The State Of Music: Part 45 : Georgia - Kinisi
I guess now I am officially on countdown with this project, the fear is already setting in with what on earth I am going to do next. My brain makes it a mandatory requirement that I have some mammoth challenging project going on. At the minute I am struggling to see how The State Of Music can be beaten. Maybe it never will, which isn't especially a bad thing. Today we visit the state of Georgia and meet up with Speros Constantine Kokenes, otherwise known as Kinsi. Before we start I owe a huge apology to Speros. We have been in contact for almost a year now and on various occasions he was supposed to appear on this site, but I could just never get it to fit with whatever I was doing at the time. We got there in the end my friend.
CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who is Kinisi and where in the world would we find you?
Kinisi is my music project. My name is Speros Constantine Kokenes, I am a Greek-American classically trained guitarist and all around audiophile. You can find me in Atlanta, GA.
CMM: How long have you been recording as Kinisi and how did it all start?
I started releasing music under the name Kinisi about a year and half ago. The concept behind it started way before that - I started playing guitar when I was 13 and I was already a technology nerd back then. So I was always trying to find ways to rig my dad's old audio gear together to record things on my computer.
In the summer of 2009 I recorded a folk album called Cicada Summer with singer/songwriter Maxwell Dale Creagh Roll. I had written a few songs for that album that never made it on. Cicada Summer was a one and done deal, but I really was into these songs and wanted to finish them. So I decided to put them out myself under the Kinisi name, with some contributions from Max. Since then I've continued to use the name as an avenue for releasing music.
CMM: How best would you describe your music?
A mixture of inorganic and organic elements. There's a lot of live recordings of things like guitars, bells, anything I can find that sounds right really, mixed in with sounds generated electronically. The electronic stuff is usually rhythmic sections mixed in with altering of live sounds to make them sound more like synths than live instruments. Some of the early stuff is very verse-chorus-verse type material, but I'm also really interested in pieces that kind of just ebb and flow and take you somewhere without having to explicitly rehash themes.
CMM:. How is the scene in Georgia right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?
The scene is awesome. I really feel like Atlanta specifically is headed in the right direction to make some big noise as an indie music hub. The Georgia music scene has always been good, thanks to the scene up in Athens. But I'm strictly an ATL kid so its nice to see things blowing up around here.
We've got so many great music venues here, and thanks to the hip hop world there are a lot of studios around and just in general a welcoming musical atmosphere. Lots of cool bands around, especially some bigger guys like Deerhunter/Atlas Sound, Washed Out, and I think Toro y Moi is hanging around here now.
I don't know about the genre of choice. There's good music all over, and a lot of experimental artists, which I really dig. I've enjoyed the electronic scene, especially guys like Time Wharp. And I won't drop the dreaded "c" word, but I've caught some Washed Out and Toro shows as well...
CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?
Yea, definitely. Atlanta has got a really great energy to it. It's real diverse and yet has this distinct attitude about it that's reflected in a lot of the music that it produces. And with all the great bands playing around here, you are guaranteed to be influenced in some way when you go to a show.
CMM: What other influences do you have, musical or otherwise?
I listen to a ton of college radio (Album 88.5 is where its at). It's a great way to get a hear a wide range of interesting music that is usually new. That music always gets me thinking about new ideas to try.
I also listen to some ethnic music, particularly Greek folk music. I play some eastern folk instruments and just started oud lessons to add another one to my arsenal. It definitely changes your perspective on scales and tonality.
I try to learn some things from classical music too, but I can't claim to be any more knowledgeable about it than the average joe.
CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?
Under Fire is my first EP, with some help from Maxwell Roll. Lots of hazy guitars.
"Peach State" and "Islands" are two other EP's I've done that are a bit more experimental with sounds, and a little less organized. They are much more stream of consciousness type material than diligently arranged pieces.
"Sun Battle Soul" is close to a full-length standard I guess. It's meant to be a "concept album", but there are no words so its more impressionist than explicitly providing you details of the story behind it.
Most recently, I arranged a track for a Double Phantom Digital collaboration album of local Atlanta artists. It's called "Weekdaze", and it was inspired by the numbness the typical work week can have on your mind.
CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?
I haven't taken any Kinisi stuff live because honestly I'm not sure how I would do it or if I would want to do it. I like playing instruments on stage, not laptops.
CMM: What's next in the pipeline for you?
I'm currently writing some music both for Kinisi and for a live band that I am starting. The band will play out live and under a different name than Kinisi. I just rehearsed some of that material with a drummer yesterday and it's shaking out nicely, so I'm excited to tie that together and get on stage again.
CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?
I have a twitter @kinisimusic.
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