KESMAR is a new chapter for Sydney musician Nathan Hawes. Having first picked up a guitar in 2006, Hawes spent over a decade serenading audiences with his folk tunes with great success. Considering his musical background, Hawes’ latest evolution into KESMAR comes as an eyebrow-raising surprise. He’s traded his acoustic guitar for swirling synths, introducing a more disco-oriented chapter of his career. Conceived from writing sessions in 2016, where he “basically fell in love with learning production and vintage synthesisers.”
As questions reared around the Internet for the past few weeks of “Who Is KESMAR?”, and only answered with cryptic snippets on social media – KESMAR has revealed his identity in full, with the release of his debut single Feel It Again. Nathan tells Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles more.
Congratulations on your debut single, is it a bit of a relief to have that one out now?
It’s a huge relief to have the project and first single out now! I’ve been working on this project for about two and a half years, so it feels great hearing all the feedback about the first single. It’s been a big learning curve for me over these past years, having to decide where I wanted to take the sound and image, but happy where we are now.
What is the message behind Feel It Again?
Feel It Again stemmed from a recent break up at the time, I was still in the feeling of after a relationship ends you often question yourself “will I feel it again?”, basically saying will I ever feel the way I used to feel. From there lyrics, theme and track all developed around each other fairly smoothly.
Are you surprised with what can be achieved in your living room?
I think at first, I was when I first started learning production, listening to some of my favourite new records thinking they must have needed a big expensive studio to record and amazing hardware gear but the reality is you don’t need any of that. It’s amazing to hear the music people are making coming just out of their laptops. Now with the emulations of classic vintage synths, keyboards and drum machines if you know what you’re looking for you can pull almost the exact same sound and, in the end, no one can really tell once it’s in the track.
How would you describe the Kesmar sound?
Hmm I think genre wise it would somehow fit into the Alternative pop corner of the music world with influences of 70’s disco.
Have you been involved in many other bands or projects before?
I used to have a solo project that was very folk, I think in the end after doing the folk vibe for a few years I felt slightly limited and wanted to push my creativity to places I didn’t know I could take it, that’s when I took on Kesmar. Although I still love folk music for its simplicity, rawness and honest lyrics which I still try convey in what I’m making now.
What did you think Lanks brought to the table?
I think Lanks is so incredibly talented at producing and writing but I think the best thing he brought to the table was pushing me to express how I feel and helping me better explain that in a song writing form. Going into the session when we wrote Feel It Again I never went in intending to write about the recent breakup but it in the end it was just natural and had to come out eventually.
Are you stoked to be getting played on Triple J and getting noticed online internationally?
I think one of my favourite moments was receiving the message from my manager saying that they were premiering my single on Good Nights, it was huge for me. So yeah, it’s been great! Just the audience they bring in I feel are fairly open minded and always show a genuine interest in new music. Also, the recognition from the blog would has been amazing too, my manager sent me a link to a blog in Japan and what not and it’s absolutely mind-blowing.
Are there plans for an album?
I’ve written a tonne of songs for this project, I explored so many different sides to my production and song writing when I was trying to pull the sound I have now so I think the Kesmar project is just going to keep evolving. We have more music coming next year which I’m super excited to see how everyone reacts to but for now I’m just enjoying the reception from ‘Feel It Again’
Is there a summer tour locked in?
We just have the one show at the Lansdowne in Sydney on the 7th of November which I cannot wait for, it will be the first Kesmar show and the first time playing so much more new music. There’s also some things I can’t announce yet which will be happening over summer, but the end of this year and next are looking lush from here.
What’s the plan from here for Kesmar?
The plan for Kesmar is to just keep on pushing out all of this new music I’ve been working on, playing fun shows and making exciting visual content. Everyone has been super supportive of this project and just open to the new sound which I find really cool, so I’m ridiculously keen to get more of this music out.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Kesmar’s launch show…