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Kucka Explains Why it's Really Hard to Write a Complex Pop Song

She's the newest ethereal electronic musician to melt our hearts. Interview by Courtney Sanders.
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Kucka Explains Why it's Really Hard to Write a Complex Pop Song
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Kučka (pronounced Kutch-Ka, as in Ashton Kutch-er) is the moniker of Perth-based electronic musician, Laura Jane Lowther, who is making a name for herself, and reserving a place for herself on the dance floor, via intricately constructed pop songs. Like Purity Ring or Zola Jesus and their watery, translucent sub-strata, on which pure pop sentiment sits, Kučka makes you want to dance and cry in equal measure.


Hi Laura, how are you? Firstly, where did the name Kucka come from?

My really good friend is from Croatia, and I used to live with her a few years ago. She started calling me Kučka, which is an endearing term to describe a bitch – literally, a female dog haha. It just kind of stuck.

Haha nice. How did you start writing music?

I guess I started by experimenting with analogue gear – guitars and pedals mainly – and then looping vocals over the top. I'd just put it all through my laptop and make really weird stuff. Then I ended up studying music ­– I did a Bachelor of Classical Composition ­– and have just kind of kept going from there.

It's quite interesting that you started with analogue instruments, then moved into electronic instruments, then studied classical music. How have all those experiences fitted together?

I think I learnt a lot while I was studying. You learn so much about which chords work well together, about the structure of music, and about instrumentation, all of which is applicable to the electronic music I'm making.

The Kucka project seems to fit into this global movement of solo women creating experimental, pop-driven music. I'm interested in why we're heading down this road at the moment – what do you think?

I love pop music, but I also love textural music and beautiful sounds, whether they're orchestral or from nature. I guess I'm a little bored of the traditional instrumentation of pop songs, so I like to bring in those different elements.

I guess we also now have consumer-available technology, which makes it much easier for people to create those sounds and bring those sounds together, than it was in the past, right?

Totally. I can sit at home and create a pop track that sounds convincing – I don't have to go into a studio and spend thousands of dollars. Ten years ago that would have been so much harder.

When you started the Kucka project, did you know what you wanted it to be about?

Definitely not haha. The first stuff I did as Kučka is so different to what I'm writing now – I started off with much more experimental, dark sounds. I can see where it all links up, but if you saw a gig five years ago and you saw a gig today, you wouldn't even know I was the same artist.

It's really hard to write a multi-dimensional pop song though, right? So perhaps you've been working towards that?

Yeah, writing pop music is actually the hardest thing I've ever had to write! At uni I wrote for orchestras, but trying to nail a convincing pop song that's enjoyable is so hard.

Especially because you're trying to write pop songs that have depth, right?

Yeah yeah! Last night my boyfriend and I were hanging out and I was playing these ridiculously cheesy ballads on the piano, and he was recording them. We were laughing so much because if you want to write something generic with the cheesy lyrics it's really not that hard, compared to trying to write something that's different and is pushing the genre forward.

Your EP came out at the start of the year. Was there anything you particularly wanted to say or do on it?

I just wanted to write pop songs with an edge. I wanted to use nice textures and different instrumentation, and make well-structured tracks. I got obsessed with pop last year.

Any artists in particular?

So many! Old artists like Prince and the Beach Boys.

Those were the artists who were progressing pop with the technology they had available to them at the time, right?

Yeah yeah. I was trying to work out what made their songs so iconic and interesting and enjoyable. I did write a few tracks that don't really fit on the EP because they're kind of taking too much from a certain style, but I had to write those in order to write the ones I liked.

Published on 12th February, 2015 by Courtney Sanders
Follow Courtney on Twitter @misscjsanders

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