‘Genre has become antiquated’: Nonna’s Kitchen announce genre-transcendent double single

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‘Genre has become antiquated’: Nonna’s Kitchen announce genre-transcendent double single

Words by Jacob McCormack

Nonna’s Kitchen are a five-piece Melbourne based band featuring musicians: Lukas Williams, Corey McManus, Sam Ferfolja, Noah Redfern and Lachlan Harris.

In preparation for a double single release, vocalist and guitarist Lukas Williams is finding nuance in the creative process of songwriting. Despite trying to write every day to maintain a songwriting practice, Williams outlines that the upcoming singles, which will feature on a six to eight-track EP released in early 2023, were written in completely different ways.

“I try to make an effort to write a song every day to exercise the writing bone,” says Williams. “However, both of these songs represent a totally different type of writing styling for me.”

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The first single, ‘What I Call Home’ opens with a folk-like chord progression and the reassuring refrain “this is what I call home” sung in a sentimental way. Understandably, the principal songwriter of Nonna’s Kitchen – Williams recognises himself as a folk songwriter before anything else.

“I see myself first and foremost as a folk music writer,” outlines Williams, “I write all my songs starting with an acoustic guitar and then I kind of build in these genres I want to explore on top of that.”

‘What I Call Home’ is no exception to this as upon the 18-second mark a driving drumbeat and guitar melody with a bluesy tone enter assertively. The song then divorces itself from what could be a ballad about finding homeliness in a dilapidated house as it builds into a bridge that showcases a guitar solo reminiscent of the prolific folk-blues music of the 1960-70s.

However, in another setting more suited to a stripped-down abbreviation of the track, the arrangement could exist as such.

“It depends on the song,” says Lukas, “I like to write all of my songs on an acoustic guitar because someone said that if your song doesn’t sound good when it’s just you and your guitar then there is something missing from it, or it needs to be a stronger song.”

The second single ‘Wasting Away’ departs further from the original acoustic recording that was the genesis of the song. In an ode to Courtney Barnett and her unique song writing style, Williams is transparent about the influence the established musician has over his process.

“I definitely have a voice memo somewhere of the original acoustic demo of it [‘Wasting Away’]. I generally kind of start to get a vibe of where a song can go when I write it. With ‘Wasting Away’ I practised it with Nonna’s, and we worked out the sound from there.”

“I was definitely feeling something that was quite grungy. As much as it would work as just that acoustic demo, I can hear it in my brain as the rock version. Especially because it was heavily influenced by ‘Elevator Operator’ by Courtney Barnett.”

Written in a discomforting and unusual way for Williams, ‘Wasting Away’ assumed form through an alternative process that further illuminates the frontman’s versatile approach to songwriting.

“With ‘Wasting Away’ I had written the progression back in 2019 and I could never find the right melody for it. One day I was at work, and I had my headphones in and I had this progression playing on a loop. Over the course of four hours, I was just trying out different melodies and lyrics until I fell into this story of being a hermit.”

“It was actually the first song I wrote where I didn’t have an instrument in my hand when the lyrics and the words came to me. Which was quite a discomforting thing, but I really pushed through it and got to a place where I was really happy with what I had written and was quite proud in the end. I feel Wasting Away has some of the best lines I’ve written.”

These two singles are just a taste of what we can expect from the upcoming EP by Nonna’s Kitchen. Although ditching any expectations and preconceived ideas about what the EP will sound like is best. Especially coming from a band for whom genre is an archaic and outdated labelling system.

“In my opinion genre is dead,” says Williams. “Genre feels like a hangover from this era where there was an establishment control of the music that was being heard and putting certain things into boxes. Once you categorise something it becomes the baseline to market to certain groups of people. I’m not really thinking about genre when I write.”

Nonna’s Kitchen are playing a launch gig at The Tote on October 7 and their new single comes out this Friday, pre-save it here! Listen to more of Nonna’s Kitchen, keep track of their latest shows and follow them on socials here.