Kabeaushé’s music begins and ends with softness, but always makes space for what’s rough around the edges. Born and raised in Nairobi, music found itself into every facet of their life, in its most primal and unusual forms. With a knack for character creation and taking each release in a new direction, Kabeaushé as an artist represents energy and invigoration in their purest forms.
With one album already released this year, Kabeaushé has proved themselves to be a multifaceted artist, with a constantly evolving sound and notably striking selection of music videos to accompany their music. Hold On to Deer Life There’s a Blcak Boy Behind You signals a new chapter in the artist’s progression: one that is bold, aggressive, and frankly, beautiful. It’s filled with wonky melodies and catchy hooks and phrases - none of which Kabeaushé wants people to take at face value.
As a believer in not making comparisons, Kabeaushé urges us to listen to HOLDTABBY as a standalone album, to take it as it is and for what it makes us feel. With the album to be released on prominent label Monkeytown Records, Kabeaushé marks an important musical turn in their career, with their sights set on bringing their theatricality to the mainstage.
Firstly, I’d love to understand your background a little more. You were raised in Nairobi and are currently based in Berlin. Where did music begin for you?
I don’t fully live in Berlin, it is my base when I’m in Europe, but music begun from a young age everything I used to listen to either passively or actively. I  grew up in a Christian family, so there was lot of gospel music that was played at the house, lots of hymns sung in church on Sundays. My dad enjoyed listening to a lot of sundowner music, 70s, 80s soul music and country as well, couple that with all the radio hits from early 2000s because that’s when I started slowly understanding and forming my own taste.
Describe your sound in three words.
That is hard! (laughs).
How was Kabeaushé born from your previous name, Kabochi?
Oh! He got executed - Kabochi was trying to save the world by curating the softest tissue ever that would save humanity from all its madness and he didn’t know that there was someone that was out for him, and so he got executed, and Kabeaushé is who is sat in the chair now.
I want to understand your personality and personas in your music. In your song Had Lini from your first album Coming of Gaze, you mention that you are “such an introvert.” Do you feel that your inner self and Kabeaushé the artist are different?
No, it’s the same thing, – the character was created to enhance the performance, there’s limitless possibilities with it to expand. Like a good character from a comic book, that you can grow with and you never know where they might end up, which is the best part, is that you can mould them into whatever.
Moving onto your newest release, Hold On to Deer Life There’s a Blcak Boy Behind You! is to be released this November. Whilst listening, I felt an intensity throughout that differed to your first release, Coming of Gaze, though they both spoke a similar language. How do you feel the two compare musically?
Well, Coming of Gaze is material that’s 4 or 5 years old, I made a lot of that music in 2018 and 2019, and was still growing like I still am, I had never played a show outside Nairobi, the limit of my musical knowledge was as far as that – and it’s different now because my musical taste and palate is wider than it was, I have travelled a bit, my experiences are changing, I’m starting to understand the dynamics of how different kinds of music translates on different stages, being in a foreign country as well, I made the entire album (HODLTABBBY) while in Berlin in the summer, that’s why it feels very colourful, and bright but also aggressive and or in your face.
What I loved about Hold On to Deer Life There’s a Blcak Boy Behind You! were these new and harsher musical elements that made your sound feel even more textured, and in many ways, more electronic. Tell me a little about what inspired this punchier, glitchier energy in your newest album.
I was mimicking my environment, I would read all these stories of musicians I look up to going to different countries to record their albums, and it did something to the music, and I couldn’t comprehend, but it does do something,  also I was making the music while we were on a summer tour, playing some of the bigger stages, like Roskilde, and Kappa Futur – and yeah the response was nice, but my goal is to become a main stage act, because that’s where I feel like we belong, and the music had to grow and that’s what you’re feeling.
I read that as an artist you have always been drawn to softness, something I especially felt in your first album, through pared back, guitar-laden instrumentals and a groovy sound. Thinking about Hold On to Deer Life There’s a Blcak Boy Behind You!, do you think this same softness can be found even amongst the feverish energy of the album?
Yeah, the softness is still there, Go with Gut is one of my favourite ones – and of course it’s not Potassium or Lift your Spirit, but there is a lot of these sweet moments, High Spede is another one too – just bigger drums and bit more urgency and intention.
One of my favourite songs from the release, These Dishes Ain’t Gonna Do Themselves, is accompanied by a music video which, to me, really depicted the contrast between the softer and harsher elements of your sound in this album. What is the story behind the video?
I wanted to be as least distracting/invasive as possible, and capture the energy of the song, without beating about the bush – like “here it is” and the response has been very validating.
Looking forward, what can we expect to see from Kabeaushé in the future?
More, more having fun with the music, more having fun with the videos, more having fun at the shows - just more.