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It's the year of Kirin J. Callinan. The Australian musician, writer, actor and previous 10 Men Australia collaborator is releasing his epic new album If I Could Sing this Friday. Creating the album alognside collaborator Max Baby, Kirin has conjured up a world of powerful, grandiose songs with thoughtful lyrics and rich visuals. We caught up with the artist to talk about the recent single Crazier Idea and what's to come:

We’re so excited for your debut album - and we’re loving the singles. Talk to us about Crazier Idea. What were you dreaming of while you created this record? What was inspiring you?

Max Baby and I had been working on a number o songs & ideas in his studio (Greasy Studios, in Epinay, on the outskirts of northern Paris), some o them exciting, some o them less so; when my pinterest piqued and my ears were wide eyed to a sound Baby made & felt compelled to share ~ a sample he’d taken & tweaked several years earlier, that he didn’t currently have a home for. It was immediately exciting & emotive, simultaneously fresh & nostalgic, loaded with data & heart, reminding my of youthful feelings o limitless potential and of chasing that elusive, ecstatic vision. A sound that had me believing, for a moment more, in daring ambition and the possibility of wild genius. So we cut it into a bizarre progression, an abstract, almost prog or free jazz sorta thing, that seemed correct I guess for such an inspired sound. We were following our noses, with no preconceived idea that we were making any sort of “single” or anything like this. This is the progression you here at the top, middle & tail o the song, before we then curtailed it slightly, reverse engineering the bones o the song into a relatively more familiar & sturdy progression to accompany the melody I was now singing over top. With this melodic idea fully formed, clear as day & arriving almost immediately, I musta then written the lyric in 5 minutes flat, verse after verse, many o which didn’t make the final cut, and with good reason. Economy is king.

A song about divine inspiration, creation, trust, and finding meaning in existence. In a word, faith. In another, God. In two words, 'Crazier Idea'.

Who did you work with on this track? What did they bring to your world?

Max Baby. Gentleman, genius, Baby savant. From start to finish, Crazier Idea is very much our baby, Baby & I’s. Sometime after that initial conception, months later, in Paris & in the studio together once again, I would come down with debilitating, anxious stomach cramps, that would eventually end up with my hospitalisation that evening. Before that however, Max set me up a mattress on the studio floor and, with me singing / moaning in pain, excitable & unwilling to leave, Max threw the kitchen sink at Crazier Idea ~ Saxophone, acoustic guitar, Rhodes, the lot. The song went from a more skeletal, largely vocal driven track to the rather muscular & athletic organism we have before us today.

Let’s talk a little about the album… How long has it been in the making? 

Hard to say. Could argue 20 years. The guitar chords for “…in Absolutes”, for example, I’ve been playing since I was a teenager, gone but not forgotten, simply needing a sprinkling o heartbreak, loss and life experience to unlock the lyrical gravitas they deserved. The title track, If I Could Sing, was conceived and largely written in Los Angeles, 2018, initially as part of another collection of mostly still unreleased & unfinished material for another album, tentatively tilted Artefact (two songs emerged from this abandoned body, 2020’s “You Are Going To Miss Me When I Am Gone” and 2021 release “Dumb Enough”). Most o the material however, with the exception of Crazier Idea, was written & completed between 2020 & 2022 in Sydney, Piha & Anawhata, in the Waitakere Ranges, West Auckland.

Is there a song you’re most proud of on the album? Or perhaps one you’re most excited for people to hear?

I love & appreciate them all in various ways. “Crazier Idea” for its evocative spirit & the clarity of its execution. “Bread Of Love” for its boldness & drama. “…in Absolutes” for its open heart & open landscape, Young Drunk Driver for it’s asymmetrical re-imagining for what pop might be.

As for the yet-to-be released songs from the album, “It’s The Truth” is as real a song as I’ve written, Chop Chop as strange, original & fun, My Little One (written by Neil Finn with me & my condition in mind) as romantic, beautiful & with plenty o pathos too.

You’ve worked with some incredible artists, like Caroline Polachek (we love her album). How have these experiences working on other artist’s music informed your own music?

I am lucky that I get to lend a hand, big or small or two, to many artists work. In Caroline’s case, I am frankly in awe of her power, drive & clarity of vision, let alone her being a once-in-a-generation talent. It’s one thing to have, another to honour.

I’m not sure however how it informs my own work. On the quest for originality & reinvention, I try to follow my nose, my gut, my heart, my loins, one foot in front o the other, before I follow my head, let alone anyone else’s.

We can obviously hear the Bowie influence - especially on this track. Which other artists (in any capacity, doesn’t have to be just music!) have inspired you?

I do get the Bowie thing a bit, and whilst it’s high praise and I’ll absolutley take it, I can’t say he’s been such a direct influence, certainly not as much as many others. I did like Black Star a lot though. A prophetic vision. Genius from beyond the grave.

Prefab Sprout / Paddy Macaloon is my all time favourite. For over a decade now, Paddy can move me to tears or jubilation on near every listen, often simultaneously. “Cowboy Dreams”. “Cornfield Ablaze”. “Farmyard Cat”. “I Trawl The Megahertz”. “Music Is A Princes”. “Dublin”. “Swans”. “Andromeda Heights”. “God Watch Over You”. Tears every time. I met his nephew once, at a wedding. That alone made me cry. Psychofantic.

What’s been on your playlist recently? Which artists are you most excited about?

In Brisbane, there’s a young fella by the name o Arthington Stack. Great songs, real deal. In Sydney, Griffin Ford is as natural & talented a songwriter as I’ve ever encountered, with a confused cockiness that is as endearing as it is obvious. Also in Sydney, Billy Charles Fisher is as inspired & creative individual as I’ve ever known.

I was blown away by both o last night’s support acts at my show in Fremantle. Both Scratching (Grace Sanders & Ezekiel Padmanabham and Hector Morlet were immense talents that I’m sure will go on to do special things.

Also, my brothers & band mates Mahne Frame & Tex Crick keep putting out better & better, more original more confusing more strange, beautiful & exciting work as well. 

How do you hope people feel listening to your music?

Inspired & excited &/or some catharsis too, as I do when I hear the music that resonates with me.

What’s something you’re passionate about aside from music?

At the moment, what I’m most looking forward to is getting off my phone, off this plane, into the ocean, into a good meal, good flick, great company, before a good night’s rest. I’m very transient, having been on the road for most o my adult life, and I’ll be moving house again t’moro. I love home building however, no matter how temporal, throwing little anchors down wherever I go.

What’s next?

In music mode, I have a follow up release to If I Could Sing, featuring possibly the best song I’ve ever written, and possibly the worst. Also, with Worse Records, I hope to be able to champion & release some other artists I like, and to possibly lend them what little I’ve learned along the way. Aside from that, nobody knows.

Listen to Crazier Idea HERE.