Kane Strang is a young artist from Dunedin, New Zealand. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist with a knack for writing contagious psych-pop songs with unforgettable hooks, unique arrangements and often featuring a kind jagged guitar style. We first heard ‘Things Are Never Simple’ off his most recent album, Blue Cheese, and were immediately hooked. Interested to find out more about Kane, we asked him a few questions about how he got started, what his writing process looks like and who he’s listening to right now.
Kane Strang is also featured in our February Mixtape.
[RP] When did you start playing music and what was the first instrument you learned?
[Kane] I had guitar lessons just before high school but gave up on it when they started asking me to write songs and read music. After that I played clarinet because I eventually wanted to learn the saxophone like a cool family friend that I looked up to. One day before class I was playing the drums while blowing on the clarinet and the teacher walked in. He asked me to leave and that’s when I decided to give guitar another go.
[RP] Was there a defining moment in your life that caused you to have more than an interest in music and want to start recording and writing your own songs?
[Kane] When I was younger I was really sporty and played rugby. After one too many concussions I gave that up and I guess I needed something else to put my energy into.
[RP] You recorded the album while house sitting for your parents. What did the setup look like? Did you utilise the entire house or setup in one room?
[Kane] It really wasn’t as romantic as a lot of people seem to think. Most of the album was done in one room (my childhood bedroom) and with one microphone. Sometimes I would record vocals in the lounge because it got a bit more sun in the afternoon. Being the control freak that I am I programmed the drums and only had one other person involved – my friend Steven John Marr who mastered the record.
[RP] What does your writing process look like?
[Kane] I don’t have any kind of routine when it comes to writing songs really. My attention span is so small that I usually give up writing if nothing comes to me within a few minutes of playing guitar or mucking around on a bass. If something does sound interesting I’ll start to work on lyrics and demo it as soon as I can. I usually have most of the basic songs written before I start recording properly, but write all the extra parts as I go.
[RP] Do you have any formal music training?
[Kane] Nope, I go to university but don’t study music there.
[RP] Who are your biggest influences?
[Kane] Definitely my friends. I’ve seen them play a thousand times but they always inspire me to keep making music and playing it live.
[RP] What are you listening to the most right now?
[Kane] The new Street Chant stuff is so good, I can’t wait for their album. I’ve also been listening to The Life Of Pablo and Silicon’s Personal Computer heaps. Yesterday in the car I rediscovered Speedy Ortiz’s Sports EP so that will probably be on repeat for a while now.
[RP] How do you listen to music? Vinyl? mp3s? Streaming? Cassettes?
[Kane] Usually just mp3s when I’m walking.
[RP] How do you discover music?
[Kane] I’m really bad at discovering new music and often get stuck listening to the same stuff for way too long. If I do find something new it’s probably via Bandcamp or through a friend.
[RP] What’s the music scene like in New Zealand?
[Kane] There are a lot of good bands and unique musicians here considering how small of a country it is. It has its problems like everywhere else – like a lack of safe spaces and venues in general – but there are always heaps of people doing really positive things.
[RP] Who are some local bands you’d recommend?
[Kane] Tongueflower, Astro Children, Opposite Sex, Death and the Maiden, Bad Sav and Terrified.
Listen to ‘Things Are Never Simple’…
Stream the rest of Blue Cheese…