Kinbrae is made up of Andy & Mike Truscott, twin brothers, based in Edinburgh and Dundee Scotland. Their ambient music is a mixture of brass, electronics and percussion. They released their debut album ‘Tidal Patterns’ in November 2016 with 1631 Recordings. In conversation with Kinbrae we talk about their musical backgrounds, inspirations, compositional process and more.
Hi Andy & Mike, we hope you’re both well. Tell us about Kinbrae, how and when did it start? And why ‘Kinbrae’?
Mike: “We started Kinbrae around 2013 having played on various other bands previously. We’d both been really into minimalist music for a while so we’re interested in writing some of this ourselves. We started by recording a rework of Nils Frahm’s song ‘You’ and then began to write our own material shortly after. Our initial aim was to write reflective music inspired by the area that we grew up in. Our grandparents lived on a street called Kinbrae Park and since we spent a lot of time there in our youth we decided to use this as the name for the project.”
What are your musical backgrounds? Have you always composed or did you grow up only performing and playing music?
Mike: “I started playing the cornet when I was 9 and spent a lot of time playing in brass bands over the next few years which has shaped the way I approach writing and layering tracks. I then picked up bass and guitar that lead to playing other instruments.”
Andy: “I started playing drums and was pretty much just interested in doing that until about 5 years ago. I was getting fed up just playing drums in bands and wanted to move away from the drumkit develop my own compositions.”
Mike: “We both studied music at college/uni so did a bit of composing on our courses as well as doing some songwriting as part of bands we were in previously. We took a more serious approach to composing once we started to work on Kinbrae stuff.”
Your album Tidal Patterns is a beautiful exploration of ambient and classical music. What is it about this album that has meaning for you both? In other words, what inspired you?
Andy: “Thank you! It’s inspired by a year I spent living on the Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland a 3/4 years ago. At the time, I had been living in Glasgow and playing in bands but wasn’t really enjoying it. I felt I didn’t really have any direction about where my creativity was going. I managed to land a graduate job helping out a charity up there and decided to leave the comfort of Glasgow and literally step into the unknown – I had no idea what to expect. It was the first time I’ve ever had a real light bulb moment – living so remotely and listening to all the wildlife and being part of the community up there really was a huge influence in composing the album. I just knew I had to write an album based on my time on the island.”
Tell us about your compositional process, do your ideas start with a feeling or a musical idea?
Mike: “Ideas usually start from one of us writing a snippet or idea that we can then expand on. So this can be a synth, piano or brass idea or on some cases we have built songs around a field recording or percussive theme. We then usually play around with structure and instrumentation to get the right feel for the track. A lot of ideas come from improvising when I’m the studio as well.”
What do you think about your process is unique to you both?
Mike: “I guess being twin brothers gives us a different dynamic to a lot of other bands and writing partnerships. A lot of people assume that we must fight a lot when composing but in reality it’s usually a pretty easy process. We tend to be on the same page most of the time which helps.”
What advice do you have for composers just starting out?
Andy: “Experiment. Collaborate. Work hard and be nice to folk.”
What is Kinbrae working on at the moment? Do we have anything to look forward to soon?
Mike: “We’ve been doing a lot of writing and recording in the last few months so are hoping to have some more music to release in the near future. We’ve largely recorded and mixed the second album and have also been working on some tracks for use in syncing. We’ll also be playing live at the Q3Ambientfest in Germany in April.”