Kyoshi is a conversation in rhythm and melody, the Sydney-based four piece have synthesized their own distinctive voice, with a futuristic and progressive interpretation on the psychedelic offerings of 60’s soul, funk and jazz – that soulfully stimulates both the mind and body.
Grounding their sound in nu-jazz and future-soul, the warm, honey drenched cosmic grooves will send you to the moon and back – the perfect foundation to sit beneath the breathy croons of lead vocalist Leah Wilkie.
Kyoshi’s live show has developed into an instinctual, artistic experience – a collaborative experiment between four immensely creative students of music. Their musicianship alone constitutes for an unbelievably tight concert, that’s scored them festival slots as Bohemian Beatfreaks, Psyland, Paisley Days and sold-out countless venues.
Their audience grows with each performance from a shared love of syncopated rhythms and lo-fi, head-nodding grooves. Their debut LP ‘Kyoshi’ is set for release later this year, and will demonstrate Kyoshi’s ability to add character to each genre they weave through.
Mother is the new single by Sydney neo-soul outfit ‘Kyoshi’, the track is an ode to the female form in all forms. This is the first single from their debut album – releasing later this year!
The Hoof caught up with Leah, the singer and keys player from the band for a chat
Tell us about yourself, when and how did you get into music?
I’ve been playing music since a very young age. I was classically trained in piano since age 5 and trumpet since age 7. My trajectory was actually to become a professional orchestral musician or a composer of some sort. Then I discovered soul, jazz and a whole other universe of music, and I learnt that I loved to sing and write songs.
What is the inspiration around the record and the sound you have created?
The tracks themselves, mores specifically the lyrics, always have the notion of healing or self reflection. I feel inspired by the people close to me, or who I’d admire, and my sheer human experience. Song truly allows my to express and reflect.
Tell us about a classic track, something that has inspired you or just one you love and never get sick of listening to.
I actually can’t narrow it down to one track! This is a hard question. I think I’d have to give you something old and something new. Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue, especially A Case Of You, is one of my all time favourites – she is one of the best storytellers. Matt Corby’s album Telluric released 2017, is also something I truly never get sick of. He is an incredible singer for starters, and the album is just so rich and whole. I always find myself going back to it.
Can you recommend any new music, something that you have just discovered or are just really digging at the moment?
I love Allysha Joy’s 2020 EP Light It Again, some delicious textures and beautiful melodies. A very good friend of mine Lochie Earl released Neverbetterland in 2019 which is an incredible body of work, I love his songwriting, it really allows a glimpse into somebody else’s mind. Also digging all of King Krule’s stuff, especially The OOZ (2017), so much expression, emotion and darkness, hauntingly beautiful.
How have you kept busy during the last year? Has the pandemic stifled your creativity of the free time allowed you to experiment more?
Well, I actually really enjoyed the lack of being busy in all honesty. I think slowing down is exactly what many of us needed. The extra time did certainly open up my creativity in some ways, I also spent a lot of time doing other things that bring me a lot of joy like reading, drawing, cooking, yoga and dance. As much as I love music, I also love to express myself through other means like movement and art.
What does 2021 look like for the band, hopes, dreams and future plans?
I am genuinely so excited for 2021, Kyoshi has really taken a big step towards being more professional and understanding the need for that, as well as a big step in creativity. As pumped as I am to release our debut album, I am also super keen to get back in the studio and record some new stuff. Our sound is developing massively and we’re all really excited to get that flowing.