Shaun Kirk

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Shaun Kirk

Readers of Forte would be well familiar with the name Shaun Kirk. With a knack for penning a catchy tune and with an enthusiasm that is infectious, his name continues to grow more familiar every day. Always on the go, we were thrilled he could spare a little time for us.
Hey Shaun, thanks for taking the time to have a chat to Forte! How are you?
Going great! Currently in the middle of a little songwriting retreat at King Island in the middle of the Bass Strait. Life’s good.
For those who don’t know you, describe your style of music.
One-man, blues, soul, a little bit of rock, a dash of country and a sprinkle of sugar.
Steer the Wheel is your newest release. What can listeners expect from that album?
I’m super happy with the album. I think it’s the most versatile record I’ve put together so far. I recorded the base of the album with Jeff Lang’s rhythm section (Danny McKenna on drums and Grant Cummerford on bass) which really helped give my music a new flavour. There’s a soul track sung completely in falsetto, some deep songs about social issues, songs about the journey, a garage band style song, and of course a couple of little blues influenced numbers.
You’ve achieved a lot since your debut in 2010, with four records and over 400 hundred shows. Do you ever feel like you just want to take a break?
Not really. If anything I want to work even harder than I already have been, go new places, meet new people, be inspired and enjoy the ride.
What do you do to relax? If you get any downtime that is!
Hanging out with family and friends is always a good way to take my mind off things for a while. Having a laugh with my girlfriend up in Sydney, causing trouble with my nephews and nieces in Melbourne, Canberra or Brisbane. I don’t mind a game of golf either 😉
How did it feel when your debut release was awarded the ‘Best Debut Album’ at the 2010 VIC/TAS Blues Music Awards?
Stoked! I don’t go out looking for accolades but when you receive them you’ve gotta be humble and grateful I think.
You’ve had a number of other awards and achievements on top of that. What’s been the highlight of your career so far in the industry?
Probably playing on one of the main stages at Bluesfest in Byron Bay earlier this year, or opening for Joe Bonamassa at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda a while back. Such amazing audiences and the kind of gigs I’d like to be doing more and more as my career progresses.
Those awards are a pretty good sign you’re doing well in the industry. But personally, how do you think you’ve developed as a musician from your debut in 2010?
A lot. I’m always looking to learn new things, try new things, find new sounds. As I do so many gigs and am always on the move I don’t get much time to sit down by myself and practise, so most of my practise/rehearsal is actually done on stage at gigs. I think that’s one of the best places to learn.
What would you be doing if music didn’t work out so well for you?
I wouldn’t mind being a professional skateboarder. They’ve got life pretty good I reckon.
You’ve got upcoming gigs at Saints & Sailors as well as Martians Café. Have you played them before? What’s the vibe like?
I’ve never played at Saints &Sailors before but I’m hearing good things. I did play Martians a couple of times a few years back so it will be great to return and catch up with everyone. They’re both pretty small venues so I can imagine it will be pretty up close and personal, lots of crowd interaction. Almost like playing in someone’s living room is a vibe I like to try and create.
You’ve played at quite a few festivals now. How does playing those compare to an intimate gig like Martians Café?
Festivals are usually full of energy from the get-go. People are at them to see music and have a good time so you usually don’t need to rev them up too much before they start feeding you their energy, whereas intimate gigs tend to need more building – start off a little quieter and then build them to a big climax at the end of the set.
What have you got in the works for the rest of the year and beyond that?
Looks like I’ll be heading back to New Zealand in September to launch the new album to them all, and hoping to get to the US or Canada before the year is out. Other than that, I’ve got a few Australian festivals around the traps too and might finish the year off with another big tour around Aus.
Thanks again for having a chat with us. Is there anything you’d like to add before we finish up?
Always follow your dreams … except those ones when you’re naked at school. Oh yeah, and my new album is available through iTunes, my website, music retailers or at my shows 🙂
When&Where: Saints & Sailors, Portarlington – July 18 & Martians Café, Deans Marsh – July 19