A few weeks ago we wrote about Johannesburg-based songwriter Ruby Gill. This week we’ve got another South African artist for you: Timothy Kohler of The Found Wonder.
After spending several years recording with a band, the Cape Town–based artist is embarking on a solo indie-pop career. And judging by his debut single, Timothy’s future is bright indeed.
“Calling” is a whimsical tune, reminiscent of Owl City’s early work. Calm and hopeful, Timothy’s soft voice floats on waves of backing vocals pulsed by a steady but not overpowering drum beat. This isn’t the type of song that will jump in front of you as you’re walking down the sidewalk and yell “LOOK AT ME!” but it is oddly addicting and rather catchy.
Give “Calling” a whirl, read our short interview with Timothy, and then scroll to the bottom of the interview for a free download of the song!
Ethan Weitz: What’s the story behind “Calling”?
Timothy Kohler: The focal point of “Calling” is primarily concerned with the desire to externalise one’s opinions whilst simultaneously adhering to a society’s harsh labeling behaviour. Essentially, the song addresses the yearning to belong whilst remaining true to oneself, and sometimes that may entail unpleasant assumptions one may have to bear.
Unintentionally, I wrote the song from a subconscious perspective. The lyrics were fabricated from a stream of consciousness, as opposed to writing around a particular subject. Lately, the South African tertiary education system has been experiencing quite an uproar with regards to student inclusion, and one externality of this has naturally been some segregation based on what people believe the solution or problem really is.
Ethan: You recently left a band to start your solo career. Why did you decide to make that change and what are your goals/hopes as far as songwriting goes?
Timothy: I didn’t necessarily leave the band, but because of different interests and geographic issues, people tend to put more energy into certain parts of their lives and prioritise when they begin tertiary education, and by doing so they really begin to “find themselves.” I know it’s a bit of a cliché, and sometimes can be disheartening, but it’s a natural part of life, and that’s okay. There aren’t any harsh feelings.
I began writing and performing music under my own moniker because I still had a yearning to do so, but the particular music I wanted to create was something that I felt needed to be segregated from the band. As far as songwriting goes, the only hope/goal I have is to remain authentic and true to myself and hopefully have a positive impact on others, be it in forms of comfort, solace, or merely just help with breaking down a feeling of isolation. I believe music is a way of creating an extension of ourselves, and the only way we can truly fulfill ourselves and even others is by being completely earnest.
Ethan: What’s it like making music in Cape Town?
Timothy: The Cape Town music scene is incredibly diverse. There’s music coming from all directions. I think the immense amount of diversity in culture, language, and town structures have a significant influence on musicians here. There are a lot of concerning issues around the low supply of quality live music venues and platforms, resulting in most musicians not having sufficient time to allocate to writing, performing, and marketing their music. Regardless of this, the country, and specifically Cape Town, yield some incredible acts I’m immensely proud to call friends. Sometimes, we compare our music to an international standard which often isn’t necessary and may result in less authenticity, but people are aware of this and change is happening. I’m so excited and proud to call Cape Town my home and I wouldn’t want to be based anywhere else.
EXCLUSIVE DOWNLOAD: Below is the link to your free download of The Found Wonder’s “Calling.” Follow the link and then click the “Download” button below the song. Remember, only the first 100 downloads are free, so get it now.
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Featured image: artwork for “Calling” by The Found Wonder.