This weekend, Bristol is in for a special, albeit annual treat in the form of Simple Things 2016. Joining the line-up is locally loved ambient electronica artist, Kayla Painter; a DJ and producer who puts on a spectacular show with live collaborator Jason Baker providing visuals.
No doubt hoping to make the most of the alt-electronica audience provided by Simple Things, the Southampton native will roll out an audio-visual heavy set which last saw the light of day at Glastonbury Festival.
“I’ve been in Australia, actually, for a few weeks, and I took a recorder with me and got loads of new songs [demo’d]. I’m quite excited about taking them back to the studio and kind of working with them,” Kayla recounts the experience. “[Everything] sounds different, because everything is different: the environment, the animals, the technology, everything sounds a little bit different. That’s where my head’s at, at the minute!”
Kayla’s recorded abroad before – notably in Nepal – and says that travelling is a really “enriching” experience for her: “I love doing it, and it’s nice because I like to go on holiday [tpp],” she laughs. “It’s nice to be able to do a bit of crazy stuff and not be stuck behind a computer recording… Just [being in] different places, getting a bit closer to the sound and thinking about the quality of the sound.”
“I’ve finished an album, which is coming out on Turnstile,” Kayla says of the advances she’s made in terms of output. “I’m also working towards my masters, which is in music as well. I’m working on a sculpture – a sound sculpture, and I’m sampling that in my thesis, so I’m working on lots of different things.”
Kayla immediately comes across as someone with multiple plates spinning at one time, and successfully, too. She explains that it helps that there’s a crossover between her studies and the music she makes: “I wanted to use [the masters] as a way to explore other stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily release under my name. What I’ve found is that I’ve made more interesting stuff that I am proud of, and that I do want to release under my name, so that’s really nice. I’ve learned a lot of techniques.”
“I’m obviously preparing for Simple Things, so I’ve been rehearsing with Jason,” she says of her current focus. “We’re doing the dual-screen show, and I’m pretty excited about bringing that back to The Lantern. The last time we played it at Glastonbury it was amazing. We’ve had it go out to a lot of people and we’ve had some really great feedback, so we’ve been working on it and tweaking it.”
Having witnessed the dual-screen show at The Canteen earlier in the year, it’s interesting to hear the show has developed over time, despite the intricacies of working with two different forms of media: “We’ve got new songs and new visuals, and there’s some stuff in there that’s the same, but the timings of things have changed. We’ve rehearsed ideas that we want to work with live to how we can get to them, and so some of it will be different. But there are certain things I want to keep in there, like I find some of the stars that swirl around in one of the tracks are amazing. I feel like they’re pretty timeless, so I’ve asked Jason to keep them in. I think he’s quite happy to do that because they really are effective.
It’s developed a bit, I think, and it’s nice to play The Lantern, as well, because it probably is going to be dark in there.”
Her collaboration with Baker was established a few years ago, and is ongoing thanks to shared connections and experiences: “I think we probably draw from [shared] experiences - whether it’s a trip, or something we go to see in a gallery, or gigs, or whatever.”
“It’s an immersive performance, so I think people come and they expect to see a gig where they might really kind of get visual cues from the performer and be really locked into what they’re doing. I think the difference between what other performers might do and what we do is that they become hopefully locked into the narrative of the visuals rather than me, the person, and I think that’s a different experience. It’s more virtual reality rather than a human connection, and I like it because a lot of our stuff is very sci-fi inspired, so it kind of goes with that thing.
Whenever I play the dual screen I always get someone coming up to me and saying, “Oh my god, I’m so blown away.” People don’t know what to expect, and that is really amazing.”