By Monica Ng
How I found Kane
At work I usually play my own daily playlist on Spotify, but sometimes I listen passively to random songs. As I was working away one day, this beautiful voice sung out to me and I had to quickly maximize my Spotify screen to find out who was singing – and of course, it was Kane.
Keep Away From Time – EP (2021) – Keep Away From Time and I Still Love You
Isolation Sessions – EP (2021) – only available on Bandcamp – Wait for You, Catch My Heart, Mystery (Leads to You), All In and Feel You
I Still Love You – EP (2021) – I Still Love You and Arrow
For You, For Now, For Always – EP (2020) – Something New, Getting Older, Memories, Do It All For You, Secrets, Kings and Queens and Never Coming Back
Something New – single (2020)
In this Moment – EP (2019) – All We Need, Could It Be, Coral Reefs and Morning Dew, Black Dress (Acoustic) and All We Need (Acoustic)
Secrets – single (2019)
Through That Door– single (2019)
Black Dress – single (2019)
Remember Us – single (2019)
Sleeping Sea – single (2019)
Kane is a classically trained musician, singer and songwriter based in Lakefield, Ontario. In his spare time, he is out and about in nature and being so handy – has even completed his own kitchen and bathroom renos.
Me: Hey Kane! Thank you so much for taking part in this interview. I say it all the time, but I love the positive reception I get from all the musicians that I’ve interviewed. I’ve shared your music a lot on my social media stories and IG reels. I was hooked the moment I heard I Still Love You. Some of my other favourites are Could It Be, Through That Door and Sleeping Sea.
In light of the pandemic, what does the music scene currently look like in Lakefield?
Kane: Thank you so much! Lakefield is a pretty small town so not a ton of a music scene to start, but definitely there has been a hit in the area. No bars/theatres meant no shows. Usually I try to do at least a larger theatre show and some pub shows throughout the year at home, but obviously nothing in the last little while.
Me: Hopefully things will get back to more normal soon. The pandemic hit Toronto pretty bad. Some venues closed their doors for good. Based on your posts it looks like you play the piano, guitar, violin and drums. Which instrument did you first get your hands on and do you play anything else?
Kane: Sadly, not drums. I can’t quite seem to get my feet to go in line with my arms. My first instrument would probably be violin (maybe piano). I picked up the violin when I was 7 and took classical lessons and played with orchestras and different groups right up until university. Guitar came later, around high school.
Me: Very impressive that you can play so many instruments. I once sat behind a drum kit and I did just that – I sat there with no clue what to do. In the midst of the pandemic, you released your EP titled Isolation Sessions. Basically, you isolated yourself in a cabin while you produced six songs during a 4-day period. Obviously, you were productive during that time, but what thoughts ran through your mind in terms of the pressure and stress of having to produce an album?
Kane: I don’t think I really felt much stress to produce the album. I have a background in audio engineering so I was fairly comfortable doing it on my own. I really wanted all the distractions out of the way when I did it though. While I was at the cabin, I made sure to leave my phone at home and keep away from the internet. I really had no contact with the outside world while I was there. That really helped me to get going and feel productive with each song.
Me: What a great way to focus. We should all disconnect from technology once in a while. I’m a bit confused about the labelling of your LV Cabin Sessions versus your Isolation Sessions – are they the same thing?
Kane: Isolation Sessions and LV Cabin Sessions are different. LV Cabin Sessions were done with my regular producer, Femke, as well as Singer-Songwriter, Micah Dalton, a drummer, Matthew Singler and an engineer, Josh Reynolds. We did this one in an Airbnb house a couple hours outside of Nashville in 2019.
Isolation Sessions were completely done by me. All engineering, mixing and mastering as well as all instrumentation. All songs were written with either Jeff Turner or Fain Spray. Everything was recorded in my family cottage in Bancroft in June 2020.
Me: You are one talented guy putting together a whole album on your own. I’ll have to check out your Isolation Sessions on Bandcamp. I love your outdoor shots where you are holding your guitar. The mood of your photos totally supports the organic sound of your songs. What inspires your music?
Kane: Thank you! Every picture is really to the credit of Rebekah Littlejohn from Littlejohn Photography. She has an amazing eye and always seems to catch the best photos and moods. My inspiration for music comes from pretty much anything, whether it’s a thought I had one day or just a feeling. I love to sit down with a guitar and try to write out whatever I can.
Me: It’s so perfect that you love to sit, write and sing – while I love to listen. Keep the songs coming! I find your music authentic and uncluttered – free of bells and whistles. I am reminded of a comment that musician Jake Feeney made in my interview with him about the competitive music industry. He said “A lot of the time it feels like the music isn’t enough, and that you need a compelling story to really cut through the noise.” What do you think it takes to make your mark in the music industry? And were you ever part of a band, or ever consider forming a band?
Kane: I agree. It always seems to feel like you need some kind of story or way to market your music. With so much coming out on Spotify or Apple Music daily, you have to find a way to cut through. I have a Celtic band, Hunt the Hare, that is more of a hobby and something completely different from my solo music. I love playing with groups of people and am always looking for interesting people to play music with.
Me: So cool! I’m taking a listen to Hunt the Hare as I write. I read that you signed on with LV Music – a Nashville (Tennessee) label and did some collaborative work with other artists. Can you tell us more about this?
Kane: All of my music out on Spotify and streaming services has been produced by Femke and released through her label, LV Music. It’s an incredible label to be part of and Femke is an amazing producer. The label feels like a small family and the support between artists and Femke is great. I’ve done a ton of writing collaborations with other artists and writers since starting to work with Femke and LV as well. Pavel Khvaleev just released a song that we did together a couple years ago, with him being a DJ and producer and me a singer-songwriter. It was a totally cool thing that was a very new experience for me.
Me: Nice. One of the things that I love about these interviews is learning tidbits about the music industry. I’m going to change up my typical interview question about your top 3 favourite musicians. Instead, who or which artists would you say most influenced your current musical style?
Kane: Even narrowing it down to 3 favourite musicians would be real hard. I listen to a huge amount of different stuff, from classical to folk to Celtic and back to alternative rock. Currently I’m listening to some Sufjan Stevens B-Sides while we do this but I think my biggest influence would be Damien Rice.
Me: I took a listen to Damien Rice and I get where you’re coming from. I’ve received all sorts of feedback about the challenges associated with being a musician, but the need to have a thick skin is a recurring one. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start a career as a musician?
Kane: Thick skin is a good one. I love the music part of being a musician but you have to be aware that there is so much more in the marketing and business side of it, if you want to succeed. I find attitude is one of the biggest things as well. There are going to be nights when you play just to the bartender and you have to give that your all, just as if you are playing to a packed stadium. Every moment is important.
Me: So true about attitude and I love the visual of the performer and lone bartender. With an impressive 2 million streams across music platforms, what are your plans to keep up the momentum?
Kane: Thank you! I’m always releasing music and I’ve got a few things in my mind and up my sleeve – so stay tuned!
Me: Kane, thanks again for this interview. If you ever play in Toronto, I’ll be there. Is there anything else that you wish to share?
Everyone, don’t forget to give Kane a follow and support musicians by streaming/buying their music, buying merch and tickets for their shows.
Kane: Thank you for having me!