Set to release her new album next month, Katrin Hahner – aka KENICHI & THE SUN – has previously received acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, Gold Flake Paint and BBC 6Music’s Lauren Laverne.
Creating utterly enchanting dark-pop offerings, it’s impossible not become captivated by the immersive and powerful soundscapes she creates.
We caught up with Katrin to find out more…
Hi Kenichi & The Sun, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi, thanks for the invitation, Get Her Ears! Delighted to be here. I love to create music and art. I turn on/off the lightswitch in my kitchen with my right foot. I like solitary walks and hikes. I love to look at the sky. I just released the first single ‘Splendour’ of my new album WHITE FIRE which will be out April 3rd. I am looking for patterns in everything and am always ready and willing to be amazed.
How did you initially start creating music?
Someone left their electric guitar and an amplifier in our shared art studio in Art Academy and after staring at it for a while I finally picked it up and subsequently recorded three albums over the next few years under the name MISS KENICHI. In 2019 that transformed into KENICHI & THE SUN. I created the music for a huge theatre production in Iceland and wrote the music for art performances that were performed in contemporary dance spaces all over Europe, doing film scores for video artists and collaborating with a lot of really inspiring people completely changed my way of writing and producing the songs. It really expanded my horizon of whats possible and I allowed all these musical influences to play out on WHITE FIRE. That was very liberating.
Your new album WHITE FIRE is out 3rd April 2020 – can you tell us what it’s all about? Are there any themes running throughout the album?
It really is about transformation and an opening that happens through something like a rock bottom. The core of the fire where the heat is strongest is glowing white. Even the ashes get burned in there. Only very few things remain. Medicine people have forever used the fire to turn previously toxic materials into healing medicine. I felt like I threw my previous experiences, my assumptions, my self imagery into that fire and allowed them be transformed. There´s themes like loss and transience and the strength and wisdom that can come from going though it. I lost a great friend to suicide, my father passed away. Yet there is always a profound presence of beauty and wonder. It´s an exploration of the shadows in order to understand how to see through them. It´s a puzzle of sorts. Every song is one piece that adds to a greater picture. I am interested in life itself with all its strange mechanisms and its intensity and glory and beauty. I am always looking for ways to connect the dark and the light. Can´t have one without the other. Everything is part of the deal. Harmony and chaos, human and divine, male and female, success and failure, sacred and profane. It´s all life. It´s the full colour wheel.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Björk and Fever Ray, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
All kinds of music influences me. Everything I hear really. These two amazing artists are definitely influential, their fierce creativity and curiosity and courage is a great inspiration. My taste is pretty eclectic. My head is full of music and images, so I also love (and need) long stretches of silence (or even better: nature sound) . And then if I listen to something, I really listen. I love Talk Talk, Palestrina, Gagaku Music, Gyda Valtisdottir, Kendrick Lamar, Pauline Oliveros, My Brightest Diamond, Erykah Badu….I just made a playlist with music that inspired me during making WHITE FIRE – Check it out!
How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
Yes! Great concerts in Berlin!
And what can fans expect from your live shows?
Dreamlike. Colourful. A celebration.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
TAU, Candice Gordon, Nina Hynes, Tara Nome Doyle, Johanna Amelie, Mynolia, Dolphin Midwives, Gyda Valtisdottir, Daughters of Reykjavik.
And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
I try to not focus so much on the difficulties, but on the possibilities. Be creative, leave the playing field for a moment and change the perspective, allow the unexpected. I perceive music more like medicine. Music is not a luxury, it´s an essential nourishment. Of course I put some effort into getting it to the people. I want to have a conversation. I do not only set out to get noticed, but I want to notice the other side as well. It´s a conversation, isn´t it?
Finally, what does the rest of 2020 have in store for KENICHI & THE SUN?
The release of WHITE FIRE next month, which I am very much looking forward to. Concerts. More videos. An Exhibition. A few months in Iceland. Lots of time in nature there plus an art project I started last year. Right now I am printing an exclusive special edition art poster for my record release show in April (they came out beautifully!). A movie I did the score for called ‘We always need heroes’ by British artist Rosie Heinrich will be released later in the year. Connecting with more amazing people and getting some new work done. 2020!
WHITE FIRE, the upcoming new album from KENICHI & THE SUN, is set for release 3rd April.