We speak to Kayla Painter and ask her to run us through her self-released EP ‘Somewhen’ released last month.

This latest EP from Kayla Painter explores lost and vibrant future landscapes and Kayla’s personal relationships with her Fijian-British heritage.

“Whilst creating Somewhen, I was really challenging myself to further combine my sonic worlds, bridging the gap between my beat driven ideas as well as ambient. I’ve always been told they are very separate worlds, however, they’ve always been two sides of the same coin for me. I want this EP to really invite people into my world of sound without restrictions”.

Kayla’s monthly radio show ‘Connections to Sound’ on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM continues to present thought-provoking alternative electronic, ambient and experimental music. Gathering momentum and fans, her show has welcomed special guests such as Haiku Salut, Hannah Peel and Lake Turner.

We asked Kayla to run us through ‘Somewhen’ track by track.

Phantom Ships

This is the opening track for the EP.  I wrote this track with a slow build having some synths not quite in time, to give the sense of being on the water, being in a boat or perhaps watching the sea. I wanted to draw the listeners into the EP slowly as the concept of the EP is based around my Fijian/British heritage, and a lot of the themes focus on being on boats or being on an island surrounded by water.

Kayla Painter · Phantom Ships

Unseen and Unknown

For a lot of this EP, I used a MicroKorg, which is what I’ve used to create the main basis of this track. It’s a little out of time and doesn’t snap to the grid, I like that as it gives a more human feel.

This track really came together when I added the vocal clip at 01:16, the whole writing of the rest of the track fell into place.

‘Unseen and Unknown’ is a track that is rooted in the future but adopts the Fijian idea of the future coming from behind us.

“Fijian uses directionals to indicate the time as well as location – but with this difference.  Whereas English looks ahead to the future and back to the past, Fijian does the reverse. We might visualise it this way.  We stand still and time comes from behind, where it is unseen and unknown – therefore the future.  When it is ahead of us, it is seen and known, therefore the past.” –

Say It In Fijian by A.J.Schutz
Kayla Painter · Unseen and Unknown

Mangrove Forest

This track is called Mangrove Forest because when I was writing it I was inspired by the Mangrove trees in Fiji, with their dense and complex root systems, but also clearly visible above and below the water.  They are such an important part of biodiversity and I wanted to dedicate this track to the wonders of the Mangrove trees.

A lot of this EP is based on a lost future, a time that has not happened yet, it is somehow a moment that perhaps exists simultaneously in the past and in the future.  

You might be able to tell, this song was built around the initial synth. It’s a software synth and I was wary about that as the rest of the EP relies on hardware synths. I used some snare rolls and live recordings to help ensure this didn’t sound too polished and clean compared to the rest of the EP.

Kayla Painter · Mangrove Forest
‘Somewhen’ by Kayla Painter cover art

Beginnings from the Sea

This track was about British explorers coming to Fiji, and what native Fijians might have felt seeing boats on the horizon (this also is part of the inspiration for ‘Phantom Ships’). 

I used a melodica to build some of the pad type sounds as well as alto saxophone. I felt like it should have the vibe of perhaps waves on the ocean as well as ships or even small rafts and handmade boats floating across shallow waters in Fiji.

Kayla Painter · Beginnings from the Sea

Constellation

Sometimes when messing around in my studio, something as simple as having a delay on a synth sound gives you a whole idea for a melody or a track, and this is what happened with this one.  I wanted to make this track a bit woozy but also have moments of clarity. Like sand getting kicked up in the sea but also how it can quite quickly return to crystal clear water again. 

‘Constellation’ is about connections between ancestors in the sense of a family tree, but also the arrangements of the stars in the night sky.  They are one of the same thing which sits really nicely within the themes of the EP being about a lost future where time doesn’t travel in a linear way. 

Kayla Painter · Constellation

Kayla Painter ‘Somewhen’ is out now. Buy it on Bandcamp. Find Kayla on Instagram.

Pics: Ania Shrimpton

2nd November, 2021

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