Cam Kahin Stuns On Long-Awaited EP 'WHEN IT'S ALL OVER' [Q&A] | THE NOISE

Toronto's very own Cam Kahin has finally released his long-awaited debut EP WHEN IT'S ALL OVER and it was well worth the wait. The six-track body of work is packed with fiery indie and post-punk efforts, serving as a welcome introduction to an artist that's been picking up buzz over the past few months. 

The EP was mostly recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton with engineer/producer Will Crann. At the same time, the lead single "compass" was recorded at Dreamhouse Studios in Toronto with legendary producer Dave Schiffman (PUP, Weezer), featuring Colanthony Humphrey (The OBGMs) guesting on drums. With no deadline to hit, Kahin and Crann took their time, finding the best scream sounds, rubbing cymbals for texture, and setting mics up all over the church where Catherine North is housed. "It was just having a good time and trying to make something crazy," grins Kahin.

WHEN IT'S ALL OVER is a depression-fueled coming-of-age story," says the 21-year-old up-and-comer. "Every month, you're a different person. It's a lot of feeling uncomfortable and not knowing what's stable and what's not." Kahin's new EP is the sound of life forcing him to the brink of self-destruction and the pendulum swing of the path back to some semblance of peace. Set against a suite of fuzzy prog garage rock and earworm guitar sludge, with explosive crescendos that all claw at the weirdness of growing into a world of relentless instability, it's the sound of music as survival: loud, honest, and desperate to live.

The Noise had the opportunity to chat with Kahin about the creation of the EP, his influences, and his favorite coming-of-age movies.

First of all, congrats on the release! How are you feeling right now, knowing that people will be listening to WHEN IT'S ALL OVER?

I feel really good. It's a strange feeling knowing that a bunch of people I don't know are getting clear insight into my head, but I feel there's a lot of benefit in being very honest and transparent, especially when it comes to the darker aspects of life. 

You've described this record as a "depression-fueled coming-of-age story." What were some of your favorite coming-of-age movies, and who have been some of the artists on the soundtrack of your life? 

I really loved C'mon C'mon from a couple years ago, which I thought was massively underrated. Submarine is also one of my all-time favorites. A band that has consistently influenced me from my pre-teen years to being a young adult is the Scottish alt-rock band Biffy Clyro. Lots of other bands have left a massive impact on me too, like Radiohead, local legends PUP. Recently a band from Atlanta by the name Lowertown was quick to become one of my favorites.

I was a massive fan of your last EP, especially your first few singles, "watch it fall apart" and "queen st." How do you feel the two records differ in terms of sonics and songwriting? Or are your methods pretty tried and true at this point?

I could go in-depth acknowledging the differences, but I think it really comes down to the fact that I was 17-18 when writing most of the last project, and I think I've matured quite a bit since then—in both my personal life and creatively—which I believe is displayed on this new EP. 

How would you define your sound? Would you classify your music as "emo" or something else? Where do you feel you fit in within the alt scene?

I think it's too early to clarify myself as anything, but I feel I've been welcomed into the alt scene with open arms.

What does the new EP title mean to you and how does that meaning carry over into the record? (It's also ok if it just sounded cool!)

I can't remember when I came up with the title, but each song on the EP has a separate correlation to it, which I'd like to leave up to interpretation. But overall, it serves as a reminder to zoom out when you're too focused on shortcomings. 

If you had to pick, what would be your favorite track on the record? My favorite track on the EP is probably "what are you waiting for?"

My personal favorite at the moment would be "In, Around" due to the fact that it feels so far away from my comfort zone. 

Which previously unreleased track are you most excited for people to finally hear?

I'm excited for people to hear the closing track, "Skeleton Song," because I think it creatively shows a side of me that hasn't been shown yet.

What was the most challenging aspect of making the EP? Did you encounter any writer's block? Was there one song that was hard to nail down in production? How did you go about working through it?

There wasn't too much writer's block. There were definitely some production challenges. There were an absurd amount of mixes on "compass" to get it to where I wanted it, but I'm very happy with the result. 

There are a lot of very powerful moments in this EP that explore themes like mental health, depression, and self-destruction. How do you stay grounded in those moments of creation so that the message comes across in the music without becoming melodramatic but also not being so restrained that it's apathetic?

I think I have a pretty good judgment system where if something feels too dark without enough substance, it's easy to just come across as pandering. Most of those decisions are made within the writing process. The song "birds" on the EP is very dark, but that's how I was feeling at the time, so I wouldn't want to sacrifice the chance of someone connecting with it just because I feel it might be seen as "too dark." Also, people can usually tell when someone is being real or not. 

Obviously, music is subjective, and everyone will get something different out of it, but what is one thing you hope people get out of this EP?

If only one person listens to it and feels heard or understood in what they're going through, then I've gotten what I want out of it. 

What would you like to experiment more with in the future?

I was born and raised in a farming town of about 5,000 people, so I think it's time for me to retire from distortion and start working on my country album. 

If you could give a piece of advice to your past self from the beginning of your journey as an artist, what would you say to them?

The more you hyper-focus on becoming a popular artist, the shittier your art is going to be. Just ride it out and create what feels right.

Be sure to check out Cam Kahin's EP, WHEN IT'S ALL OVER, today!

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