I question whether those who worked with the great rock front men of our time, knew whether it was prophetic work or just a punt? Imagine men such as Jim Morrison, Michael Hutchence, Lou Reed, Bon Scott and Mick Jagger. These are entertainers who each carved a path and have driven our culture forward. As their hips gyrate on a sweaty club stage, men want to be them and women want to have sex with them. I am adding the name Kirin J Callinan to this collective, and only time will tell whether I am predictive in my words. Great front men are a gift from the gods. They give you that feeling of being drawn into a connection of mystery and promise, you give into your better self, and when in the presence of their performance, your feelings of pure electricity are palpable. It’s infectious and slightly confusing.
Kirin J Callinan is flamboyant, charismatic, Australian, and people are talking about him. His performances are a fascinating mix of sexuality and anxiety, yet as a man he is wrapped in romanticism and courage. The power of Kirin’s music is that I am completely drawn out of my world, and into his. He is an artist, whose songwriting has not yet reached its potential, but I believe that it will, given time.
After cutting his teeth in local Australian bands - including Mercy Arms, Lost Valentinos and Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders – he is currently touring his first solo album, titled Embracism, which was released internationally in 2013 (Siberia/Terrible/XL). The work captures the dark beauty of a man who is both a complex thinker, and who also wants the same as most of us do – a nice life and someone to share it with.
Kirin’s career is managed by Daniel Stricker, a fellow musician (drummer for The Midnight Juggernauts), Label owner (Siberia Records) and long-time friend. Both boys were born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I met with them, on separate occasions, at The Hoxton in London. I was curious about what their experience has been like working together, and everything to know about them was explained with this detail: They have matching tattoos that they inked into each other, with a sewing needing and a matchstick.
Kirin: As a young man, it felt like something worth exploring was the extremity of femininity. But then as I grew up I realised it’s something that’s been pretty well documented. But – men exploring their own masculinity? Especially in music, there’s something to explore there.
Daniel: He’s just a showman, like I said it’s like a dying breed. Most people who would see another artist do it would say - “oh bloody hell, he’s taking his clothes off!” I think with Kirin it works. It’s just who he is. What you see is him putting everything out there. The most endearing thing about Kirin that I love so much, and what you see people respond to, is that he’s just putting everything on the line ... I don’t know how he does it. Maybe it’s cathartic.
* Kirin and Dan were photographed Nielsen Park in Sydney, Australia.