Diary Of A Songwriter: Katrin Hahner
The creative force behind Kenichi & The Sun lets us into her world of video releases, collaborations and photo shoots
Kenichi & The Sun formed in 2019, emerging from the dark pop act Miss Kenichi. The creative outlet of Katrin Hahner, now based between Berlin and Rekjavik, her debut album of electronic folk/gloom-pop was due out next month but, like so many other releases, has understandably been pushed back to later in the year.
Thankfully we still have recent single Splendour to enjoy. Hahner says that the song depicts, “Devotion, love, sacredness and struggle between humans and the forces that drive us apart or towards each other.” It’s also a hypnotic and skilfully constructed track which builds from a barren opening to eventually reveal its sonic bounty.
Back in February, which already feels like a different era, Hahner diarised a week in her life for us, and what a busy week it was…
13:00 – I´m rehearsing with synth wizard Arne Augustin and Stellan Veloce, the cellist and composer who wrote and performed the string parts on the new album. We have to rehearse in separate clusters before the full band can come together. We will be seven people on stage, but everybody is on tour before and our schedules just don´t match. My husband Earl [Harvin], who plays drums, is now on tour with his band Tindersticks, so we already rehearsed with Arne two weeks ago. It´s mad. But it will be great. And we just have to make it work.
The show will be a week after the album release at Silent Green, a former crematorium, which is now a beautiful creative centre and music venue. The new album is called White Fire – fire was, and is still, used in medicine-making to transform toxic compounds into healing ones. I threw my mess into this fire and it sure was a powerful transformation to make this album.
07:00 – Tired. Ice-cold shower. Works like a charm. FAULT magazine premiers the video for Splendour today. Nice!
19:00 – On my way to a panel about female composers. I am one of two speakers and arrive just in time to hop on stage. We talk about our work process and demonstrate the path from demos to the finished tracks. It´s a great night with really good questions and conversations and a lovely international audience. Which also means I hang out way too long.
01:00 – Getting home, having some late-night breakfast. Some silly TV.
03:00 – Zzzzz.
10:00 – My new video and first single Splendour is officially released today. It´s been more than three years since I started working on the album.
I meet my publisher in her office. The record has arrived. We thought it would take the factory at least another four weeks. What a fantastic surprise. Gatefold, white vinyl, great artwork by Ivana Rubelj, who I´ve worked with for over a year now on all things design. I stash a couple of records in my backpack and off we go, exchanging news on the way to the subway. Hugs. Bye.
Earl is in Russia with Tindersticks today. I am talking to my plants and try to wind down.
10:00 – Have a meeting at Michelberger Hotel about our Cacao Ceremony collaboration, which happens for the first time on March 8th. Michelberger put on the incredible PEOPLE festival last year and they always host super well-curated events with the most creative artists and musicians. I am over the moon to be collaborating with them.
19:00 – Cacao Ceremony with my women tribe. We share stories, we connect, I sing. It´s always so deep and meaningful. Cutting through the bullshit and empowering each other is simply glorious.
03:30 – Still awake. Writing a text. Reading. Beaming.
04:00 – Great dreams.
06:00 – Photo shoot with my best friend, magical goddess and long time collaborator, Antje Taiga Jandrig. We quickly build a set for the shoot in the beautiful recording studio of the late and wonderful Jóhan Jóhannson, it´s a creative hub with many fantastic artists and composers who also have their studios here. Antje Taiga is a badass photographer and pure delight to work and be with. The Icelandic artist Johanna Rakel (Cyber, Daughters of Reykjavik) joins us, brushes my deranged wig and we goof around for a few hours.
22:30 – 661 photos, five different costumes and lots of matcha later: High five!
09:00 – Meeting the editor for the second video. We go through the material and I am excited to see the first draft next week.
13:00 – Fine art screen print studio. I am creating a new hand-printed special edition of Radical Amazement posters which will be sold exclusively at the release show. The huge workspace is located in an old children’s hospital called Bethanien in Kreuzberg, Berlin. An inspiring place filled with arts and artists. I love to be here.
15:00 – I fuck up two screens because I am unfocused. Noooo! Hours of work gone. I call a friend and eat two bananas. One for each screen. Feeling better.
17:00 – Edit #1: fucked up another screen. Today is not my day. But I am not gonna give in.
20:00 – Edit #2: Yes! Everything came out great in the end. First two layers of 40 posters done.
09:00 – Screen print studio. Ahh, this routine is so soothing. I think about colour a lot and work with it constantly. I am a colour enthusiast. Today I experiment with glossy, transparent, neon and copper. Should be good.
Edit #1: transparent didn´t work, neon: not sure for these posters.
Edit #2: copper and gold came out fantastico!
20:00 – My friend Eva Meyer-Keller premiers her performance Living Matters in a place called Sophiensäle. I wrote the music for one of her earlier pieces. Her work combines science, dance, video and theatre and I admire her unique mind and vision. This piece explores the workings of our cells and she visualizes the processes in our bodies in very unexpected ways. They get crazy applause. So deserved. I speak with lots of interesting, bubbly people afterwards.
23:00 – Walking home, brimming with ideas, feeling amazed and grateful to be alive. A great week.