Photo Credit: Julianna Photography
Those who’ve been searching high and low for a technicolor, audible adventure – search no more because Kainalu has got you covered with his November release, ‘Ginseng Hourglass.’ We talked about the colorful aspects of the record, how obsessed he can find himself when it comes to listening to records, and more like the lyrical tattoo inspirations.
Kendra: You’ve noted that you use music as a way to heal. With that, can you recall the first time in your life you used a song or album as an audible band-aid of sorts?
Kainalu: I always get completely obsessed with albums and listen to the same ones over and over again for years. One of the first albums that really got me through hard times was Lucius’ ‘Wilde Woman.’ It’s a perfect album from front to back and dives deep into relationships and heartbreak. More recently, Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ carried me through the pandemic. It’s the perfect isolationist’s album and I think it may be my favorite record of all time. It’s kind of funny but I can remember every album I had obsessions with since I was a teenager. In order they were:
Bon Iver, ‘For Emma’
Haim, ‘Days are Gone’
Lucius, ‘Wilde Woman’
Toro Y Moi, ‘Underneath the Pine’
Thundercat, ‘It Is What It Is’
Radiohead, ‘In Rainbows’…and literally every album they have.
Kendra: When did you go from enjoying music as a fan to wanting to pursue it as an artist?
Kainalu: I’ve always been surrounded by music because both of my parents were musicians. My dad sort of introduced the idea of writing music to me at a really young age. He was a songwriter himself, so he always encouraged me not just to learn instruments but use them to create songs.
I think I really began writing music for my middle school punk band when I was around 12? I started taking music more seriously once I went to college to study music composition. Back then the goal was to become a film score composer but over time it shifted into indie music.
Kendra: Now let’s talk about your sophomore release, “Ginseng Hourglass.’ With ginseng being used to boost energy and reduce stress – and an hourglass usually reminding us of the passing of time, was there any significant moment that led you to pair the calmness of ginseng with the daunting ways of an hourglass?
Kainalu: Because ginseng is used as a medicinal herb, to me it symbolizes the idea of life and health. Combining the two concepts gave me the imagery of passing life. The hourglass symbolizes the finiteness of living and the inevitability of time running out.
Kendra: When it comes to ‘Ginseng Hourglass’ you’ve said you wanted to immerse listeners in a kaleidoscope. So listening to this album, what colors and shapes do you feel best represents the pattern in which we’ll envision when listening?
Kainalu: For lack of better words, I really enjoy watching tunnels when I listen to music. It gives me the thrill of riding a roller coaster when listening to music. So I want all the songs to feel as though you’re being taken on a sprawling journey through their duration. Each song has a different palette of colors to me. “Queen of Wands” is pink, “Ginseng Hourglass” is dark green. “Inhibitions / Intuitions” is turquoise, “Revelator” is deep purple, etc.
Kendra: So I feel like “Queen of Wands” is going to inspire a lot of fans to head to their local tattoo shop and get this tarot card. Aside from the visual of that song, what lyric from that track do you think would make the best tattoo?
Kainalu: My favorite line from the song is “A fallen mandala of true heartbreak.” It may be a bit emo for a tattoo though.
Kendra: It’s time for a side note: With it being spooky season, I’d love for you to share your favorite movie to watch around Halloween – could be scary, funny, or a little of both!
Kainalu: ‘The Shining’ 100% for the thrill and the goofiness.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Ginseng Hourglass out on November 4th, do you have plans in the works for 2023 as far as touring is concerned?
Kainalu: I’ll be touring both the east and west coast next year and some other surprises. I’ve also got two special album release shows – one in Chicago at Schubas and the other in Madison at the Majestic Theatre.