Thank you, VENTS! I have been good, especially since the 26th of July, when my solo-project Kieli released the debut EP Tick Tick Talk.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Here, gone”?
“Here, gone” is a very personal song based on feelings of being overwhelmed and scattered – like your own thoughts are dissolving you. I find that when I think too much (which I often do), it is like being here and gone at the same time. When I wrote “Here, gone”, I found a kind of mantra in the words “here, gone”/“here, not gone”, which I sing in several songs on the EP. The sounds and words of “Here, gone” describe the process of questioning and accepting who you are in the moment, so that you are able to let some things go, and other things grow. “Here, gone” helps me re-discover myself over and over again, and I hope it can do the same for others.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Not really an event, but more a long-lasting feeling that I think is best described in the song’s phrase: “I am the distraction, I am the noise. I want to be music, am I only a voice?” When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would reply “music”. I think that is because I learned very early on about the power of music and how it can help us see and express ourselves in a more integrated way.
The single comes off your new EP Tick Tick Talk – what’s the story behind the title?
The EP has the same name as its 4th track, which is the oldest song on the EP as I wrote it over ten years ago. I wanted Tick Tick Talk to be the title because it summarizes the topics on the EP well: questions about time, purpose, relationships, identity and destination. Tick Tick Talk refers to a tendency among us humans to frame life in numbers and performance, and it felt relevant today considering the rise of social media. The title and the music are based on the idea that the rhythm of life is not as that of a clock, linear and predictable, but rather one that throws us back and forth, rocking us side to side, so that we see things from different perspectives.
How was the recording and writing process?
I know it is cheesy to say but I truly feel this way: the EP was not about the destination but the journey! Lyrics and melody often just come to me when I take the time to hear myself out. When it comes to Tick Tick Talk, it was finding my sound and purpose that took time. For years, I tried recording and producing my music with the help of others, but it never felt right. So, I bought recording equipment and started to record myself, and after that things just fell into place. I had so much fun experimenting with instruments such as harmonium, glockenspiel, violin, piano and guitar. I enjoyed the big differences that small details make, like the sound of my fingers scratching gently on the wooden floor in “The Time”. After recording at home, I found nice people to work with such as Mathias Zachrisson, who I took the recorded songs to so that we could mix and produce together.
What role does Sweden play in your music?
Swedish culture has shaped me as an individual, and therefore also my music. I grew up in the countryside, and I think that Sweden’s closeness to nature is one thing that has influenced me very much. Many of my songs have come to me after a walk in the woods. I am also partly Finnish with roots in Karelia (minority culture), and I have been singing Karelian and Finnish songs since I was little. “Kieli” is the Finnish word for language, and I’d like to think that my Nordic roots can be heard in the way I speak through music.
How has Sigur Ros and Radiohead influenced your writing?
I think they have inspired me and influenced me creatively in the way they use harmonies and create cinematic and moving sounds through the smallest of details.
What aspect of your own life and childhood did you get to explore on this record?
I explored vulnerability, honesty and play. As it is recorded in my family home, a wooden house over a hundred years old, it automatically includes the sentiment of growing up and change. Tick Tick Talk is an EP of contrasts that wants to break the barriers between grief and joy, societal and personal, urban and wild, and animal and human.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Aside from personal experiences, studying at the University, travelling, and working for animal/human rights and sustainability for over ten years have inspired my songs and lyrics. One clear example is the song “Skin and fur”, the 2nd song on the EP, which is written from another animal’s perspective. It is important to me that my music challenges the status quo and gives a voice to those that we rarely listen to – whether it be ourselves, or a wild animal trapped by the fur industry.
Any plans to hit the road?
YES. I love playing live, it is such a wonderful experience every time and the songs are never the same.
What else is happening next in Kieli’s world?
I am planning different projects now, music videos being one of them, and I am also recording and producing new material. So stay tuned…