Back in early February, Australian singer-songwriter Kim Churchill released the stellar ‘After the Sun’. This debut single off his upcoming EP, I AM, the track and record were recorded and produced in Berlin and features Churchill’s signature folk sound and acoustic guitar work. Relaxed vocals, gentle guitar work and simple percussion all combine to tell a deep story that taps into ideas of place and nature. Churchill is a traveller, roaming the world and channelling these experiences into his creative process. ‘After the Sun’ takes his observations about Berlin and uses it to evoke an emotional response from the audience.
“It started out as a way to contrast the natural and the man-made, but as we started searching the city and finding things, we noticed that there were so many wonderful examples of nature jumping into buildings, re-taking over what it originally owned,” Churchill explained.
Today, Backyard Opera is thrilled to premier the brand-new acoustic version of ‘After the Sun’, fit with an exclusive music video. With just a guitar and his voice, Churchill truly taps into his folk roots, focusing more on the musicality and poeticism of the track. While the ideas of interwoven nature and man-made creativity are present through the original film clip, this new stripped back rendition of ‘After the Sun’ highlights these core music elements. Gone are the grand shots of Berlin and in their place is the gorgeous Grunewald Forest. We asked Churchill a few questions about the acoustic version and this new video.
BYO: What are some of the themes and ideas explored on the track ‘After the Sun’?
Churchill: I wrote it considering my own unhealthy desire to control and create exactly what I wanted in my life. I've been learning to let go and surrender to its flow a little more, which has been quite liberating. ‘After The Sun’ built on that through looking at how humanity seems to be facing a similar situation. It's a song about relaxing and working with our environment rather than blindly chasing progress, it's just a little celebration of the strength of the world. No matter what we do as humans, the sun will simply rise and fall each day.
BYO: Tell us a bit about how the original track was developed. How did the finished product come about?
Churchill: We started with the guitar, Vince (my producer) and myself sat down in his little Berlin studio and started playing with chord progression, and the verse began to form. Vince having a primarily electronic background really helped sculpt the arrangement in a way I wouldn't have naturally thought of. This was a great and inspiring way to help excite me to try new things.
BYO: What was the process of stripping this back for the acoustic version?
Churchill: Actually, it was quite simple, it happened within days of getting the song up and running. One of my main aims with the songs I'm writing now is for it to stand complete and strong with just an instrument and a vocal. We literally just marched off into the forest and set up and I gave it a crack.
BYO: What drove you to release an acoustic version?
Churchill: ‘After The Sun’ is the first single off of the first EP that [will] make up a four EP collection — each one recorded with a different producer, in a different part of the world. With that in mind, we decided to take my friend/director, Connor Rancan, on the road to document it all. Along the way we started going on these little adventures to shoot acoustic videos. It’s been a wonderful, creative ride through the beautiful visual opportunities of each location.
BYO: Are there any aspects of the acoustic version that you prefer to the original?
Churchill: I found when reached the end of the song I just wanted to keep repeating the final lyrics “sometimes I try too hard to be something”. In that moment, I realised that lyric was the real crux of the song, and the repetition at the end just felt perfect. I perform it that way now.
BYO: What is the one thing you feel people should take away from the track and from this new video for the acoustic version?
Churchill: I guess to remember that sometimes we have little control over our lives and how certain events go down; it’s important to allow it to happen and go with it. The one thing we have control over is our reaction, and 'After the Sun' is a moment to really celebrate the good that comes to us and accept the darkness that is an inevitable part of existence. Basically, knowing the sun will come again.
Kim Churchill is set to tour the world in just a few weeks. Tickets are available here.
FRI 19 APR | LUSH FESTIVAL | CLARENS, SOUTH AFRICA
SAT 20 APR | SPLASHY FEN FESTIVAL | UNDERBERG, SOUTH AFRICA
MON 13 MAY | UNTER DECK | MUNCHEN, GERMANY
TUES 14 MAY | GROOVESTATION | DRESDEN, GERMANY
WED 15 MAY | BADEHAUS | BERLIN, GERMANY
FRI 17 MAY | BITTERZOET | AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
SAT 18 MAY | NOCHTSPEICHER | HAMBURG, GERMANY
MON 20 MAY | BLUE SHELL | KOLN, GERMANY
TUE 21 MAY | LES ETOILES | PARIS, FRANCE
TUE 28 MAY | JAZZ CAFE | LONDON, U.K.
FRI 7 JUN | OXFORD ARTS FACTORY | SYDNEY, AU
SAT 8 JUN | WOOLY MAMMOTH | BRISBANE, AU
SAT 15 JUN | HOWLER | MELBOURNE, AU