Kim Churchill on his sixth studio album Weight_Falls

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Kim Churchill on his sixth studio album Weight_Falls

As far as his tens of thousands of fans across the country and around the world are concerned, the sandy-haired, ex-barefoot busker we know and love as Kim Churchill can do no wrong. So you may be surprised to know while he began working on what would be his sixth studio album, Kim Churchill was filled with what he calls “dense, hard and intense feelings of subtle desperation”.

However, rather then giving up, this courageous singer-songwriter chose to hit the pause button and press rewind, deciding it was better to start again and channel his frustrations into making joyous music – and the result is the uplifting Weight_Falls (out Friday August 25). “I had been working on these songs for a while, and I was determined to master everything myself, but it just wasn’t working and I had lied to myself for a long time about it,” he explains.

“So I went in for a meeting with my record label and they basically said they were going to come in and put this chunk of money on the table to remix the album that I’d been working on. But to me,” Churchill adds, “ there was enough money there for me to record a whole new album in the way that I like to record, not in these huge, big studios with runners and assistant engineers, and all these different people on the clock, and all these grand instruments and lighting.”

From there, what followed was an intense seven days of non-stop creativity. “It was a wonderful week!” he smiles. “Probably one of the best weeks of my life – because I’d been working on my other album for so long, it was just like this wonderful, odd, liberating sense of relief to just put it away.

“I think every body at some point in their life needs to find the ways and nuances of their character and personality that help them to be brilliant at whatever it is they want to be doing,” Churchill says. “I found that point when I decided to can the entire album and insisted on writing a new one in a week – that was very ‘Me’,” he laughs.

Churchill admits he knew right at that moment who he needed to work with. “I was like ‘Awesome! I know the guy who can help me’ – he works out of a garage in Western Sydney. So I told my record label ‘I’m going to go away – I’m going to write a bunch of new songs and I’m going to come back to you all, this time next week with a new album, and we’re just going to charge ahead!’”

Image by Lester Jones

The ‘guy’ in question is Ian Pritchett, an exceptionally talented producer, engineer and musician, well-known within Sydney’s tight-knit music community. “Yep! He’s the dude – and although I hadn’t worked with him before, we had kind of been spiralling towards each other for a while, because he’d worked with a band that I’d spend a lot of time in my earlier years hanging out with.

“After they disbanded, the lead singer who is a good friend of mine, started an electronic duo called Boo Seeka, so I was spending a lot of time with those guys, and those guys were working with Ian,” he continues. “But even before that Ian had done albums that I really loved. Like some of those Beautiful Girls albums, Angus and Julia Stone, and even Cog.”

Churchill knew he was in good hands with Pritchett, and suddenly the music began to pour out of him. “I had a really strong idea for the production and I just needed somebody to help me bring it to life. Surprisingly though, a lot of people don’t know about Ian – he’s kind of a cult producer,” Churchill says. “He doesn’t have a website and he’s not out there promoting himself. He just quietly does his thing in a little garage in Baulkham Hills, and people that know him admire what a master he is, and the rest of the world he’s not fussed by!” he laughs. “I owe that guy a lot.”

Weight_Falls is full of memorable moments, but it’s hard to go past the title track when you hear the story behind it. “That was the first song that I wrote after that [record company] meeting. I felt like I’d been accumulating an enormous amount of weight and it felt like all of that just crumbled away all of a sudden,” he says.

“I wrote it at about 6am on Saturday morning after the meeting on Friday evening, after a drive back to Sydney. It was just very much that wonderful feeling we get a few times in our lives, where you feel a lot of negativity and a lot of stuff that’s building under the surface that instantly falls away.”

Joining the wonderfully unburdened Churchill on the Weight-Falls tour are musicians and friends Michael Hardy and Tom Myers, and special guests Taj Ralph and AYLA. “Her music speaks to me because it’s very honest and has a lot of integrity,” Churchill says. “She hits a nerve with me in that sense, so it would be wonderful to have her play the entire tour – she’s part of the family.”

When & Where: Karova Lounge, Ballarat – September 30

Written by Natalie Rogers