London up-and-comer Kamal. is making waves with his lo-fi, heart-on-sleeve pop tunes that weave a slow-down, take-a-minute magic to put a calming spell over even the most hectic of times. His latest double A-side, 'about the party' and 'autopilot' is a one-two of loveliness, and today he's sharing a video for the latter.
"I wrote and recorded ‘autopilot' a year ago, feeling rough in the studio," he says. "Although it was written a week before 'about the party', it’s inspired by losing track of time on the way back from a motive, as the blurry effects in the video reflect. 'about the party' is almost a prologue to this song."
Give it a watch below, and get to know Kamal. a little better, too.
Hi Kamal, how's it going? What are you up to today?
I’m alright thanks! Enjoying a small get away with my family, to a hotel in the country side. It’s nice to have an opportunity to relax.
Have your days changed much due to lockdowns this year? It feels like your music is a great accompaniment to being stuck at home.
My days have changed quite a bit but I’m trying not to let it phase me; staying in contact with friends online as much as I can, and trying to keep occupied and busy.
I feel like ‘homebody' especially was really able to connect with people as a result of lockdown, and the love that the song received has definitely helped me through these times as well.
Are you done with school and education now, or are you still having to juggle it all?
I have finished sixth form, and am not looking to go to university right now, so currently music is my main focus. There was a while where I was only able to go to the studio on weekends, but now I’ve got the free time you can expect more material!
What first drew you to becoming a musician, did you have a musical upbringing?
When I was around six or seven years old, my family where able to get an upright piano for free. I remember coming home from school and being so excited to see it there in the living room. I started playing, and seemed enthusiastic enough that my parents thought it was worth getting me lessons. I started learning classical piano and my passion for music really stems from there. The more styles and genres I explored the more my love for music grew.
Can you remember the first album or single you bought?
I remember the first thing I ever bought on iTunes was Cadet’s debut EP 'The Commitment', which came out in 2016. I’d found his song 'The Stereotype' and loved the honesty and intelligence of the music. I found his music really inspiring, rest in peace to him.
Does songwriting come easily to you? Where do you look for inspiration?
Some songs come more easily than others. I often write about feelings I have experienced, and on occasion even through the lens of someone else. For the most part, though, I take an emotion I have felt, and exaggerate it in my mind. I find this way I can really tap into that thought or feeling, and translate it into words.
How did you make the jump from making music on your own, to working with producers and whatnot?
The first song I recorded was ‘smilingdownthephone', which I did at a local studio in Harlesden. That studio belonged to Martin Slattery, who’s the father of one of my close friends. He was kind enough to let me use the studio for free, and help me work on the song, and that then became my first release.
Because of that, I was accustomed to working with other people from quite early on. Although I still do spend a lot of time making music and ideas on my own, it’s usually as a first step of a song, before taking it to a studio space to finish.
How are you coping with gaining such a huge number of online listeners and famous fans so quickly? It must be proper weird.
It is weird, and whilst I’m very thankful for it, I’m making a concerted effort to stay focused on the music, and continuing to create sounds I like. I feel like it’s easy to get caught up in enjoying the support, and forget that the music is the main priority. But yeah, it’s very surreal to have so many people listening, and I’ve got love for everyone tuning in.
You're in London, right? Where do you like to hang out?
Since COVID has struck I haven’t been doing so much “hanging out”, but I’ve been frequenting my local park and visited a couple of pubs in north London relatively recently. Would normally be able to provide a better answer but honestly can hardly remember the spots I used to chill before lockdown!
Have you had many opportunities to travel with your music yet?
I have not, but I hope I’ll be able to in the future. Seeing support in places like Korea and America is insane to me, and I hope I’ll be able to experience some of that first hand one day.
Tell us a secret about yourself?
The music video for ‘homebody' looks like it's shot in my bedroom, but in order to get the lighting right, we actually moved all of my possessions into a warehouse/studio space and recreated the look! It was bare weird filming in a room that looked identical to mine, but actually wasn’t.
What are your hopes for 2021?
All I want is to keep putting out music, and for people to keep listening!