His friends have always been a stable source of support for the development of his music career, and now Kottrel has added the finishing touches to his first official album Raw, and is currently in Melbourne to create the film clip for one of the songs he’s selected from it.

Raw was inspired by Kottrel’s burning desire to create something unique within the music world, deciding to focus on the dark jazz genre.

“I wanted to do something for art’s sake,” Kottrel says. “You’re supposed to hate it as much as you like it.

“The important thing is that I wrote every song on Raw in one evening; every song came to me in one session on my woodskin drum and guitar. I got this awesome little woodskin; it’s a customised cajon and these are the first songs that came from getting myself to the next level.”

Kottrel worked with music producer Simon Moro at Eaton Studios in St Kilda, aiming to preserve the authenticity of the music.

“I told Simon ‘I wrote all these songs in one evening, these are how they came out,’ ” Kottrel says. “He was like ‘You know what? Let’s just keep it as raw as possible.’

“Some songs go for eight minutes, they’re exactly how they came out and we didn’t want to shorten them and make them more commercial and appealing, so we thought we’d just keep them exactly as they were.”

Kottrel aspires to fill the gap in the music industry, which he thinks has been caused by the fact that commercial music all tends to sound similar.

“It’s not about making money and I don’t believe this album will ever make money,” Kottrel says. “Back in the day, people were making new genres, new sounds and new things. It’s about saying ‘Hey, stuff you music world, I’m going to make something just for the sake of art.’

“All these artists these days are so confident with themselves, like they were designed to be there. I think there’s so much underground music where people aren’t confident enough to play it to a million people, and that’s when you get that passion and fear. That’s exactly what I have.

“This album’s an absolute cut-out of my soul. You can hear the words and where it’s going. There are some words I would’ve liked to have taken out for the sake of other people, but in the end I didn’t want to do that because I wanted to keep it as raw as possible.”

Kottrel is creating the film clip to the fourth song on Raw, Where Connection Bonds, since he connects to that one the most.  

“I’m always doubting myself, but I try to better myself all the time. I’m never going to reach a point where I’m satisfied with anything in my life. This always makes me strive for something,” he says.

Kottrel has been making music for a long time, but he’s only releasing it all now. He wanted to live life to the fullest when he was younger.

“I used to go out and dance and just let go,” he says. “There’s the whole idea of 17 being the most popular age and ‘What if you don’t make it when you’re 17.’ But I’m 36 and I feel like doing it now.”

Kottrel’s plan is to create an album every year, and he’s already planned out his next one.

“It’s going to be a very different album, it’ll be a series of songs I’ve collected making music over the last two years,” he says. “It’s not going to be a one evening thing; it’s going to be a very refined selection.

“The album is also going to have more of an island, ukulele, guitar, flute, bonzo sort of feel, rather than a dark jazz, trumpet, saxophone feel. I’ve also just landed a rock band up north and I’m really keen on getting a rock album out as well. There’s a lot of stuff happening.”

By Christine Tsimbis