Interview: Kae Sun | Exiled Poets Society 0002 – Solitude & Stupidity

Kae Sun is a Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist, who is part of the Moonshine collective. He displays a pretty impressive track record, having worked with Ariane Moffatt and Pierre Kwenders and he has caught the media’s attention from all around the world. A few weeks ago, he released the video for his single “Treehouse” on OkayAfrica. Since then, the video has had more than 92K views on YouTube, and got mentions from Red Bull Music, Pan African Music and Ix Daily. We recently had the chance to ask him a few questions about his art.

 


Photo credits: Emeka Alams​

 

INSPIRATION

You sing, you rap, you’re a musician. You’re basically a multidisciplinary artist, just like most artists involved in Montreal collective Moonshine. In what ways does the dynamic and energy of the collective influence your art?

There’s something to be said about working as an artist in proximity to other artists. A sense of community is very important to my work even though I don’t work in a very communal way. I like the thought of being a part of a larger conversation or having a context that suits my approach to life. The thing with Moonshine is that it’s a very unforced sort of energy. There’s a lot of room and lots of support between our various endeavors so that’s really conducive to creativity.

You just came back from Namibia, where you’ve exposed and performed at  Future Africa Vision in time, curated by The Goethe-Institute. What did you learn from that experience?

It’s hard to say exactly what shifted in my spirit but I had the same feeling going back to Accra years ago. It’s the way the ground feels underneath your feet, how it feels to be in a Black majority country after growing up in and leaving one. There’s a whole lot to be said about that feeling. On the creative side of things, it’s all about the artists, curators and incredible individuals I met there and hearing how they do life, so to speak. So many approaches and ideas and theories. I walked away really affirmed about just how to approach the next few creative adventures I embark on.

In what ways has Ghana, your country, contributed in forging the artist and the man that you are today? How does it manifest in your music?

I‘ve had some pretty formative experiences in Ghana. I grew up there so it’s nearly impossible for me to pick out the ways in which my environment shaped me. That being said I know it’s really intricate and intimate and I have the ability to both romanticize and also totally hate the place and I think that’s a very real feeling. I discovered my passion for music in Ghana so a lot of my earliest musical influences are Ghanaian.

 

EXILED POETS SOCIETY 0002

 

In your mixtape, Exiled Poets Society, poetry and spoken word play a big part, mostly performed by feminine voices, which brings it a  captivating, soft and sultry vibe. Can you tell us a little more about that particular project?

Exiled Poets started out as the name of my Tumblr blog back in the day and then I discovered the Smithsonian Folkways archive with a shit ton of interesting field recordings and folk stories. I started sampling them and making mixes out of them, then I began digging up audio clips and ripping them to include in the mix. I wanted to do something that skews the boundaries between an audio essay and a mixtape – I call them moodtapes. As far as the voices I’m usually choosing and making sound bytes from artists who articulate things way deeper than I could ever feel or articulate them. So far most of them come from feminine voices.

 

Photo Credits: Emeka Alams

CREATION

There seems to have a story behind each of your videos. What stimulates your creativity in terms of visual arts and other mediums?

I love creating music but it’s not always the best platform for some of my sharpest ideas so I use videos as a close second. It’s also usually a more collaborative process with whichever director is at the helm too. I guess I see the process of making videos as an opportunity to express some of those ideas and also to work collaboratively.

What about your creative process? Do you tend to isolate yourself to create or do you prefer being surrounded by other creatives minds.

I enjoy working alone. I actually feel it’s best to be in a different physical environment altogether. Like just removing myself from an overly familiar location, that helps my process a lot. But of course, it’s not always practical. I have a few trusted collaborators but I really don’t like changing the recipe, because I get too easily impacted by people’s energy and it has to be a good match. There are a lot of artists and friends that inspire me though but when it’s work time I gotta remove myself a bit.

 

WHOEVER COMES KNOCKING

What can people expect from your new album, Whoever Comes Knocking ?

It’s probably best they have no expectations or that they don’t judge the work based on genre or be too superficial or too deep about any of it.

What’s ahead for you in the next few months?

I’m playing shows again.  I have another single and video on the way as well.

What are you grateful for so far this year?

Grateful to be alive and creating in these mad times.  It’s a blessing I can’t take for granted.

 

Photo Credits: Emeka Alams

 


 

See more of Kae Sun’s work: 

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