Following the release of his debut self titled album in 2017, The Kite String Tangle realised he wanted to have more of a cohesiveness between the music he was releasing and the music he personally listened to. This meant that the Brisbane singer, songwriter and producer was going to head into a darker toned exploration with a moodier gradient, and from there his new record ‘C()D3X’ was born.
Lead singles ‘P()L4R’, ‘NORTH’ and ‘KILLING TIME’ introduced this experimentation to listeners and what was immediately recognised was the vulnerable essence that was driving these songs lyrically and aesthetically.
There’s a lot of melancholic layers to the lyrics that is then contrasted with the moody production that hears him adding a more fulfilled rhythmic touch without losing his cinematic soundscape. And this album also hears him collaborating with some amazing artists including Eliott, Kateboy and Lanks.
I recently chatted to The Kite String Tangle (aka Danny Harley) about the darker and moodier sonical palette behind ‘C()D3X’, discussed the creative process behind the track ‘Landslide’ with Kateboy and how he wants to aesthetically step up his live show. Check the chat out BELOW;
TB: ‘C()D3X’ hears you heading towards a darker and moodier sonical palette while creating a collection of songs that sound anthemic in their own way. So how would you describe how this record feels compared to your debut album?
TKST: I think for me, it feels a lot more focused. I spent a lot more time trying to decide what I wanted it to sound like compared to the last one. I considered more deeply what I wanted the sonical palette to be.
I was also trying to get closer to the type of music I was listening to as I found there was a disconnect between the music that I write and the music that I listen to. So I was trying to bridge that gap a little more.
TB: What was inspiring this shift to a darker and moodier sonical palette for this record and how did you approach defining it?
TKST: I was just listening to a lot of darker and moodier electronic music. I’ve always loved people like Jamie XX and The XX with their more darker material, along with bands like Burial and a lot of UK garage dark warehouse stuff too.
Even Rufus Du Sol was an influence on this record. In general a lot of that moody sonical palette rubbed up on me for this record.
TB: ‘Landslide’ is a song that immediately stood out on the record. So do you mind stepping us through how this song came together?
TKST: I wrote it with Kateboy who are this incredible couple/band, and we toured the US together around five years ago and just remained friends since. They are from Sweden but they are based in Sydney at the moment, so I went over to their place and we started writing this song. It took a couple of different trips across Sydney and Brisbane to get it done, but I feel like we see eye to eye with a lot of sonical references.
For this track in particular we were referencing a band called Moderat, who we are both totally obsessed with. So this song was just us trying to do some Moderat styled production whilst having this really nice song over the top.
TB: What would you say is the most vulnerable moment on the record for you as a songwriter?
TKST: There is a song called ‘KEROSENE’ that I think is the most vulnerable and somber record on the track for me.
TB: And what song would you say took the longest to really hone the sound or was the most challenging to get right?
TKST: I would actually say ‘P()L4R’! I think because it was going to be the first single from this new album and showcasing a newer sound for me, there was a lot of pressure to get it right. It was really scary, so I think there was a lot of tinkering and procrastination. So it took quite a while.
TB: Were you showing a lot of people the song and getting opinions back over different mixes?
TKST: Absolutely! I also mixed the song myself so in hindsight that slowed the process down a little bit. When you’re the songwriter, producer and mixer, you have the ability to go into a total hole of endless tinkering and you end up going backwards and into this loop. So that didn’t help and I think that’s why some people don’t do that.
TB: As soon as it’s safe to do so, you will be hitting the road for some huge headline shows. So how are you wanting to represent this album on the live stage aesthetically and sonically?
TKST: It’s had a pretty strong visual identity for me since it’s inception. We’ve wanted this Holt vibe wth a lot of sacred geometry, but I didn’t want it to be full of cult references or symbols that you would recognise from the illuminati or the Stone Masons because of all the connotations. So I liked this idea of having this cult vibe from the future or a different realm.
There are a lot of sacred geometry symbols and the artwork is structured but feels organic at the same time. So it’s confusing and intriguing, but that’s what I like about it. It’s living within this dark, monochromatic field and I’m going to try take that onto the stage as much as I can with lighting, and maybe some visuals, which we are in talks about doing at the moment.
TB: You did an intimate run of shows last year where you road tested some new songs and introduced this dark and moody aesthetic. So was there a particular moment on the tour that you realised you could maybe step it up or change the approach of a production aspect or song that you are aware of going into this next tour?
TKST: Definitely! I only had a couple of songs out from this album at the time of the tour, so I played those and a couple of unreleased ones, but that tour was really for the fans and was an introduction to this new record and sound.
It’s harder on a smaller run of shows to project your vision within those venues, so there’s always definitely that ideology of what you want to do is not what you’re going to do. But it’s a necessary stepping stone for the next chapter and hopefully this time I get to do what I want to do.
TB: What song from the new album are you most looking forward to playing live?
TKST: ‘Landslide’ is definitely one, but the last track ‘I.S.T.A.U’ which is a collaboration with Lanks is one that I’m also really keen to play live. It has a really epic ending!
TB: You recently performed at The Tivoli’s Bushfire appeal show in Brisbane. Why was it so important for you to show your support and be apart of providing relief to this country through your music?
TKST: I think that’s the best sort of way I can contribute. I’m going to be able to add more by playing and bring people together than by donating, I think. But I also donated too.
It was this amazing thing because everyone just got so behind the cause and relief for the country. It was really really powerful sending it come together within the music industry alone. I definitely wanted to be apart of it and do my bit.
That night was beautiful as it was such a varied line up and a varied audience. And then you had everyone there donating their time from the bar staff, to the sound, lighting, merch, and door guys. It was a very powerful night.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions. You ready?!
TKST: Okay sounds good! *laughs*
TB: The laughs make me feel like you’re a little nervous?
TKST: Yeah! I’m really bad at thinking on my feet, but we will try *laughs*.
TB: The emoji that best describe my new album ‘C()D3X’ is…
TKST: The thinking face!
TB: My pre show pump up song is…
TKST: ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…
TB: Most mornings I…
TKST: Drink coffee
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
TKST: Fine! Get over it.
You can buy/stream ‘C()D3X’ HERE;