Essentials… with Kirty
Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get through through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them.
For Toronto-based singer-songwriter Kirty, making records is the art of making time capsules of her life. She’s been at it since she was a kid, growing up on a hobby farm outside of Orillia, Ontario. A middle child in a large musical family, from a young age she was taught the country, folk, and rock ‘n roll standards, sparking in her those natural, timeless kind of songwriting instincts present in the work of the 20th century’s pop songsmiths.
After making several homemade “time capsule” albums on her own, she signed with Postwar Records in 2016 and released her first official album. Around the same time, Kirty joined acclaimed indie-rock band Fast Romantics as a singer and multi- instrumentalist, and quickly became a core member, co-writing several songs for the group and touring internationally and relentlessly in the years that followed.
All of these experiences brought her to 2019, and after a whirlwind of new musical influences reached a climax, she began working on a new solo record. Songs came fast and furious, marking in time her experiences on the road, the passing of close family members, and a growing relationship—both musical and romantic—with her Fast Romantics bandmate and songwriting partner Matthew Angus.
The pair teamed up with longtime collaborator Josh Van Tassel to round out a production team for new song ideas that mixed her newfound affection for the sounds of ‘90s garage and synth-rock with more modern dream-pop influences.
The results can be heard on Kirty’s We Are All On Fire, out Aug. 20 on Postwar, a deeply personal collection that finds her confronting and reflecting on the heaviness of impermanence and mortality, and the many faces of love. In total, We Are All On Fire is bold and deeply honest, externalizing the songwriter’s internal world.
For more information, go to kirtymusic.com.
Essential Album: Leonard Cohen, Death Of A Ladies’ Man (Columbia, 1977)
It’s hard to decide which Leonard Cohen record I would choose, and although I’m sure this record is a controversial choice, it’s one of my favourites. This is an album I could listen to at any time of day, in any mood. Leonard’s voice is gold, and I find the lush arrangements produced by Phil Spector are perfect. Memories would have to be my favourite song on the record. It’s one of those tracks I could put on repeat for a whole week.
Essential Book: Margaret Atwood, The MaddAddam Trilogy (2003-2013)
There are so many books and podcasts that I love, but my favourite has to be Margaret Atwood’s The MaddAddam Trilogy (Oryx And Crake, The Year Of The Flood, MaddAddam). Never have I been so consumed by a book—all three of the books in the trilogy, actually—and completely taken into another world. During the time I was reading the trilogy, I almost felt detached from my real life. It was actually really hard to put down the books and do real-life things that were obviously necessary.
Essential TV: Chef’s Table (Netflix)
This docu-series is definitely one of my favourite things on TV. It has beautiful classical music throughout each episode, focuses on innovative food creations, and explores different types of foods and cultures across the globe. I've watched all of the current episodes multiple times and continue to keep watching them. The way Chef’s Table is shot, and how the music is incorporated always seems to put me in a relaxed and creative mood. It somehow feels like I'm doing something really productive when I'm watching it.
Essential Movie: Jurassic Park (1993)
Choosing a favourite movie is pretty difficult, but one that I always come back to is Jurassic Park. Anything dinosaurs, aliens, or dystopian—I love. Jurassic Park is an old favourite that still holds up after all these years. It must be because of all the rain and mud in the movie, but every time it rains, I look to flip on Jurassic Park and watch it in the dark.