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Music

2.24.2020

Ones To Watch: KUČKA

Laura Jane Lowther, better known by the name KUČKA (pronounced Ku-Ch-Ka), is the LA-based producer and vocalist with plenty of notable collaborations as well as a raved solo EP, and an upcoming album. The artist has worked with names such as Flume, ASAP Rocky and Vegyn, but is now letting her own music get some well-deserved recognition.

Growing up in England, Lowther didn’t start experimenting with music until her move to Perth, Australia. Messing around on GarageBand was how she got introduced to the electro-pop genre she’s been owning as of late. Now she resides in LA, which she credits for fine-tuning her technique by working with some of the biggest names in music. With some new singles (and later a new album) KUČKA soon will not only be known as the star collaborator but as the fantastical self-produced artist whose album everyone will fight to be featured on. 

You’ve been most notably known as a collaborator, how does it feel to create this upcoming album on your own?

I feel like I’ve already released two EPs, that I’ve made by myself. So I feel like most of my time in the studio has actually been alone. It’s just that you know, working with people with like a big profile, kind of makes it seem like that’s most of the work that I’ve done, but it’s definitely nice to have my own stuff be recognized on a bigger scale than it was previously.

Do you think working with those bigger artists has inspired your music at all? Or your new music at least?

Yeah, definitely, like, just working with incredible producers. And just seeing like their flow in the studio and like, sharing techniques and stuff like that. Yeah, every session that I’ve gone in I’ve learned something new or even just like, found out about a plug-in that I didn’t know about, so yeah, it’s definitely been helpful.

You released the single “Real” at the beginning of January. Could you talk more about the meaning behind the song?

I guess I’m pretty imaginative, and sometimes I can kind of fulfill everything that I want to fulfill in my imagination. Or it’s kind of fun to do that. 

The first date, I had actually with my now wife, we hit it off straight away because we were imagining, like driving this pink Cadillac and getting dressed up in these ridiculous outfits that we planned. I guess I kind of enjoy doing stuff like that and just wanted to put those kinds of ideas into the lyrics.

Which is harder: producing your own music or producing for others? Are you a perfectionist?  

I’m definitely a perfectionist, oh my God. I feel like it helps me to get better technically. It’s not that I need to listen to music that is, you know, perfect or anything. I love Hype Williams and people who put out stuff that is really rough around the edges. For me personally, I kind of taught myself how to produce, so often I’ll have an idea of how I want it to sound and then I’ll just have to keep chipping away at it until it’s how I envisioned it.

Are you the same for other artists that you produce?

Yeah, to a degree, but I feel like if I’m working on a project with someone else, and I’m kind of leaning into their vision, I’ll probably try and make it- or I’ll work on it until they’re happy.

Also, with producing and stuff, you don’t really need an end goal when you start doing it. I know I’ve spoken to a lot of women who kind of are like, “Oh, I don’t have a label or I don’t know what I’ll do with my music,” but I think just even opening GarageBand and if you really love music and you want to get into it just kind of experiment and mess around. 

Is that how you started? 

Yeah, 100%.

What is something you do outside of making music?

 Hmm, right now I’m pretty grandma-ish. I do a lot of yoga, I like to dance a lot, and honestly not that much. I just really like to feel good right now.

You said that your music is very much studio music. How do you feel you’ve had to change it, if at all, in order to perform it live?

I find it really hard to put live shows together. Actually, that’s what I’ve been working on all morning. The sounds are often like, the synths will be like six different synths layered together and E-tuned with a bunch of effects, so it’s not something that I can just open up and play the keys to. I use a lot of sampling in the live show. So I’ll take the stems, and break stuff up.

I’ve been experimenting with a lot of vocal effects, for live shows, which is a new edition. I’m hoping to play with the arrangements a little more and let the tracks kind of breathe so that people can kind of dance a little bit. A lot of my tracks have a pop structure, which doesn’t really give people the chance to get in the zone. 

What’s the ideal way you want your fans to experience your music?

If someone can come to a show (I don’t really care if they watch me perform; like even if they had their eyes closed) and they’re just kind of feeling it in their body and moving around. Maybe getting some nice imagery as well. I think that would be the ideal way. 

Do you feel like your sound has changed at all from your first release in 2015?  

I think it has. My last release was way more chill and dreamy. This one has elements that are more upbeat I would say, and a bit more aggressive at times. 

You’ve lived in Australia and LA, which place has inspired you the most? 

I’m originally from England, but I’ve lived in Australia for ten years and LA for three. I lived in England till I was 16-years-old, so I guess a lot of my cultural upbringing came from there. 

Then I started making music in Australia, so I think the way I kind of view collaborating and the local scenes and the importance of that really was formed in Perth, Australia, which has the most incredible underground experimental scene. 

And then LA has been, again, so different. Being around such amazing musicians literally, at the top of their game has made me just be forced to level up. So, I think, technically I have been influenced by being here. 

You’ve done so many amazing collaborations but who is your dream collaborator? Have you already collaborated?  

You know who I’d love to work with, Baba Stiltz, he’d be awesome. Also, Smerz, they’re this duo with XL Recordings, I think they’re Norweigan, and they’re incredible. 

Images Courtesy of Lamont Roberson II

Stay tuned to Milk for more Ones to Watch.

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