when you get to know a community and you can filter it a bit better. That’s why I wouldn’t say just Twitter or Instagram – those sort of places. Sometimes, they can be. But like, I think it’s moreso the places that are community orientated. It’s like the whole blockchain thing. They’re filtering out the bad stuff. And if you have a community around you, you’re more likely to get the good parts out of it. So those are the places that I’m going to go to, that sort of stuff.
HAPPY: And something interesting that has happened with everything being about the end user and algorithms – now whatever network you are on, it just ends up giving you the shit that you were looking for anyway.
KANADA: Yeah, that’s right
HAPPY: It’s also a litmus test in its own way. Your network doesn’t matter much anymore – if something really great happens on TikTok, it’s probably going to make it out of TikTok to wherever you are.
KANADA: Yeah, yeah. And that’s a fair point. But there’s also like not just the entertaining stuff. There’s also this stuff that’s more like, you know, political stuff or activist stuff, or stuff that’s going to not only improve your life, but it might actually make it through to improve other people’s lives, or teach you something. I think those are the places where you can definitely really get into it and not, you know, be like, ‘I hate it because it’s taking up so much of my time’ or whatever. It might actually be worth your time.
HAPPY: Definitely. And is that feeling something that you’d want to elicit in somebody else with one of the songs you put out?
KANADA: Maybe. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if I have talked about it, or like been talking about it in a song, but I’ll try. I’ll try to allude to it.
Zoom In is out now. Stream or purchase the track here.