Kirklandd may not be a name you’re familiar with yet, but it’s a name that may well become inescapable if the momentum the Serbian-Australian artist has been building in the rap scene continues. The Canberra-based artist’s work has garnered appreciation from the likes of T-Pain and seen collaborations with industry heavyweights like Taka Perry (Denzel Curry), Tasker (Rest for the Wicked), and Tanner (Internet Money, Juice Wlrd).

With the release latest single, the Taka Perry produced ‘ANOTHER’, that momentum only looks set to build.

‘ANOTHER’ is the latest example of a new sound Kirklandd has been carefully crafting over the past two years, starting with August single ‘OUTSIDE‘ and culminating with the planned release of a mixtape next year. The sound is grounded in the ultra-modern hip-hop that’s seen him success so far but adds infusions of 2000s pop punk and alt-rock. The result is deft blend of the nostalgic and the new, with slick production and infectious hooks begging to be sung along to.

Sydneysiders looking to see Kirklandd live can catch the artist at his ‘ANOTHER’ Single Launch show at Beach Road Bondi on the 30th of this month. To mark the release of ‘ANOTHER’ and his upcoming show, we caught up with Kirklandd to find out more about his life and music.

How did your artist name come about?

I think my whole intention when I was writing music as a kid was for it to be as reflective of myself and my experiences as possible. I wasn’t trying to create a persona – to be honest I wasn’t even thinking about taking music seriously when I first started out – so I let my artist name simply be my last name. I added the extra ‘d’ so it was slightly off-centre from my legal name, but still ultimately me. For me that meant anything people connected with in the music simply served as a direct connection to me, and leading with openness in my music has always been a priority for me.

How would you describe your music to your grandma?

I think every time I’ve shown her something, I’m like ‘Grandma, this is it. This is the one that’s going to go crazy’, and each time the music has made little to no sense to her. I think when I showed her ‘Too Late’ her feet started tapping, and I was like “damn, I’ve made it”. I think once she sees people connecting and resonating with the music, and I explain how much joy creating it brings me, it starts to make more sense. Ultimately if she sees me hyped up and excited about something, she gets excited too.

Tell us about your new single, what’s it about?

‘ANOTHER’ was the first track I worked on in this new chapter of my artist project. Taka Perry and I connected in October, 2020, and I shared the early intention of this direction with him. We crafted ‘ANOTHER’ in three hours that day in his studio in Sydney. I’d just come off the back of my experiences crafting The Love Divide EP, and the relationship I was in when I was making that project. Strangely, ‘ANOTHER’ flooded out of me, and captured the fear I was feeling of going through all of that again with another person. The track explores that resistance, and a simultaneous fear of abandonment I sometimes feel in my creative journey. A few things came in a short space of time that on reflection, were voicing quite a lot.

What do you love about your hometown?

How supportive, close-knit and collaborative the scene is here. We pull each other up and enhance our ideas together. Some of the best music I’ve made came from a writing camp at the end of 2020, with some incredible Canberra creatives and some of my closest friends. We operate with complete egolessness and conviction. I also love the amount of nature we have here and the sense of calm about the city. And Brodburger.

Career highlight so far?

Things spring to mind, like playing my first festival or the T-Pain reaction that happened last year. There have been some truly fire moments that I’m grateful for. Since Covid kicked off though, my most fulfilling moments have been finding new corners of my creativity. Spending super late nights seeking out ideas and melodies and realising them, and getting myself truly hyped to a point of genuine self-belief has been wild, and the most fulfilling practice I’ve developed since the pandemic. And given it’s something I give myself, that’s not contingent on external factors, it makes it even more valuable to me.

Fave non-music hobby?

My world is damn near exclusively music at the moment. Jogging’s become a constant method of breaking away and recharging, but even then I’m listening to demos while I do it. Also fully music-related, but since Kendrick dropped I’ve been doing uninterrupted top-to-bottom listens of records again lately. It’s such an enriching process sitting down, closing your eyes and giving art the respect of time and space it requires to let it fully take hold of you. The last record I did was Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, which was wild.

What’s on your dream rider?

A personal pho station for my band, Joshy B and Vik, and my sound engineer, Dan, and I. We appreciate a good pho like no one else. That’s when we’ll know we’ve made it.

Dream music collaboration?

Jon Bellion. That will happen when I’m more prepared, and I have a lot of work to do between now and then.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I think that’s figuring itself out. I’ve detached myself from any clear ‘I have to be doing this’ or sticking to one lane. I achieve fulfilment through expression, and if I can create and express myself through projects that contribute something to art, be it mine or others, and help me as the creator as well as those experiencing it, I’ll be fulfilled. That’s why I’m venturing more into production and songwriting as well as my artist project now, I don’t always feel the need to be the face of everything I create. And eventually, working remotely out of a small villa in Tuscany.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins or ‘tieduprightnow’ by Parcels.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Find fulfilment in things other than external factors, and practice detachment. You only ever have so much control over external measures of success, but the balance you develop in yourself and your practice, be it creative or otherwise, is eternally more valuable. I keep my energy protected when I’m creating, so that nothing but myself can measure the fulfilment it brings me. That, and learning over time that everything evolves around the art, first and foremost. 

What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?

I’m obsessed with films. They’re a close second to music for me. When I’m writing or drawing up ideas I often visualise scenes from films I love. Like the other day I watched ‘Joker’ for the fourth time. That night I composed a piece of music on the cello, that serves as the theme on the mixtape I’m working on. Something about those brooding cello chords that represent an integration or evolution in a character really intrigued me, and I had Joaquin Phoenix’s bathroom dance scene in mind when I was writing it. Hildur Guonadottir’s score in that is so so beautiful.

Kirlkandd ‘ANOTHER’ Single Launch

Friday, 30th September
Beach Road Bondi, SYDNEY
Free Entry