Kira Puru, leading lady for Newcastle four-piece band Kira Puru & the Bruise, has been likened to Etta James and Sharon Jones for her lush, soaring vocal that’s full of life, pain and strength. Kira recently won the opportunity to attend the APRA/AMCOS Song Summit songwriting workshop lead by Gotye and Magic Dirt’s Adalita. The band has been busy recording for an upcoming release and have been on the road with their self-christened ‘doom-pop’ as part of the Drunken Moon festival. Be sure not to miss them! As one music writer described them “It’s a little bit of sunshine and a whole lot of darkness.”
Kira Puru & the Bruise have been on “the longest break we’ve had since our inception almost 3 years ago” …why the long hiatus?
KP: We’ve been touring so much that we hadn’t had much time to work on new material. For the year prior to the break our drummer had been living in Melbourne, working full time and we’d only ever see him for shows. We love him dearly and both parties tried to make it work, but in the end we were working so hard that we had lost the spark. We decided to part ways with Chas which was sad for us all, but the break we took to find and school up a new drummer also allowed some much needed respite from touring and time enough to work on the new stuff.
In a recent interview you commented that “We’ve been busy making some changes to the live show and are enthusiastic about putting it out there”; what are some of these changes? You have a new drummer right?
KP: Yes, we do. He’s amazing. He is, stylistically, quite different to Chas and that in itself has had an influence on the sound. We’re writing differently and experimenting with different live instrumentation.
You guys have been working on a handful of new tracks of late that have a little more of a pop leaning and I know you’ve been a little obsessed with Lana Del Rey, what is it that you love so much about her?
KP: I guess I like her for the same reasons a lot of people dislike her. I think the unabashed, bratty thing is honest and there’s something cool about it. I’m fascinated by her nervy, unenthused stage persona and she seems rather self-aware and intelligent in interviews. Her voice is sexy, her lyrics are great, she writes fantastic, angular melodies and her phrasing is fresh. I don’t really know how she cops so much shit for her live vocal performances and no one says anything about Florence Welch. Lana Del Rey 4evs!
What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
KP: My new year’s resolution was to collaborate as much as possible this year. I’m easily intimidated and so fraught with self-doubt that I could rarely relax enough to see a collaboration through. At the moment I’m turned on by fear, throwing myself in the deep end in attempts to find new ways to create and expand my skill set.
What aspect gets you the most discouraged?
KP: It’s hard for me to show my songs to people. It’s like letting everyone read my journal. I know that sounds a little contradictory given what I just said…I guess fear is what scares me and what drives me.
What’s the last song that you wrote and what was it about?
KP: It doesn’t have a title yet. It’s about the futility of argument and how people hatin’ on me generally makes me feel motivated and ambitious.
I read that you saw Pat Pattison speak recently and he had an influence on the way you have written since then. How has the way you write changed?
KP: I generally considered writing to be an organic process that required motivation and inspiration. Pat exposes the myth of writers block as laziness and uses a mathematical approach to songwriting that’s feels really liberating. If organic songwriting was walking, Pat Pattison’s methods are parkour.
What’s the saddest song you’ve ever heard?
KP: This question kills me. Right now I’m going to say Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. Honorable mentions to ‘You Are My Sunshine’, Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’, Jeff Buckley’s ‘Forget Her’, the Ella Fitz version of ‘Solitude’, ‘Norah’s Dove’, Fionn Regan’s ‘Cowshed’, ‘I Didn’t Understand’ by Elliot Smith….well, everything by Elliott Smith, and ‘Street Boy’ by Rodriguez because it reminds me of my brother.
How did you first get into music?
KP: I don’t really know….does any musician really know the answer to this question? My mum bought me a tiny, two octave keyboard when I was a wee thing and I remember writing songs on it. I still write songs on it to this day. Perhaps it was my gateway instrument.
What feeling do you get when you sing?
KP: Without sounding like a complete hippy, music is a meditation for me. Having your instrument inside your body is a bizarre feeling, but when you open your pipes and belt something out, when you really feel it, it almost feels transcendental. Most of the time, I sing to get rid of my sads. It works.
Do you ever get nervous before you perform?
KP: Sure. Nerves are a good thing.
As a musician what has been your biggest challenge?
KP: Life as a full-time muso is pretty challenging. It’s hard trying to survive on cans of tuna and two-minute noodles. I often have fantasies of getting a job and making enough money to get my own place and buy fancy things.
What is the most trouble Kira Puru & the Bruise have ever gotten into?
KP: I don’t really know how truthfully to answer this. We’re no strangers to trouble.
So far, what’s been your favourite KP&tB achievement?
KP: I have three amazing, sexy and talented dudes willing to stand behind me while I sing and breathe life into the songs I write.
What do you enjoy doing the most when you are not performing or working on your music?
KP: Being solitary, watching bad TV, dinner parties with my amazing housemates, writing, drinking, eating cheese, playing dress ups, photoshoots, stalking hotties on facebook, shopping online….I’m very boring in my spare time. I like it that way.
A Kira Puru & the Bruise remix by a ConversationsWithBianca.com favourite:
Photo credits: 2 – by Benjamin Fraser / 3 – by Luke Kellett