Meet the alt-rock trio, The Kin. They are two Australian brothers and a drummer who plays with just his hands. They’ve toured with the likes of Coldplay, Rod Stewart and Pink, and have performed live on Sirius XM, iHeart Radio and Conan.
On January 27th, they releases their eighth commercial album, Modern Primitive. On this album, they teamed up with Jon Castelli, who’s also mixed albums for Macklemore, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga. They are calling this their “final release.”
The Kin are saying farewell to the music industry…for now. After 10+ years of creating and performing their music for millions around the world, the alternative rock trio are announcing that their next album, entitled Modern Primitive, will be their last. This album is their 8th commercial release and the follow up to their 2013 Get On It EP, which they put out on Interscope and earned them a gold record in New Zealand.
Modern Primitive also symbolizes exactly who The Kin are today. Raw, high-energy, and 100% authentic. They consider themselves “outcasts” in a world of lip-syncing and computerized drumbeats since they insist on playing and singing every note, both live and recorded. This latest collection is also the first album that the trio have recorded with their drummer, Shakerleg.
The band was originally formed by brothers Isaac and Thorald Koren from Adelaide, Australia, and later joined by NYC drummer Mark “Shakerleg” Nicosia whom they discovered in a Times Square subway station. Their performances drew astonishment from crowds, with Shakerleg creating the beat with his bare hands (often bleeding through his boxing tape by the end of the night) while the brothers Koren sang with raw passion and emotion. Their intense “heart-on-sleeve” songwriting spoke to many, and their fanbase continued to grow.
Despite their chart and commercial success and captivating live audiences worldwide, The Kin still felt that they remained lost in the shuffle among hipsters and DJs. Unswayed by the current of popular music, The Kin have stubbornly dropped their own anchor in a sea of riptides. Their single, Anchor, describes this sentiment, while their focus track, Ashes, captures the strength of the phoenix that rises at the end of a struggle.
Born of a mix of frustration and curiosity for expression, The Kin began what they called musical robberies – storming into public places, such as diners, shopping malls and airports, before holding the crowd up for a song and leaving unannounced after a passionate serenade. The Kin eventually left Interscope to forge their own path in recording and producing their own music and other artists.
Follow The Kin Here:
Here’s the link to all sites where their album can be purchased: http://hyperurl.co/thekinmp
Learn more about The Kin in the following All Access interview:
(Note: IK is Isaac Koren. SL is Shakerleg.)
Thanks for your time! So, now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year for you? What were some of the highlights for the band? What are you most excited about for 2017? Did you any of you make New Year’s Resolutions?
IK: 2016 was a year of transition for us. We went from touring internationally with P!NK and Coldplay, around arenas and in buses and meeting hundreds of fans every night to a very different situation almost over night. We were signed to a major label who was not offering any support, even though we had made so many fans from 40 arena shows in six months. We had lost the right also to continue to release and record some of our favorite songs.
With the help of our incredible fans and some serious perseverance on the part of our team, we raised the funds to complete this, our final album. Our sincere hope is that more independent music can make it through the major label system and not get overlooked because it isn’t cool enough, poppy enough, doesn’t have a hit…what great artists are we missing out on? Who is giving up in their bedroom right now because they sense how hard it is to have your authentic voice heard? For us, we only ever wanted to be a voice for our fans and that is what we have done with Modern Primitive. Thanks for giving it a spin!
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall some of your earliest musical memories?
IK: No. Music tapped us on the shoulder and showed us a special world that seemed to understand everything we were going through and hold a safe space to explore emotions and express your deepest desires. It just never let go and it is only expanding for us.
Shakerleg wanted to be an actor and drumming in the subway was a calling and a solution to his financial situation. He made way more down there than as a waiter and he didn’t have to suffer a NYC boss. Music was his freedom. Isaac wanted to be a lawyer, but at the age of fifteen heard a voice in his head that simply said, “You will sing.” Six months later his voice arrived in a high school jam session and he’s been singing ever since. Thorald came to music earliest with his study of jazz guitar and music being an escape from his early onset of OCD.
Can you talk about how this group first came together? Why do you think you all work so well together?
IK: Thorald and I had made the best album we had made to date and to this day it remains a close contender to anything we’ve done. It is called Rise & Fall and we sung and played all the instruments and wrote the album in an old PA barn in 2006. The album was well received and we needed a band. After setting our intention for a drummer, we left the office to the subway. There was Shakes…
After some understandable resistance to joining a band of two brothers, we agreed to have a jam. The first note was as good as the last. Despite the typical communication issues of a struggling band on the road, the musical connection was always potent and kept us coming back to the stage.
SL: The brothers needed a drummer for their album, Rise and Fall, and happened to stumble on me in the subway. I was pretty much done with bands and was doing quite well as a solo performer but after listening to their cd I was drawn to it and knew I could add something different. The reason we work so well together is that I settle and compromise on everything so that they may have their way. (Laughter)
You just released your 8th album called “Modern Primitive.” Is it hard to believe that you have put out that much music in your career? How do you think your sound has grown on this collection?
IK: Yes, wow. It is quite a lot. I guess we haven’t spent any time considering that. We always seem mainly concerned with the next thing. Until now. Now we are saying, ‘well, what if that’s it?’. We feel like this is our best record as the crazy trio of musical expression that we are and if the world wants to call us back, then surprise us. Otherwise, we will see you on the other side.
This album captures the rawest energy that we could muster in a studio setting. We always could get people to feel it live but struggled to capture that same energy in the studio. This is the closest we’ve come to that place we go to. Our edge.
You have called “Modern Primitive” your final release. Are you all planning on doing other things non-music related now?
SL: I am flipping back and forth between a possible career at Home Depot or full time blood donor.
IK: Yes there are many things, most of which are musical. The Kin songs will live on our hearts still as well.
Looking back on your career and all the music that you have released, can you pick a favorite experience or a few favorite moments from this crazy ride?
IK: One moment, at the peak of our struggle in 2010, we met a kid named William. Life had never been easy for him, by the time he was 18 he had had 24 surgeries and had been doing well for a few years. Then two weeks before his graduation from high school when a drug he was prescribed for his acne, sent him critically ill to the ICU battling for life. We saw it on FB and gave him a call and spoke to him. We spoke to his mom, flew out to Michigan and organized a private concert for him for his return from hospital. His face and the power of music right there made everything we ever did worth it.
There are so many daily reasons why we do this. Music literally holds the key to so much joy in people’s lives and so being the connection point to that is pretty incredible and rewarding.
SL: Opening 40 sold out arenas for Pink and then Coldplay was truly mind blowing. The odd thing was, after so much preparation from the streets of NYC to several of our own tours I couldn’t have felt more at home.
What do you think you will miss the most about this lifestyle?
IK: Meeting the fans and hearing real stories.
SL: I love touring. Moving from one town to another and feeling the excitement of a new crowd will always have my heart.
Do you have plans to tour in support of “Modern Primitive” a lot this year?
IK: Not at this time. We are open to surprises.
What musicians have been inspiring you all since day 1? Who was the coolest or most memorable artist that you got to work with? Is there anyone that you wished you had gotten the chance to tour with or collaborate with?
SL: Martin Sexton has always been my biggest inspiration as far as a solo musician. John Mayer has had him open often and called him the greatest living musician of our time. Pink still remains the most impressive overall stage show and for bands I always have to give it up to Radiohead for their sheer creativity. There are artists too numerous to mention that I wish we could tour with honestly.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs? What would you like the final message of this last album to be?
IK: The message is and always has been that love will overcome fear. Ironically, it is as we put out our final album that this message is most needed. People say we need angry and rebellious music, like we did in the early nineties. I say how about sending something positive out there, something transformative in message. It has not been cool to sing about love and peace and connection, but we will go down singing.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music or the band?
IK: This is not the last you will hear from us.
SL: For me realizing this could be our last album, I would say the best way to help is to simply share our stuff on your socials. It’s so easy to share a meme or Beyoncé video. I’m not sure it’s clear that the same holds true for your favorite local musician. It is a single button push away from the word spreading.