INTERVIEW: KEIANDRA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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“I really never anticipated the kind of response I’ve been getting from these tracks,” Keiandra says, reacting to the positive reception that the release of her first few songs have received. In the months since she stunned audiences at last year’s Evolution Emerging, she’s honed her sound and gained a huge amount of buzz from her single, Wanted. Although the attention may have come as a surprise to her, Keiandra’s mature songwriting and ear for captivating melodies means she’s deserving of the praise.

Her debut EP, Empty Palaces, is released on 11th March. “[It focuses on] relationships that you have with people and how they affect your state of mind. I realised that people say that your home is your palace and thought about all the people going home to an empty house,” she says. All the tracks on the EP have been home recorded, and the songs seem have come organically. “I couldn’t really say if I even know how I write, I just sit down with my guitar and melodies and lyrics just form. Quite a lot of the time it’s just rubbish and not even words but I come up with a melody and as long as I kind of know where I am, I can fiddle around with different lyrics.” She sometimes has flashes of inspiration in a more unusual location, though: “I have been known to sit in an empty bath in my bathroom and just soak up all the reverb in there when it’s raining and horrible outside, and sometimes write something I’m really proud of.”

Empty Palaces mixes Keiandra’s tales of love and loneliness with a stark, often icy, yet richly textured sound

Taking her themes and aided by producer James Hall, Keiandra has aimed for a sound that reflects some of her favourite artists, including The National, Sufjan Stevens, Warpaint and Cloud Control. “I think I was trying to find something a bit different,” she explains, as she puts it, bands with “pacey, vibey, weird, atmospheric, reverb, dark tones.”

As a result, Empty Palaces mixes Keiandra’s tales of love and loneliness with a stark, often icy, yet richly textured sound. Opener Wanted layers acres of reverb over a simple, repeated guitar loop. The title track might be the most catchy and powerful track Keiandra has produced thanks to its constantly pounding drums and soaring chorus, while new single Icing Sugar turns its simple concept of “having a really big crush” into an epic mix of glitchy electronic beats. It’s all accompanied by Keiandra’s wistful, elegant voice, the ingredient tying everything together.

Keiandra’s already started penning her next set of sumptuous ballads. “I really just want to record more, make some beautiful records and share them with everyone, play some really good gigs,” she says. This passion means that, even though Empty Palaces hasn’t been released yet, she’s already planning for the future. “I’ve gone through what I feel is a massive learning curve recently and I can feel new songs brewing in my brain box so hopefully there’s another EP coming along soon.”

Keiandra launches Empty Palaces at Newcastle Castle on Friday 11th March.

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