[WATCH] Composing for genuine love: ‘Kun’ by KYM

Having cut her teeth performing with prominent local indie bands including Brikkuni and Plato’s Dream Machine, singer-songwriter Kim Pepe speaks to TEODOR RELJIC about launching into her solo act, KYM, with her debut single ‘Kun’ having hit the online airwaves earlier this month

Directed by Andrew Schembri, the music video for KYM’s debut single ‘Kun’ can now be seen on YouTube
Directed by Andrew Schembri, the music video for KYM’s debut single ‘Kun’ can now be seen on YouTube

Could you tell us a little bit about your musical background?

When I first attended vocal lessons I was chosen to sing opera due to my vocal range. However, after some time practising songs sung by Patricia Petibon, I found myself singing a live acoustic mashup of Adele songs at the end of year music school concert. I also spent years gigging in bars and festivals singing pop and blues covers. Although that gave me a lot of confidence, I always felt that it was not enough, and that I needed to find my original musical personality. I started learning some piano chords and composing four years ago.

In 2016 I sang as a guest singer with Plato’s Dream Machine and in the same year the operatic elements of my voice found a very fitting place in Brikkuni’s songs. Now I am experimenting with these elements and working on different interpretations further in my project.

When did you first realise that you wanted to make music in a more consistent manner?

I guess it was listening to bands like Brodu and actually being part of Brikkuni that inspired me the most, especially when it comes to writing songs in Maltese.

What led you to craft the KYM musical persona and go ahead with this project?

KYM is a project which mirrors my personality and temperament. I had been trying to form my own band ever since I was 16 years old.

Ten years later, I now realize that I have to work on my self-esteem and take the plunge.

However, I would not have done it without having my close friends insisting that I should just do it. Their constant encouragement is what led me to actually start.

I would also like to mention that this project is supported by the Arts Council Malta which made it possible for me to actually go on with the project while finishing my final year at University.

“I had been trying to form my own band ever since I was 16 years old. Ten years later, I now realize that I have to work on my self-esteem and take the plunge”
“I had been trying to form my own band ever since I was 16 years old. Ten years later, I now realize that I have to work on my self-esteem and take the plunge”

How would you describe your debut single?

Genuine love. Through the lyrics, Antonio Tufigno managed to capture and describe my perspective on what being in a relationship means, perfectly.

What are some of the most apparent genres and influences that you’ll be playing with, and what are some of the things you are channelling into it that you previously couldn’t in other musical projects?

I would say the genre is electronic with a never-ending list of influences such as Goldfrapp, Portishead and Beach House.

Brikkuni is and will always be [frontman] Mario Vella’s baby. I have a different role in my own project; I get to write my own songs and create a new narrative.

Moreover, although the musicians I am collaborating with (Jimmy Bartolo and Oliver Degabriele) play with Brikkuni as well, the songs have a totally different vibe and it has been very interesting to see Jimmy play synths instead of guitar as he usually does.

Can we expect more from KYM in the near future? What are you most looking forward to experimenting and playing with?

I have just finished recording a few more songs at Temple Studios so definitely expect more singles from KYM and possibly an album in the near future.

In all honesty, I’m mostly excited to continue working with Jimmy Bartolo from Ultralow, who has been arranging my songs and who surprised me with his versatility.

I guess my next step will be rehearsing my songs towards a live concert at some point in the future
I guess my next step will be rehearsing my songs towards a live concert at some point in the future

What do you make of the local music scene? What would you change about it?

The local music scene… I’m not even quite sure what that is, exactly. What I can say is that there have not been all that many new acts to emerge from the alternative music scene in recent years. But I just have to mention Djun and their album ‘Il-Ħlas’ from last year, which I like very much.

What’s next for you?

I guess my next step will be rehearsing my songs towards a live concert at some point in the future. There is something sacred about performing live, which nothing else can substitute.

KYM is supported by Arts Council Malta. Hear ‘Kun’ song on Bandcamp: https://kymmusic2.bandcamp.com/releases. Watch the music video, directed by Andrew Schembri, on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAsFxFBLCpk

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