Kate Koenig – “Chromatic Sun”
“…an artist you simply have to look out for in 2023.”
Experimental singer-songwriter Kate Koenig leans on the many different worlds of folk to embody their one of a kind sound. The New York based songwriter has been very busy in their locally huge scene, playing at renowned venues Rockwood Music Hall and Mercury Lounge since starting out their journey in 2017. They only started officially recording and releasing in 2019 though, with the debut album ‘Haircuts For Barbers’.
Heavily influenced by the likes of Fleet Foxes and Jeff Buckley with a sprinkling of Leonard Cohen, Koenig takes the more unconventional approach to their craft, and this is highlighted brilliantly with the lead single ‘Chromatic Sun’ from their third album ‘Immortal Rhythm’ released at the beginning of this year.
Acoustically rich and intertwined throughout, Kate has a knack of creating a sound world that is entirely their own instantaneously, which immediately sparks so much intrigue. Complex rhythms and time signatures add to their all encompassing folk offering, and ‘Chromatic Sun’ builds in anticipation, before a full drum kit enters and Kate elevates their vocals and lyricism, in a song that is all about battling themselves and the problems they faced in their life.
The chords in particular are striking, and ‘Chromatic Sun’ feels dramatic and luring all at once. It’s an undeniable quality that Kate Koenig possesses, and you can hear all of the influences aforementioned, and the result is a staggering and unique brand of experimental folk that switches to a full band sound whilst still holding true to the traditional values of this spellbinding genre, making Kate Koenig an artist you simply have to look out for in 2023.
Hey Kate, tell us all about ‘Chromatic Sun’, we’re so keen to learn more!
The song really is about the struggles and intense moods that can come with living with bipolar.. I will say that contrary to popular belief — at least in my experience — the moods don’t come in “swings,” exactly; they’re just very high or very low when they do happen. Anyway, I can add that people seem to have fun trying to figure out the song’s time signature. It’s just alternating measures of 6/8 and 9/8.
What was the recording and writing process like for this song, did it differ from the rest of the album?
In regards to writing it, I remember when it first came to me: I was playing guitar in the basement of the Music Inn, a world instrument store in NYC’s Greenwich Village where I used to work, and just was feeling out a flow of those spacious-sounding chords. I’ve always had a penchant for writing songs in triple meters — mainly 6/8 — so it all felt very natural as it came together. The
funky time signature changes actually were tripping us all up while working out the rhythm parts, just in getting a handle of it as a group, but by the time we were in the studio, the band had it down perfectly.
It sounds as if you’ve been through quite a journey as an artist and as a person, has this album helped you through that process?
Oh, I have! I think every song I write is a form of catharsis for me and helps me to process whatever I’m going through. Most of the songs on the album were written during a rather difficult period of my life, so they’re pretty vulnerable. But writing music definitely makes life more bearable, in general.
Your openness about mental health is so refreshing, especially today, are you looking to inspire others with your story and music?
I am, both passively but also with some intention and awareness, if that makes sense. Like, expressing myself vulnerably is just part of who I am, but I’m also aware that being open about those things helps to normalize the conversation around mental health, and makes it easier for others to be open about what they’re dealing with. It’s very important to me to do what I can to contribute to that.
What is your favorite part of ‘Chromatic Sun’?
How the time signature changes give it a unique flow!
Lastly, are you planning to take this album to live shows in 2023?
Absolutely! I’m excited to continue playing with my drummer, Ramsey Jones, and bassist, Eliza Endless. They rock!