Having already amassed over 30 million streams for his debut single ‘Waiting’, winning Triple J’s Unearthed competition, and opening for the likes of Jorja Smith, it’s fair to say that Australian singer KIAN is one to keep an eye on.
Following the release of his ‘Bliss’ EP, we spoke to KIAN about his songwriting process, growing up, and more…
...the idea of starting to work life out and the expectation of having to know who you are, what you want to do and where you want to go can be pretty scary. Finding yourself and expressing yourself in a new stage of life can be tough and weird, especially when you’re doing it through music...
COUP DE MAIN: What was it about the song ‘Bliss’ that made you want to name the EP after it?
KIAN: I had this overwhelming connection to the chord progression with 'Bliss' and the visualisation of the sunflowers for the whole EP came to me around the time of that song. 'Bliss' also reflected the body of work in the strongest way, representing what I felt like I was trying to express through all the songs. It’s about growing into life along with all the pressures and challenges that come along with it. There are also some dark tones that underlie it all, and it’s all wrapped up nicely in that song.
CDM: Which song on the ‘Bliss’ EP are you lyrically most proud of?
KIAN: It’d be 'Summertime Insecurities'. It’s the song that I relate to the most with the narrative around it and how the melody works strongly with the lyrics.
CDM: I think ‘Childism’ is my favourite song on the EP, it touches on the ideas around growing up so accurately. In that song you sing, “So boredom just got bored of me / Being young's been haunting me,” why do you think that being young and growing up, is such a scary part of life?
KIAN: I just think the idea of starting to work life out and the expectation of having to know who you are, what you want to do and where you want to go can be pretty scary. Finding yourself and expressing yourself in a new stage of life can be tough and weird, especially when you’re doing it through music and wanting people to like what you create.
CDM: In the second verse you say, “Music takes me to a better place.” What do you want people to take away from listening to your music?
KIAN: I just hope that people are able to identify with my story. Most of these songs come from real-life experiences so I hope that people who get it, feel something from the music. I also hope that I’m showing what I can do as a songwriter and people can see and feel that.
CDM: The ‘Reminiscence’ interlude is so beautiful! What was running through your mind when you were writing those lines?
KIAN: For this track, my friends had an awesome beat that just clicked with me. It helped me express and create something that would help lead people into the world of the piece. The idea of the interlude is about finding new love and hoping that it has longevity.
CDM: Is the intro of ‘Telephone’ an actual job you got fired from? What was the job?
KIAN: It comes from a scenario from when I was working at a local store in my town to get some money for instruments. It got really busy touring with Baker Boy in Australia and I couldn’t really find the time to work there anymore.
CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
KIAN: It changes from session to session, but most of the time I start with some chord progressions on guitar and start to build ideas around those. Sometimes I’ll have a beat in mind as well that’ll help drive the vibe of the song. I write all the lyrics as raps and then just work them into melodies around the chords.
CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
KIAN: A great song really connects with people on so many levels. I remember seeing Rex Orange County and watching the crowd connect with all of his music, it made me realise how one story can relate to so many individuals.
CDM: If K.I.A.N. was an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
KIAN: Kindness, Intelligence, Appreciation, Never give up.
CDM: If you were to curate your own music festival, who would you want to play and what would the festival be called?
KIAN: Extroverted Introverts Club: Frank Ocean, Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, SZA, Earl Sweatshirt, Rex Orange County, Duckwrth, Yeek, Clairo, Steve Lacy, Omar Apollo, and Toro Y Moi.
CDM: If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
KIAN: The keys to Madison Square Garden or an Audi R8.
KIAN’s ‘Bliss’ EP is out now - click here to purchase and watch the ‘Waiting’ music video below…