Interviews

Keonico chats his incredible new album Be Someone Else

It’s been a little under a week now since Sydney producer Keonico dropped his latest album Be Someone Else, and since then, we’ve listened multiple times, picking up new elements with each listen.

So fresh off the album’s release, we caught up with Keonico to chat about how the album came together, musical identity, and what the future holds.

Fresh off the release of his new album Be Someone Else, we caught up with Sydney-based producer Keonico for a chat.

HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?

KEONICO: Hey guys! I’m doing great thanks! At the moment, I’m currently waiting for uni to start. In the meantime, I’ve been working on some really cool music which should hopefully be out in the next few months. So, I’m super excited to be able to share that with everybody!

HAPPY: We’re loving the new album! How are you feeling now that it’s out in the world?

KEONICO: Thank you so much! Yeah, I mean it feels great to finally have it off my shoulders. I had most of the record finished in October last year, and even then, I was really eager to release it. Sometimes you just have to be patient, and I think that was an important lesson I learnt from the album.

HAPPY: It’s got a strong theme of musical identity… could you talk us through the idea/ideas that inspired this album?

KEONICO: I’ve always found musical identity something quite challenging for myself as an artist. Most of the music I make is based around how I’m feeling at the time, and because of that, I find myself creating almost a new sound for myself every time I make a song.

The reason I think I do this is because of how I look at the ‘bigger picture’ of things. I love conceptual ideas, projects that seem larger than life and just bursting full of creativity. Replicating this in my music has forever been an approach of mine. Every record I have released has formed around some form of ‘big idea’, that be childhood nostalgia, growing up, or in the case of this album, musical identity.

Right from the beginning of the album-making process, I had this idea in mind. It was very interesting to explore. I had to experiment with completely new ways of producing music. That be creating lo-fi hip-hop instrumentals or composing eight-minute ambient techno inspired songs. Every song was different, and because of this, was both challenging too.

HAPPY: There’s a lot going on in this record, sound wise. How long did it take to put ‘Be Someone Else’ together?

KEONICO: Yeah well, the album took roughly around five months to put together. The production for the record was done in October, whilst most of the vocals weren’t done until late November.

The vocal part of a song always, for me at least, takes the longest time out of everything. You basically have to sell yourself as an artist to the person you’d like to work with, and then really just hope for the best that they’ll be interested. I must have reached out to at least thirty different artists before I found three that were able to work with me. It’s hard when you don’t really have a reputation to get their attention. Although, in saying this, I was extremely lucky to be able to work with the talented people that featured on this record; Hannah Schmidli, Allyene, and Flxgod.

HAPPY: You spent a bit of time playing in DEFRAxION… what are the biggest differences between working collaboratively and alone?

KEONICO: Well for starters, Keonico hasn’t failed (yet at least). DEFRAxION lasted not even two months before it fell apart. That project was basically an extremely poor and ill-thought effort by three of my mates at school to get into parties in Year 11.

The story goes, we’d heard of this DJ group at school called Milfod Sound. They had this mash-up song on Soundcloud with nearly 3000 plays. My mates and I thought, if we did the same, before long we’d be playing at high-school parties all around Sydney. Long story short, we uploaded a Taylor Swift / Coldplay mash-up to Soundcloud which within a week was permanently removed from all social platforms and resulted in one of my mates getting banned from Facebook… I can say from that experience, that I much prefer making music on my own.

HAPPY: Do you think your time in that group still influences the music you make today?

KEONICO: Yeah definitely. Despite how poorly DEFRAxION went, it was really the sole reason I started making music in the first place. It was my first attempt at arranging music on a computer and had a big impact on how I viewed music and music production. Without DEFRAxION’s failure, Keonico would have never begun. So, in that regard, yes, it has had a huge influence pushing myself to where I am today.

HAPPY: Are there any particular artists you’re really loving at the moment?

KEONICO: There are so many amazing artists I’ve been listening to recently. I’m absolutely loving Julia Jacklin’s new album Crushing! The songwriting on that record is just beautiful. I’ve also been getting around Tourist’s new album Everyday. He’s done an excellent job with the sound design and production behind the LP.

There’s also a heap of young Aussie artists that are doing some amazing stuff at the moment. At the start of the year I found this guy from Melbourne by the name of BEAKIN. He dropped two singles this year titled Momentary and Flight which are just brilliant. They remind me a lot of some early ODESZA / BeachesBeaches music which I’m a huge fan of.

There’s this other group of artists from Brisbane such as COLU, Tokyo Twilight, DVNA and Clawmachine that I’ve been following for the past few years who have been creating some awesome tunes. Even from Sydney, artists like Zion Garcia, Frantik Krantik, SUPAHONEY, Spilt Milk, Black Iguana and SPREE are all absolutely killing it with their new music.

HAPPY: What’s next for Keonico? Any other exciting plans in the works?

KEONICO: Yes, there is! I can’t wait to share some of the new music I’m working on at the moment. I’ll hopefully be dropping them over the next few months. You can jump onto my social pages to hear when they’ll be releasing!

HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!

KEONICO: Thank you very much for having me!

Be Someone Else is available now. Listen above.