kiskadee is the moniker of Jack Chown, a producer and composer based in London who has previously collaborated with artists such as Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Tycho Jones, and worked as an engineer for the likes of Jessie Ware, M.I.A and HAELOS. As kiskadee he produces deeply affecting electronic music, capturing sounds from his surroundings and transforming them into bittersweet but ultimately uplifting soundscapes that reflect his own experiences in a highly relatable way.
With a new EP on the way, we caught up with him to discuss his past, present and future.
Connect with kiskadee on Instagram | Soundcloud
Thanks for talking to us today – how’s the year been treating you so far?
Thank you – absolute pleasure. It’s been great thanks, January flew by! I’ve actually just got back from a week in Iceland working on putting some music together for a debut album which is exciting…
First of all, we want to get to know you “from the beginning”. How did your history with music begin?
Oh wow, well I started as a drummer/percussionist many years ago – it’s funny actually, I come into contact with a lot of composers/producers who started life behind the kit. Anyway, I learnt to play the drums with my dad; we’d go for joint lessons every other Sunday haha He went on to be my roadie and I then went on to play in bands, orchestras and study music at university. I was always wanting to go into performance in that world but had an injury in my first term of uni which is when I, luckily, discovered recording studios, production and electronic music…
For you, what is the magic of music? The thing that makes it such a big part of your life?
It’s a bit of a cliché, but it is truly amazing how it brings people together on such a physical level. Like, did you know if you sing in a choir, your breathing and heartbeat syncs with the other members?
Crazy. For me, it lets me into a kind of flow state – like when I’m working on something and the outside world doesn’t really exist for a minute, it’s quite magical. Similarly, being able to play these songs live for the first time, it’s been beautiful seeing people come together again to experience them.
You’ve worked on music for people like Jessie Ware, M.I.A and HAELOS – what did you learn from being in the studio with such a diverse range of artists?
I think there were two main things I’ve taken away from that period in my career. Firstly, really try and define who you are, and what you’re trying to put out into the world. Especially with TikTok and Spotify playlisting. It’s so easy and tempting to look over your shoulder and be influenced by what everyone else is doing at the moment. I think it’s so important to know who you are and have the ability to block that out and just do your own thing.
I think it’s so important to know who you are and have the ability to block that out and just do your own thing.
Secondly, you have to write so much more music than you think. Like many people, I presumed you wrote ten tracks for an album at the beginning of my career, it can be anything between 30-100 to be honest. That kind of volume might sound crazy but I think it’s important to have a filter and maintain quality. There are a couple of things I wish I hadn’t rushed out with now if I’m honest!
Where do you capture your field recordings, what inspires you to switch on the recorder?
Ah, it can be so many things – an odd acoustic, an interesting situation. I actually did my dissertation at uni on Glastonbury, taking a bunch of binaural recordings over the weekend one festival. It must have looked slightly odd me trudging around with what look like headphones in my ears recording all weekend.
More recently, I’ve been looking for the silence in urban spaces; taking my binaural headphones with me wherever I go. It’s surprisingly difficult! The botanical gardens in Lisbon were pretty cool and something I’ve been trying to get into a track recently. Iceland was a bit tricky with all the wind, rain and snow haha.
Is there a specific message behind the new EP, or a feeling you’re attempting to evoke?
This EP really marks a transition for me, trying to bring together all of my ambient and cinematic influences which are really present in my early releases; and combining them with more club-focussed electronica. That’s a balance I’ve been really trying to crack! I think the idea of trying to evoke organic beauty and human-like qualities in electronic music is a really interesting one, that’s something I’ve definitely been attempting here.
What has the reaction been like to the release of Hypna?
It’s been great, thanks! I’ve been getting some lovely messages which are always nice. I actually wrote Hypna over a year ago so have been playing it out for a while now…it’s been nice hearing people say they’re glad it’s out after hearing it live etc. too!
What should we be looking out for from you in the next few months?
In the immediate future, I’ve got the Believe In Love EP coming out at the end of February followed by a remix of the title track from Mayn in March and a release to coincide with piano day at the end of that month too, so busy!
After that, I’m working on a few film projects, an album, and an A/V show for later in the year to coincide with that release – so plenty to do!
What is the best advice you ever received as an artist?
Be patient, and try not to get too distracted by the play counts….they really don’t matter
Anything else you’d like to tell us…?
I’ve released a couple of live performance videos (filmed in my hometown of Jersey by Will Robinson last summer) which you can check out on my YouTube over here.
It was somewhere I’d performed many years ago so lovely to reconnect with these new releases! Hope you enjoy x