We had the good fortune of connecting with Herald K and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Herald, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
The enjoyment of creative arts, like literature, film, music, painting, has always been important in my life. I never saw them as just entertainment though. There’s just some mystical something about it that often seems to transcend what’s going on in our daily lives. Yet for most of my life I didn’t do any of it actively. This only happened as an adult. First through dabbling a little in poetry, but later with songwriting, recording, and performing. Once I started learning those skills, I felt this was gonna stay with me for the rest of my life. Songwriting can sometimes be frustrating when the muse cannot be found. But it just brings with it, for me, some magical moments of fulfilment when I do manage to create something. A special feeling: Here is something nice… hmm… people might like this… yesterday this didn’t exist… now it is here… It’s a curious feeling, worth aiming for, again, and again and again…
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I call myself a Folk Noir Singer-Songwriter. That description alludes to a few aspects of my music I guess, like the melancholy, the literary, and the nostalgic.
I think my songs are quite different than most in that they are the product of quite unlikely combinations of influences. To combine aspects of somebody like i.e. Hank Williams, a master of simplicity, with his straight-talking idiom, often set to 2 or 3 chords, with, say, the moods and poetic ideas of someone like Baudelaire. That’s when it becomes interesting! And if you dip into the history of literature and music, there are of course endless combinations of artists to discover and create something unique and new from!
But there’s a lot more work behind a little 3-minute track than many would think! I’ve needed to invest lots of time and effort into getting to where I am right now, with one album out and the second one in progress. Writing, composing, arranging, recording, mixing, performing, booking, promo, fundraising etc… All mostly DIY. Not easy, but I don’t think of it so much in the terms easy vs difficult, as the creative process is something I love anyway, and it forces you to learn all kinds of new stuff, which is good. I tend to dislike doing stuff early on though, before I feel comfortable with it. The first few stage appearances felt like real ordeals! The way I overcame that was by telling myself it would be easier the more I’d do it. Just do it a few times, and the joy will come later!
But with creating and performing come new abilities. Trying your own hand at something makes you more appreciative of others doing the same. I guess I now like listening to other people’s music even more than before, as I hear more than I used to! And personally, I’ve had to learn about communication on stage, as that didn’t come so natural. Not just vocally, but also, say, through body language. And that’s a kind of skill that brings confidence to a lot of other situations in life too.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m based in Vienna, an intriguing city, full of ghosts… So I’d take my friend along to some of the cafes in the central parts of town. One could eat cake, drink wine, vibe with the past, and talk inspiredly for hours in some of those places. Be inspired by those spirits of the past… Spend the whole day in a Viennese cafe… No need to go anywhere else! If, then only for a stroll among the old stately buildings outside, but only in order to pass from one haunt to another.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Naming only one person ahead of others just wouldn’t be right, so I’ll name a few of the most important:
Influences: My dad, for always playing a lot of music on our record player and car stereo, and for letting his musical interest rub off on me. Poets like Homer and Baudelaire. Songwriters and performers like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Daniel Lanois, and Hank Williams.
Book: For my current album project, ‘Mythologies’, the book ‘Metamorphoses’, by Ovid, is the most important influence.
Collaborators: Stephan Steiner, a multiinstrumentalist, who plays on the majority of my official songs, and Jürgen Plank, who runs Lindo Records, the label I’m on, for believing in my songs and backing me on my projects.
And many more of course, but we don’t want this to be too ‘cataloguey’.
All colour photos: (c) Funky Eye
Black/White stage photos: (c) Martin Winzisch