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Kimbra – What’s in My Bag?

Kimbra – What’s in My Bag?

Hi my name is Kimbra and I’m at Amoeba Music. This is What’s in My Bag. The first thing that caught my eye was Björk’s ‘Post.’ It was standing out as soon as I walked in. I was quite young when I first heard it, and at the time I was really into jazz. I remember being so intrigued by Björk because I remember the melodic intuition being so emotional. Songs like ‘Possibly Maybe’ and, of course, ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ was such an incredible statement. She kind of was my portal into the avant-garde but still retained much of what I love about jazz, you know? Another artist that probably isn’t considered jazz to most people but to me, he has a very jazz mindset, is Cornelius. This album ‘Mellow Waves’ is his most recent. I discovered Cornelius in high school, with his album ‘Sensuous.’ A friend introduced me to it and I remember it being one of the first records I sat down with headphones on and thought, I want to create soundscapes like this. I want to find a way to make wide music, y’know the way things ping-ponged around. He’s the master of syncopation. He has sort of ritual in his music where he’ll start with one particular sound bonk, bonk, bonk and then kind of layer it with all these new sounds. I think that’s something I’ve continued to love as a songwriter as well you know. Finding lots of different sounds to contrast against each other and creating interesting rhythms. Speaking of my love of syncopation and rhythm, Radiohead, ‘In Rainbows.’ Most people refer ence older Radiohead records, and I’m a fan of all of them but there was something that stood out about this record. I loved the drum production on it and just the opening track ’15 Step.’ The relentless kind of drum beat, the way it kicks in, the melodies, I mean… ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Weird Fishes,’ there’s just so many incredible songs. ‘Videotaped.’ This is a highly emotional record. That one really stands out for me. I went through a really big phase in high school of prog rock and y’know more experimental, heavy music. I really loved the theatrics of bands that could start one place and then end up in a totally unexpected realm. And also bands that could be aggressive but also have a lot of groove and that’s like The Mars Volta, for me, encompassed that. The first band that I was almost uncomfortable listening to them, y’know, I was only about 15 and it was so different to the R&B that I listened to on the radio. Destiny’s Child, which I love, y’know, that’s my world. But this stuff, this took me into a space of imagination, psychedelia and this is what made me want to work with Rich Costey because he was a big part of helping produce and mix this record. Another band that I was really into for a period of my life, and still am, is Grizzly Bear. I consider Daniel Rossen to be one of the best songwriters of our time. Incredible string arrangements on this record. ‘Little Brother,’ just incredible. This album I was listening to a lot when I moved to Melbourne at 17 and I was dating someone at the time that would play this in the car you know everyday and I got obsessed with it. It was the soundtrack to the first kind of big move that I made in my life. Having to start from the ground up, making new friends and I think this was a kind of solace for me. Speaking of home, I’m from New Zealand and I was quite into punk rock around, you know, 15 and there was a band called The Mint Chicks that used to play in my hometown Hamilton. At their shows they would go absolutely wild. Kind of in a vein similar to the Mars Volta. It was a super-theatrical show. Ruben Nielsen, who went on to create Unknown Mortal Orchestra, was the guitarist in that band and his brother was the singer. So his brother was the crazy one and Ruben would just hang back doing the sneaky, vibey riffs. And then he moved to Portland with his family and developed this band super low-key, like, eh I’ll just make an album. It ended up blowing up, y’know, and we’ve become you know very good friends. Of course I’ve been a fan of his work since I was a kid I mean this record, ‘Can’t Keep Checking My Phone,’ it’s just such a funky song. This stuff is pulling on Prince, Jimi Hendrix of course. ‘The World is Crowded,’ I mean that’s a soul song. It’s just an amazing album and kind of a real testament to him as a real songwriter. Speaking of my punk rock/kind of metal phase I was really into the Blood Brothers. I have memories of me and my brother in my bedroom, we were screaming this stuff at the top of our lungs. ‘Trash Favored Trash,’ ‘Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck.’ ‘Teen Heat’ was one of my favorite songs on this record. And I later went on to title one of my own songs ‘Teen Heat’ off my last album, ‘The Golden Echo.’ I wondered if anyone would notice that I’d kind of stolen that from The Blood Brothers. Now you know. Let’s move on to some of my classical tastes. Rich Costey, who co-produced ‘The Golden Echo,’ he introduced me to Steve Reich who I didn’t really know before then. So this is a new interest of mine but I’ve got to say, I probably listen to this album once a day. If not once a day, every couple of days. It’s become meditative for me. It’s become a very important part of my ritual of grounding myself. And I respond very well to patterned music, music that’s highly repetitive. And something about this album, it just physically calms me. I’m excited to share this one because Rich Costey also introduced me to it and It’s a fascinating story how it came together. From what I understand the composer recorded an old homeless man on the street singing a hymn to himself, an old gospel hymn which was titled ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.’ The recording just starts with this man’s voice, and it’s a very broken recording, very gritty. And then as the piece progresses, an orchestra develops around it and it flourishes it into a symphony of beauty around this broken voice. And, man, if I’m ever getting a little lost in life or feeling like I need to kind of feel that sense of hope again, you know, this record kind of takes me somewhere. D’angelo, ‘Voodoo,’ classic. Just timeless. I don’t think this record will ever date or get old. It’s just the musicality is so incredible. Of course Questlove absolutely killing the pocket. Pino Paladino, I mean the bass playing is incredible. It’s the epitome of groove, this album. I mean, you can’t not move. The production is so interesting. The snares are mixed so loud always kind of above D’Angelo’s voice. So it’s really challenging to listen to the first time because, for me, it felt different to other records in the way everything was placed. He’s learned from the best. He’s obviously so inspired by Prince and all the greats, so I feel like he opened me up to a lot of other music as well. I think I’ve covered all of them. It was fabulous.

100 comments on “Kimbra – What’s in My Bag?

  1. I love how calm and soothing her talking voice is but when she sings she sounds so energetic and loud and powerful. 💕

  2. Just discovered this series.

    So cool to see an artist you love has a lot of the same taste as you, and get new recommendations from them

  3. really great episode
    crazy similar to my tastes but from a different angle

    reich is truly a perfect composer to be a future influence for kimbra, it makes me so exited to hear what's to come

  4. I love her and her music but I cant help but fall in love with just her normal voice. I could see her doing ASMR videos on the side.

  5. Respect to Kimbra and her musical tastes and influences. We seemed to grow up on similar stuff but I'm a few yrs older than her, so I HEARD IT FIRST KIMBRA!

  6. Lie Likes Music.
    I like her… and the music she listens to.

    For those who don’t know: Lie likes music is an awesome music channel.

    PLEASSSE, watch it.
    He has reviewed some bands Kimbra has chosen in this vid.

  7. Why does she seem to be auditioning? This is the first WIMB episode that I cringed at the guest the whole way.

  8. It's kind of funny how she used to have such a happy bubbly persona, but as it's become clear that she's never going to be a big star, she seems a lot more bitter and low-key… she's very talented but for whatever reason her music doesn't stick with audiences or critics very much. A little too much kitchen sink production and showing off.

  9. Seems like someone who drinks a lot of herbal tea. I also find her uncomfortably sincere, but that's more my problem than hers obviously. Liking a lot her choices though. Can't beat a bit of Radiohead.

  10. This show always picks people who nobody has hardly ever heard before and they put in Their bag artist that nobody has hardly heard before

  11. I love Radiohead so much!!! Kid A and OK computer are the two of my favorite albums of all time. However as I grow older, I get attracted more towards In Rainbows

  12. this chick is my age . she really hit the money on alot of these records !!!!!!! to great!!!! this is kinda my upbringing

  13. Cornelius is soooooo criminally underrated. Nice to see him here. Fantasma may just be my favorite record of the 90's, period.

  14. The fact that you guys showed her picking up Jeff Buckley's Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk made me so freaking happy and then it wasnt in her bag and I was so sad hahaha. Loved to see the tiny snippet of her holding it though!

  15. I felt in love with her with this vid. But her music sux xD
    But I love her music picks. Love mar volta too and björk.

  16. I've never heard of Kimbra until now but apart from even that, the way she chooses her words to the collection of musical knowledge she shares, makes me feel a little lonely because it is often difficult to find someone who can make me listen out of genuine interest.
    This episode gave me some research to do….an assignment for personal development. Well….. thanks Miss Kimbra and Amoeba Records.
    Time to waste the rest of my day!!

  17. shes fine how she is but i hope she meets someone and has some kids if thats what shes into if not thats still fine.

  18. Holy shit I don't know anyone else who liked the blood Brothers. Back to 2006

    And I totally caught that teen heat reference when I saw it

    Wow I feel like I know kimbra a lot more now

  19. jesus' blood never failed me yet, is one of the most beautiful pieces of music that i've ever experienced

  20. I just want to sit down with her and listen to music together and then hear her talk about it for hours…such an intelligent, complex artist. I also love her accent so…uh…hit me up Kimbra haha.

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