When we think of cinematic music we recall Philip Glass, or even the operatic film scores like in Marvel movies. What we don’t think of is music whose artistry is informed by cinema. For LA based musician, Kemme, sound and film are in a monogamous relationship.
Where is your favorite space to create?
I come up with a lot of my lyrics and melodies driving at night. There’s a lot of room to create when you’re alone in the dark, moving through space while going through the mindless motions of driving. Like, you don’t really have a choice but to go inward. I also have some really tender memories of working on my upcoming EP, “My First Great Movie,” in my parents’ guesthouse with my dog. In a lot of the background of the stems of these tracks, you can hear her collar rattle or her stretching her nails out on the carpet.
How did you get to sound within film?
My major was actually Music in Film with a concentration in Postmodernism. I was interested in these two totally separate realms: the art of expression of emotion and personal experience and a theory stating that any means of representation occurred at the loss of truth. I studied film as this weird false world that somehow evokes a personal emotional response – tears, laughter, whatever. So to me, the element that made film personal and honest was its music. Obviously, there’s a lot I want to explore here, but for this EP, it was really about translating an experience and story you may see in a film, along with all the emotional and tonal implications it would have, and compressing that into a musical narrative.
Where do you feel that film relates to music? What can images lend your work that cannot be achieved without visuality?
I think film brings a sense of objectivity to music. Granted, there’s a lot of music that’s being created that isn’t necessarily meant to be personal, and I totally fuck with that. BUT, I think at the heart of music is an expression of a subjective experience or mindset, something that we have a hard time expressing just through words or images, and thus need a tone or melody to create a sense of emotion or tension. But what film does, better than any medium I believe, is create a digestible narrative. There is no better way to express cause and effect. So when paired with music, any point in any plot becomes personal and emotional to any viewer or listener. To me, film is the foundation of understanding and music is the foundation of feeling, and when the two combine, you can translate the subjective.
Billboard introduced your artistic debut as Tom Petty’s niece. Do you feel inartistically connected to Tom as an artist or, rather, that you simply got to music on your own? Do you think people get excited it’s a generational thing?
My involvement with music has as much to do with Tom as it does to any other great artist I admire; it’s really about setting the bar higher. I think people are currently really turned on by nepotism. But the truth is, I did and do truly admire Tom and his work, but I feel inspired by a lot of people who are close to me, not just the ones who are famous.
What is “overrated” about LA? Underrated?
The glory of LA is overrated. People take photos in front of walls all day and get dressed up to get coffee, it’s stupid. Something that’s underrated is the wildlife. I saw an owl the other day.
Images/music courtesy of KEMME
interview ALEX ASSIL
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