Katie Kim’s new album, ‘Hour Of The Ox’, comes with a headline grabbing proviso in the small print: it’ll be the last under the name in which she’s forged her career. ‘Hour of the Ox’ is an intense and moody record, a limited edition of 500 copies that’ll come into the public realm via an intense vinyl pressing.
It’s taken a long time to come together, and the release is a landmark for an Irish slow-builder who has now reached her sixth studio record, leaving behind a trail of beautiful, pulsating work.
“Hour of the Ox is my forthcoming album; an album of songs and pieces I assembled mostly alone over a period of five years and then brought to my long time friend, bandmate and collaborator John ‘Spud’ Murphy,” Kim explains. “We then worked together closely, reshaping and reimagining a lot of what was initially written.”
“I feel my sound has evolved organically. It evolved while my curiosity evolved. It evolved musically as we introduced percussion and synthesised, layered forms were built. It’s difficult to describe how you evolve musically as it happens naturally and not intentionally.”
“I do always feel a bit drained creatively after making an album as it involves a lot of work, a lot of listening, a lot of listening to myself! And when it’s over, the last thing I feel like is listening to the sound of my own voice. This record took seven years, due to two years of Covid and lockdowns.”
Kim feels the need, after this, to move on from her own name as the headline under which she releases her records, but finds it hard to define why. “It’s quite a personal and difficult thing to give reason to,” she says. “Also I never say never. I’ve been writing and performing as Katie Kim for nearly 15 years and I’m not abandoning her.”
“I just feel whatever is next, a shift is needed. I’m not saying goodbye at all. I don’t think I would be able to function generally in life if I didn’t have writing or recording to turn to. I will always be writing in some capacity or another.”
Part of the last few years for Kim has been centred around a short stint in New York, one that was meant to be much longer, but was cut short by the decision to head home when the pandemic hit.
“It was short lived,” she says. “I had a two year visa and only got to live there for five months, so it was good while it lasted. I had a great studio setup, I was getting to know people, before the pandemic happened and sent me home.”
“But I do believe things are what they are. No point being regretful or down about it. I had a good time while I was there and have been back since.”
There’s been plenty of chance to re-engage with the Irish scene since her return, too.
“I’m excited to make videos with friends, visuals, art in any form” she says of her return. “Lockdown was quite a beautiful time for me creatively as I have to work a day job to make ends meet, so lockdown gave me freedom to focus solely on the creative.”
“I lived in the Irish countryside, walked my grandad’s dog in the woods everyday, listened to Donal Dineen’s podcast and fell in love with music again.”