February/March 2015

by Darryl Kirk

Fresh Talent: This Pale Fire

by Darryl Kirk

Fresh Talent: This Pale Fire

This Pale Fire is a vehicle for the songs of 24-year old Aucklander Corban Koschak.  

“Music has always been around in my life from a young age but I never really studied it. It was about 10 years ago when I got an acoustic guitar, I started jamming and learning tabs and those kind of things.”

Writing by himself, exploring the folk idiom and dabbling in other genres, he had become used to working in isolation.

“My friend Karl heard my songs and encouraged me to take them into the studio.”

Recording took place at the since-closed Studio 203 with Nikhil Mokkapati at the production helm. The result is This Pale Fire’s seven-track debut ‘Dusk’. As Koschak explains, the original thinking was that it would be a solo acoustic record, those plans were changed with the introduction of Nick Douch (of Ekko Park) on drums and Kyle Wetton on bass and electric guitar.

If you were to scattergun their sound you might say folk-through-indie pop, with some rock shapes touching the heavier moments. Koschak’s voice is much harder to pin down, closest maybe to Dan Smith with some of Thom York’s falsetto brilliance brushed on. This gets you into the neighbourhood rather than an exact address, Corban’s sound is all his own.

“I’ve never had any vocal training, I just sang all the time as a kid and it seemed to pay off. I usually try to come up with a vocal melody over guitar chords, something that sounds nice and catchy, and then write lyrics around that rhythm and mood. Bands like Death Cab For Cutie, Coldplay and Bon Iver have inspired me both lyrically and vocally.”

The record was cut in two major sessions.

“We began the initial conversation, I think, around November 2013. It was in February when we got most of the backing tracks done. Then we sat on it and digested it a bit. We changed some things, having time to reflect, and it is better for those changes. We went through a lot of electric and acoustic guitars for each of the songs so they sounded different. I can remember a Telecaster being used at one point and we had three acoustics. Mine is a Martin and we had a Guild also.”

His inspiration perhaps gives some indication of why the band is called This Pale Fire.

“The song arch is a reflection of my own experiences, and things like Norse mythology which I’m into.”

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