Isolation Conversations: Playing it by ear with Kim Churchill
May 01, 2020
Kim Churchill is a Canberra born folk-rock musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and an all 'round great human. Kim grew up in Merimbula, NSW, but it wasn't long before he hung up his small town boots to play the likes of Glastonbury, The Montreal Jazz Festival, and various international headline tours throughout the US, Canada, the UK and Europe. All by the age of 24.
Spending a great chunk of his time on the road, Kim lives out his days exploring, playing shows and hitting all the best surf breaks along the way. His nomadic and free-spirited approach to life is reflected in his music, which is usually made up of a combination of guitar, bass drum, harmonica, tambourine and percussion. We recently caught up with Kim for a convo over a couple of coldies and a chance to pick his brains.
Photo by @bbilliiy
When did you first pick up an instrument, and how did your musical journey progress to you being able to play multiple instruments at once?
My Mum brought home a guitar when I was about 5 years old. She was getting a lesson every Wednesday afternoon and she'd come home and give me the very same lesson. I then started singing and playing drums and harmonica a little later on, maybe around age 13 or 14.
You spend a lot of time on the road, traveling between Aussie towns and cities by van. Has this always been an ambition of yours?
Since I was about 16 it's all I wanted to do! I've been lucky enough to see so much and play so much music each year.
Photo by Little Village Events
What have been some of your favourite places to visit around Australia, and why?
Yallingup recently blew my mind...just the people and the landscape! I love Angourie in New South Whales mainly because of the surf, but also because I just find it a very calming place.
How do you most like to spend your downtime when you’re not playing music?
Surfing, surfing, more surfing and painting terrible watercolour pictures.
Tell us a bit about gratitude and why you think it’s so important. How do your gratitude journals which you create reflect this?
I think it's present in all of us, but we can really shroud its existence in other thought patterns. Journaling is just reconnecting with that base layer of thankfulness and giving it a priority in the mind. For me, it just makes the whole world a little bit brighter and really worth it.
Photo by Little Village Events
Who are some of your musical inspirations and influences of your sound?
Bob Dylan was a massive influence on me. So was John Butler, but Bon Iver was the other huge one I'd say. I just love the mood that they all create.
What advice would you give to other musicians at the moment, who may be going through a difficult time as a result of the social distancing rules?
Hmmm gosh, I dunno! It's such a weird time. Sign up to Centrelink. Keep a bit of routine and make a good few hours each day for being creative. Do some meditation and treat the next little while as a long-overdue opportunity for self-reflection, to wind down a bit and to catch up on some of those things you've always wanted to do, but feel you never get time for.