Kikuyu
Gig Seeker Pro

Kikuyu

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | INDIE

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
04
Kikuyu @ XP

Beijing, None, China

Beijing, None, China

Nov
03
Kikuyu @ LUNE

Shanghai, None, China

Shanghai, None, China

Nov
03
Kikuyu @ Studio Timeless

Shanghai, None, China

Shanghai, None, China

Music

Press


Lo-fi cool. Music by and concerning found objects. An excitement analogous to a life-changing hard rubbish score. A girl and an organ, little more, both retro chic. This is local, micro-pop high priestess Sez Wilks, aka Kikuyu, opening proceedings here tonight at the 'Ev'. But these elements, innovative and sustainable and interesting as they may be, do more than simply define the music -- they actually manage to accentuate it. This is pure, priceless pop. Wilks has a voice to absolutely die for: brassy, breathy and with a small 'o' oomph that leaves us wondering what incredible things lie ahead in this girl's future... - Inpress magazine, 11 January 2012


It was clearly a night for loop pedals...
In support of Oliver Tank on his first date of his Dreams EP launch tour were local Melbourne artists Kikuyu and Wintercoats, both artists who relied on the distinctive piece of tech to bring their textured solo projects to life on stage.

Upon arriving at The Workers Club and its distinctive wood-panelled (and patterned) bandroom, Kikuyu - or Sez Wilks to her mum - was already laying down a rhythmic pattern with some "cha-cha-cha"-ing , then coating it with her quaint keyed lines and vocal harmonies. Her approach to the loop pedal is more subtle than most. Before you know it - on the likes of Summer Helicopter and Swimming Blue - she's constructed a cyclic refrain of voices and pretty micropop. Her set-up is equally modest, an old Italian combo organ held together by blue gaffer tape ("it matches my outfit!", she exclaims), complemented by the tinny beats of a dinky toy Casio and, of course, her own vocals. Homespun is the vibe, even dressed like a retro-chic version of a fifties housewife, and she's confident and likeable. - Al's Music Rant (blog), 20 January 2012


Greg Walker hits the auto-rhythm button and finds himself strangely moved.

Minimal arrangements and an instrumental palette consisting mainly of one cheap and cheery Italian electric organ, column heater percussion and vocals: potentially a very tough production gig. But producer Joe Hammond and artist Kikuyu (aka Sez Wilks) have turned less into much, much more. Kikuyu's album Hunter Gathered is a great listen and the organ gives excellent support to Wilks' fine voice and lyrics without ever feeling too narrow or relentless. While the production is restrained, sonically things keep moving in a satisfying way and there are always enough twists and turns to hook the listener... - Audio Technology Magazine, Issue 83, 19 August 2011


ikuyu is the moniker of Melbourne gal Sez Wilks. Infodome can be found on her debut album Hunter Gathered, which was released late last year. Kikuyu’s sound blends a vintage organ, electronic drum beats and sweetly looped vocals.

The song opens with a jittery organ, which could easily be the soundtrack to a Super Mario game rattling from your classic grey Gameboy. Wilks’ vocals are both warm and cool at the same time and have a little Australian twang. She then loops and harmonizes them to create a fuller sound. Percussion instruments are scraped and hit, while hands clap faintly in the background in between verses. It has a clear pattern repeating verse/chorus/bridge, making it simple and predictable.

Overall it’s a cheery and cute track on an equally cute album. You can hear her on Triple J Unearthed/Radio. - The Ripe, 8 March 2012


Grand Salvo and Kikuyu are methodically selected supports for the launch of Single Twin's engrossing GarageBand-recorded debut album, Marcus Teague. While both players work over a disparate thread to one another, together they each retain elements of what it is that makes Single Twin tick. Kikuyu's Sez Wilks' Italian combo organ loops illusionary through an imagined Coney Island wasteland, calypso kaleidescope, Donkey Kond and Peter Allen... - Inpress magazine, 20 July 2011


KIKUYU
Hunter Gathered
Independent
4/5

This is an album for crafty, cupcake baking, Frankie magazine readers. Kikuyu is a pop music project for Melbourne artist Sez Wilks, who embodies the Frankie lifestyle with her penchant for all things kitsch and cute e.g. she names her instruments, like Henry the double bass!

Wilks rescued an old organ (as yet unnamed) from a second hand shop, breathed new life into it and let it breathe life into her debut LP. Embracing the quirk at her fingertips, you may recognise ‘bossa nova 5’ and other inbuilt organ rhythms that pepper the album, on tracks like Summer Helicopter and Infodome. But rather than recall images of gran’s blue rinse bobbing up and down on the piano stool, Wilks has created something a little bit cool from something a little bit daggy. Though, isn’t that a Frankie readers gift? Add her syrupy, dare I say Sarah Blasko-esque vocals, and this album is a winner. - 'The Wire Magazine' The West Australian, 1 December 2011


I don't know much about the organ which Ms Sez Wilks -- known as Kikuyu -- rescued from certain obscurity and neglect when she plucked it from a dowdy op-shop. I do know it is Italian, actually it's called a Baleani audiosonic and that with it she can pull of feats, impressive feats. If you listen to that single of hers, Infodome, she makes it do a very fine impression of 8-bit chiptune, while on the silly Latin of Summer Helicopter she has it go all cutely Casio, with its cheesy built-in beats: as fine a bit of twee-sploitation as I've heard. Her voice proves to be a very effective counter-weight to all the synth sweetness. Wilks ahs the same broad Aussie dipthongs as Holly Throsby and some of that same quality of the world-weary songstress, too. As you get to the further end of the album she even explores some territory which proves to be quite tense and complicated -- check out tracks like If I stretch and especially Gumtree, which after five minutes of uncertainty resolves into the rather lovely Swimming Blue, the album's final track, featuring the addition of a warm guitar and some of those vocal harmonies that Kikuyu is so good at. For the most part Hunter Gathered's gently-paced music strikes a pleasing balance between the sweet and sour, the happy and the sad, and as you get to the end you feel you've been privy to something much deeper than you'd expect from your standard synth-pop record. It's probably not synth-pop at all -- more like a kind of synth-folk. In an intriguing and rather unexpected way I don't think there's much else out there quite like Kikuyu and I'm really rather glad to have heard it. - 4ZZZ FM, Brisbane, 10 November 2011


Of all the lines a female artist can spend her life crossing, the one between “cute” and “cutesy” is one of the riskiest. While a certain amount of seriousness attaches itself to explicit sexuality, going deep into the realm of whimsicality and childlike wonder has the opposite effect. People smile at art rendered in bright colors and a sunny voice, but they often don’t think too hard about it.
A more daring artist than her quirky surfaces indicate, Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Sez Wilks traffics in cuteness as a form of alienation, a way of distinguishing her perceptions from the “normal” way of viewing things. Her approach seems guileless and folk-artsy at first, but behind her odd vocal effects is the desire to break through the bonds of any one language, as her realist lyrics seek to comprehend the human condition. Having cut her teeth as the former vocalist and synth player for electro-pop ensemble The Surly Mermaids (she’s now a member of Aleks & The Ramps), Wilks is again ready to show the world how individual she is with her self-described “micropop project” under the Kikuyu moniker.
However, she can sometimes get a bit obvious. When she’s too straightforward, Wilks’ writing can be a touch smug, as on the calypso ‘Infodome’, which features glib commentary about the way technology influences human interaction: “All the worlds on here/All the world is close and snug and near/With the door closed nothing comes between the message and the screen.” Likewise, a couple of tracks – ‘Kikuyu (The Grass Thief)’ and ‘Two Appointments’ – never quite crawl out of the shadow of their high concepts, but Hunter Gathered otherwise cements Wilks as an artist comfortable with her own eccentricities and beguiling in her ability to bring listeners into her strange, tempestuous, and often beautiful world.
Summer Helicopter by kikuyu
Listening to the album, it becomes strikingly clear that Wilks is more on target when she’s more ambiguous – intertwining an ascendant vocal line with organ arpeggios on the slowly building spook-pop tune ‘Hobya’, or pairing a heavy theme of depression with the rattle and moan of a broken electric guitar on ‘Gumtree’.
Best of all is ‘Swimming Blue,’ an adventurous, joyful tune which perfectly illustrates her evolution as an artist. Somebody’s going to use this song in a commercial soon, playing it behind a time-lapse of flowers opening up or a group of 20-somethings lounging on a rooftop bathed in golden afternoon sun. But it deserves better. It’s not just cute. - Mess and Noise, 12 December 2011


Kikuyu is Melbourne artist Sez Wilks’ self described ‘micropop project’. Combining the minimal instrumentation of vocals and various lo-fi organ and percussion and guitar sounds, Kikuyu fashions an enchanting collection of tracks that will have you running back to your old casio keyboard to see if you can replicate them. However, this music is much more intricate and the beats usually more complex and varied than any cheap organ preset. Strong vocal hooks and well-constructed melodies are at the heart of these tracks while the niche sound world presents them with the allure of a playful kitten. At 32 minutes the album is certainly on the short side, perhaps an acknowledgement of the limits of the approach. However there is plenty of depth and variety, from the lighter vigorous pop of Infodome, to the twee swing of The Rescuing or the dense and darker mood of Gumtree. The lyrics don’t always follow regular verse/chorus forms with some captivating repetition of lines in tracks like Two Appointments (“Are you a morning-morning person?/I struggle to think that far ahead”) and Swimming Blue (“I can’t tell where the sea ends and the sky ends it’s swimming blue”). Kikuyu is touring to support the album release and will appear with an old Italian organ and a loop pedal at the Rails in Byron on Tuesday 1 November.

Available for download at www.kikuyu.bandcamp.com - by Matt Hill for the Northern Rivers Echo, 20 October 2011


Remember jumping over cartoon ghosts in Super Mario Bros? The ghoulish drone of an organ making every leap feel like a life or death decision. No? Well I know you’re lying because everyone remembers that. It’s cool to be a geek now, relax.

Kikuyu, a Melbourne lass with pixie vocals and a penchant for old school organs captures the nostalgia of old school arcade games and whimsical lyrics in her debut LP Hunter Gathered. ‘Hobyah’, the album’s opener, encapsulates this vibe with creepy ghost house keys and 8-Bit snares.

A refreshing pop gem amidst an onslaught of garage rock ‘Hobyah‘ will make you want to simultaneously sway and jive, and check your closet for monsters.

You can listen to ‘Hobyah‘ here http://kikuyu.bandcamp.com

What’s more see Kikuyu perform this Fri 21 Oct at The Grace Darling, 114 Smith St Collingwood.
Doors open 9pm, $10 entry. - The Milk Bar Mag, 21 October 2011


Discography

ALBUMS:
Hunter Gathered (October 2011)

SINGLES:
Infodome (May 2011)
The Rescuing (August 2011)
Summer Helicopter (August 2012)

All album tracks can be streamed at:
www.kikuyu.bandcamp.com

ABOUT KIKUYU'S FORTHCOMING SINGLE:
Kikuyu's current single, Summer Helicopter, was written after midnight, with Wilks whispering into a mic so she didn't wake her housemates. The mood has been captured by producer Joe Hammond's (www.potsandpans.net.au) recording, which features Wilks' hushed vocals, discordant organ and delicate 8-bit bleeps.

You can check out the video for Summer Helicopter here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUgltaURha4

Set against peacock-patterned wallpaper and vintage fabrics, the video watches from bird's eye view as Kikuyu splurts food colouring, flumps flour and scatters sugar in a domestic dream world. The vintage-vibed video was shot on 16mm film over one day at Melbourne's Bouverie Studio and was Directed by Ryan Alexander Lloyd (www.brothersyoungpictures.com).

Photos

Bio

Kikuyu is a solo pop project by Melbourne artist Sez Wilks. Building on five years as a vocalist and synth player for The Surly Mermaids, Kikuyu sees Wilks establish her own small-scale, lo-fi style, looping warm vocals and wartime diva harmonies with the fuzzy built-in beats and bright tones of vintage organs.

Kikuyu’s debut album, Hunter Gathered, came about after Wilks rescued a Baleani audiosonic organ from a secondhand shop and decided to make it the focus of a set’s worth of songs. 'I found it in the corner all clunky and unloved,' Wilks explains. 'I felt sorry for it. It reminded me of a dog we had when I was little, last in the litter with its front feet pointing in. Later someone taught it to shake hands. Hopefully I’ve helped this old organ do a similar thing, musically!'

Hunter Gathered takes listeners on a pleasantly beguiling journey where minimal arrangements embrace heartfelt harmonies and combo organ kitsch.

The album’s first singles, Infodome and The Rescuing, were released in late 2011, both receiving deserved attention online and on national and community radio. The third and final single, Summer Helicopter, was released in August 2012 as a double A side with a remix by Magic Silver White. All tracks are available across iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more by Gaga Digi (www.gaga.com.au).

Since releasing her debut album, Hunter Gathered, in October 2011, Kikuyu has carried her electronic organ across Australia on a 12-date national tour, as well as performing at this year's Camp A Low Hum music festival in New Zealand. In October 2012 Kikuyu will tour China. When not performing as Kikuyu, Wilks moonlights as a keyboardist for experimental pop group Aleks and the Ramps.

Kikuyu is influenced by: Vintage organs. Found furniture. Coco Rosie. Twin Sister. Little Dragon. Dick Bruna. Shouting into a piano with the sustain pedal down. Barefoot sprinting. Parlour games. Today.