KUHN FU: Movies Without Picture

Kuhn Fu

Hailing from Groningen, The Netherlands Kuhn Fu is a jazz rock quartet, led by guitarist and composer Christian Achim Kühn, who recently put out their new album titled ‘Kuhnspiracy.’ In an interview for Prog Sphere, Kühn reveals what it took to come up with the record, its theme, recording process, and more.

Define the mission of Kuhn Fu.

Playing intense live shows, making records and meeting lots of interesting people and places this way.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new album Kuhnspiracy.

I wrote all the material within the last two years and then we played it live. This way each band member could give a lot of input and we are not just playing the written material.

Although Kuhnspiracy is an instrumental release, and therefore there aren’t lyrics to tell a story, is there a certain message you try to transmit with your instruments? 

It’s still story telling. Each song is about a character, mostly people who got on the wrong track and who don’t make it in the end. “Eiger-Nordwand” for example is about the fictional character Hans Schmitz who tries to climb the Eiger-Nordwand and fails miserably and dies in the end. It can also be seen as a metaphor for something else, that’s up to the listener. We try to create pictures in the listener’s head. Movies without picture.

Kuhnspiracy

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

When I have an idea i write it down on paper. Then I use the notation program Sibelius. Next step is to play the material live and to shape the composition with the input everybody gives. Once we have shaped the music through concerts, it’s ready to be recorded.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes very well. We put a lot of weight this time on the dynamics. I would say the dynamic playing is one of the most distinct aspects of this record.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

We played it live in the studio without overdubbing or editing. Everything was recorded analog on tape.

How long Kuhnspiracy was in the making?

From writing the music to the final release date it was two years.

Kuhn Fu live

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Classical music had a big impact on my writing this time. So that’s in there for sure, for example Schubert, Stravinsky and Charles Ives. That might not be always audible to the listener, but the dynamics and also classical compositional techniques like voice leading and orchestration (doubling of voices) are influenced by this music. And then there are other influences that are with us from the beginning like Duke Ellington, Led Zeppelin and also Free Jazz.

What is your view on technology in music?

It’s a tool. Not more or less. It can be very helpful in getting your point across. It should make things easier and not more complicated. That said sometimes to have less options can be more helpful for me. For me three knobs to push can be better than twenty five I must say. I am not a tech fan who needs always the latest things. I still don’t own a Smart Phone for example. haha.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

To play my own music is giving me direction and a purpose. And I hope to entertain others with it.

What are your plans for the future?

Now that we just released the record we will try to tour with it for the next year at least. I hope we can expand our touring routes to countries we haven’t been before and to simply get more known so we can spread our music.

Kuhnspiracy is out now and is available from Bandcamp. Visit Kuhn Fu’s official website for more info and tour dates, and stay connected with the band via FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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