We rendezvoused with Kiran Leonard at the Empire Exchange memorabilia emporium on Newton Street to film this face-tingling version of ‘After The Rain Came In’ among the dusty collectables.
Kiran Leonard was born on 1 September 1995, which makes him 16 days younger than Chief Keef. He is currently writing his own biography because he is scared of another person doing it. Kiran Leonard is also uncomfortable writing in the third person. He had a head teacher who used to do it, who played Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst in assemblies as an understated form of cultural enrichment. Kiran Leonard does not like Elgar very much, but he likes that Mothers of Invention track where they play a motif from The Planets Suite.
Now, the words are flying out of Kiran’s oversized and gross fingers like loose dentures. He stretched them by spending nearly two years playing piano for his new record, BOWLER HAT SOUP. Kiran plays 22 other instruments on the record, including a radiator and his voice (which has occasionally been described as ‘crooning’ and ‘too high’). BOWLER HAT SOUP also features guest musicians performing bowed strings and horns (because Kiran can’t play those).
If you like, you can describe his record, BOWLER HAT SOUP, as a hexadecagonal pseudo-fortress of occasionally caustic and semi-illiterate pop nonsense. Kiran Leonard suspects the whole thing is a little schizophrenic and relentless, but he would like to think it is unique in one respect or another. He took his inspiration from artists such as Mothers of Invention, Sufjan Stevens, Deerhoof, Albert Ayler, the Residents, Krzysztof Penderecki, the Beach Boys, Don Caballero, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Adrian Belew, but would ask you kindly not to make him pick a favourite.
Kiran Leonard is now rubbing his temple as if he were attempting to summon a convenient genie out of one of his nostrils. He is struggling with the behemoth of having to write about himself for people he does not know. But he will tell you, that when he is permitted to do so – and with the support and man-hours of three friends and his brother – he performs live in and around Manchester, his home city. A firm believer in the exponential curve that connects the power and excellence of a show with its number of drummers (currently he has two); he has a fierce, unassailable hatred of bands who make next to no effort in providing an engaging show for their audience. This is why his live performances are often percussive – translating the complexities of BOWLER HAT SOUP into a more minimalist, loud and free alternative form.
Kiran Leonard claims his music is capable of causing uncontrollable bouts of hysteria, if only within the bodies of those performing it when tempos have reached cataclysmic levels, and their digits have started to drop off.
He would like to go now.