From the moment we’ve heard KerenDun’s music I knew that I’m onto something special. Last month she released 2 singles and straight away we were curious to hear about her story. She is a member of several project and her solo music, hailing from Tel Aviv and bringing a modern twist to the Jazz we are extremely thrilled to be introducing you to one and only KerenDun.
Congratulations on your latest release ‘Afternoon’ and ‘Kitchen Table’. Can you tell us about your journey up until the release of your first solo single in 5 years ‘Caterpillar Style’?
Thank you! Yes, I’ve been mostly releasing music with my main project Buttering Trio, as well as with L.B.T (Live Beat Tapes). Other than these two, in the last few years, I’ve mostly featured on friends’ albums such as Rejoicer, Sol Monk, DJ Mesh, CohenBeats. I felt that cooperating with musicians and producers freed me up from the promotion side 🙂 Which was perhaps not a very smart career move but artistically totally fulfilled me. When cooperating with a friend on a tune, I have complete freedom with melody and lyrics; which is the only thing I was interested in.
You are not only a solo artist but also one-third of Buttering Trio. How do you manage multiple projects?
I love working on a few projects simultaneously. Each project lifts my general creative energy and the other projects benefit from it. When I’m only doing one thing, it can get harder to reach that flow and level of creativity.
The more music that flows through me, the merrier.KERENDUN
Let’s reflect on the latest singles you’ve released. Tell us more about each of them. What was the inspiration and story behind it? Do you remember the moment the idea was born?
My good friend, incredible drummer, and dope producer Yuval Garin sent me a few tunes that he was working on and asked if I’d like to participate. I came over to his house/studio and wrote the lyrics right there, inspired by sitting with him. I love writing lyrics in the spur of the moment, inspired by what’s going on right there. Thoughts that I’ve been formulating over time can and often do take part, but the feel would be very much inspired by the moment of writing. So if I’m sitting with my good friend Yuval, my feelings for him would totally color the song. This song is a straightforward and simple one, just describing this moment of hanging out, capturing the nature of our friendship; him trying to show me youtube videos or play video games, and me trying to make him sit and relax.
This tune wrote itself. Most of the music was already there before the vocals. The rhythm of the chorus was in there, hiding in the drums. I just added some lyrics. Originally, it was recorded “F*** me on the kitchen table” but Yuval, being the more gentleman between us, was embarrassed and asked to change it. We agreed on “Love me on the kitchen table” and the song became a romantic love song. The verses followed pretty smoothly once the character of the chorus was set.
‘Kitchen Table’ is a very honest and sexual song. Is there any topic you’d consider a taboo?
Any topic that I feel is close to my heart would be great to sing about. If it’s something I genuinely feel strongly about, I would happily write and sing it. I realized that if I’m trying to write about a subject I’m not feeling intimate and familiar with, I have a very hard time. For example, if I’m trying to write a political song, I get tangled up.
What does your creative process look like?
My comfort zone of songwriting is reacting to harmony and beat. Rarely do I write lyrics and afterward find the way to sing them. The harmony and beat trigger some emotion in me and motivate a melody. The melody has a feel to it and invites a topic. If it’s a fast, funny melody like ‘Afternoon’, the lyrics react to that. If it’s a simple sweet melody, like ‘Kitchen Table’, the lyrics react to that.
Did the lockdown have an impact on how you create music?
I’ve had much more free time to make music this year. I’ve gone back to study music which fulfills me greatly. The creative side hasn’t changed a lot since I mostly write in the studio, and studio work has been flourishing.
When it comes to creating music for your solo project and for your band, how do you separate which songs would better fit for which project? What are the dynamics in the band?
With my solo project – since I’m usually cooperating with friends, once the music is ready (whether it’s one or multiple songs) we sit and decide together on how to release it. We figure out what would be best for the music as well as for each of our individual interests.
For Buttering Trio, we prefer to write together. We are now mixing our fourth album which was all written and recorded live in a few recording sessions at Pluto Studios in Tel Aviv. So there was never a question regarding which project to release it through.
What would you like to achieve with your music?
Something beautiful to listen to that feels genuinely good.
Do you have a song that when you hear it you’d say ‘Damn I Wish I’d Written That’?
I’m a sucker for the old school romantic jazz tunes… So any one of the songs on Billie Holiday’s “Lady In Satin”.
What is one piece of advice that you will never forget?
When I was young, I used to sing in a local prog-rock band. We had small vibeful shows around the country. One time, we were sound checking at Blum Bar which was a small spot in Tel Aviv. We were finished with the soundcheck and having a beer, and the bartender most intimately and accurately came to me and told me “Don’t think of singing an accurate pitch. Just feel it and the pitch will come”. I’ve always been harsh on myself with a pitch but this advice stays with me till today.
What are your biggest musical influences?
I’m grateful for my big sister, amazing sound artist, and crazy pianist Maya for her directing me towards jazz at a very early age. I feel that listening to Sarah Vaughn and Ella and Billie at 12-14 years old gave me something to aspire to. Although I have a strong, mixed-feeling kind of relationship with the genre, it is probably the biggest inspiration.
How do you define success in the music business?
For me, if my fellow musicians are enjoying and appreciating it, I’ve done it. The people I admire most are the ones I long for confirmation from.
How would you summarize 2020?
Going inwards. Remembering again what’s important to me.
What you got planned for 2021?
I have an EP with pianist Nitai Hershkovits coming out on Raw Tapes. Also, another album in Hebrew will hopefully be ready and out, and of course the Buttering Trio 4th album which will drop a single a two.
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