Are you suffering from post-band-breakup depression after Snakadaktal? Well, we’ve got the right remedy for you: presenting Kagu. Guitar and vocal man Sean Heathcliff (and the man who puts the “daktal” in Snakadaktal) has started his new music venture called Kagu. And cue cheers from music lovers everywhere and proud Melbournites. We’re especially lucky enough to premiere his track Human, so read on to learn more about this artist before you discover the treasure at the end!
Snakadaktal solo project, Kagu, has a sense of familiarity but with a new and fresh conviction – dreamy and sombre at times, he will easily win you over.
Prior to Kagu, Sean was part of success story, indie electro dream pop band called Snakadaktal. After winning the Triple J Unearthed High winners for 2011, these kids quickly drew attention in the Australian music scene. They played in big festivals such as Laneway and Splendour in The Grass, dropped two EPs and toured with big acts like Alt-J. But enough about Snakadaktal. That’s old news. The reason I mention these things is to give you an idea of how far these guys went and the potential for their new musical endevours such as Kagu.
From what I can gather from Kagu’s couple tracks, there’s a degree of familiarity within his sound – yet there’s something new and fresh present. It’s dreamy, somber and at times a little folky, but still something that previous Snakadaktal fans can relate to. It is also quite raw and organic. I’m thinking The XX but less electro, maybe even a little bit of Angus Stone vibes going on. If you’re a hardcore Snakadaktal fan, you may even describe it as a fully fleshed Sun I.
Shadow Of the Wind starts with a toned down, blithely guitar pick, and is decorated by flickering Rhodes. The guitars have a great tone, making me second guess if he’s playing bass on the high notes. Nonetheless, the song is full bodied and intricate – there’s a flow to it as it pulls and pushes. Sean’s vocals are nicely showcased – he’s got the perfect natural tone, effortless and sits nicely on top of the ambience. I think the visual equivalent would be drinking coffee that’s the absolute perfect temperature.
In this track there is a strong spatial theme going on with the waving sound. Words like “reflection”, “distance” and “wind” create space and builds strong imagery. The lyrics themselves are quite poetic and a tad dark.
Kagu’s other track Human takes a different step. It’s upbeat, magnetic and smooth on the ears, and all the instruments have all the right tones (in all the right places). He’s added some subtle synth and electro work, which I’m majorly digging (holla at my Snakadaktal fans). It can easily be a favourite for some.
Already there are a couple musical traits within his sound that I’m picking up. He’s precise and exact with his instrumentation, especially with the ticking of the guitars. In terms of his vocals, he applies a certain flow which allows him to draw out certain phrases.
He’s enlisted help from old mate Dan Hume who he previously worked with during his time at Snakadaktal. If Shadow Of the Wind and Human are any indicator of what’s the come in Kagu’s upcoming debut release, then I think we all have something good in store. In due time guys. In due time.
HAPPY: It’s super exciting to hear some new tunes from the Snakadaktal team.What bought on the new project Kagu? And were you inspired by birds?
KAGU: Music is just something I’ll always do a lot of. I really just enjoy it. So when Snaka ended I was still writing songs and then just knew after a bit that I really wanted to keep focusing on that. So Kagu came quite naturally. I guess I wanted to write a lot more music, so it made sense to start Kagu. Though unfortunately no bird inspiration yet .
HAPPY: What else can we expect from your upcoming EP?
KAGU: More Music
HAPPY: How can you describe your previous rapid success, especially getting to tour with big acts such as Alt-J? And are you hoping for the same clout with your new project?
KAGU: It was such a grand experience. Though it probably happened a bit to quick for our age and dynamic. Playing with Alt-J was crazy; you learn so much at those shows. Their set up… holy moly…. just so incredibly professional and precise. I don’t want to enter into Kagu with any expectations. I just want write some songs and enjoy the whole process.
HAPPY: Who are your musical influences / inspirations, especially for this project?
HAPPY: We like our local musicians. Can you name a few Aussie acts that you’re currently into?
HAPPY: Be honest, did you vote for Taylor Swift in the Hottest 100? But seriously, who made it in your top 10?
KAGU: I prefer her earlier stuff……
Beck – Blue Moon, Beck – Morning, The War On Drugs – Red Eye, The War On Drugs – Under the Pressure, Caribuo – Can’t Do Without You, Alt J – Hunger Of The Pine, Sia – Chandelier, Banoffee – Got It, The Harpoons – Unforgettable, Chet Faker – Talk is Cheap.
HAPPY: What makes you happy?
KAGU: Haha. Good question. A large body of water, cheese of any kind, being productive, silence, friends, smiles, life, space, thoughts and a well oiled imagination.
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