Kevin Kendle is a world-renowned composer and synthesizer musician whose 30+ albums are adored by fans around the world for their exquisite beauty and peaceful, pastoral atmospheres. Recording in his studio in Hertfordshire, Kevin’s music reflects the beauty and majesty of the natural world, along with an indefinable something that many cite as spiritual in nature. We asked Kevin to elucidate on this, and on his spiritual journey.
The style of music I create is often labelled as “New Age,” a label which, if I’m honest, I’m not that fond of. It’s a pigeonhole that’s used when instrumental music doesn’t really fit into any of the traditional genres, and covers a vast gamut of styles. My music is created from the heart, and is most definitely not financially inspired – if this were the case, I’d have given up long ago..! There is something deep within me that drives and inspires me to create gentle, instrumental music, that some also describe as “healing.”
I have long been aware of the power of music to alter and enhance moods, right from a very early age. One of my earliest memories, in fact, is a recurring dream that I had around the age of three. I say this, because my sister hadn’t been born at the time, and there are three years between us. My parents’ house backed onto a rather picturesque golf course, and the dream featured lots of coloured lights – like the headlights of multiple vehicles – all moving around on the golf course – it was mesmerising. This was accompanied by strange but beautiful, hypnotic music – featuring repeating patterns. A seed must have been subconsciously sown by this, which did not really germinate fully until my final year at middle school, when an “epiphany moment” occurred… More on that in a moment…
I also remember being baby-sat by my grandparents at a really young age, again before my sister had arrived on the scene, and being instantly moved to tears by the popular version of “Amazing Grace” that topped the charts in the 1970s, which they put on the record player. It proved to me beyond any doubt that music is a very powerful, universal force that MOVES the emotions – right from that very early age. My Mum and Gran were both very spiritual people, but the word “religion” has always made me very uncomfortable, and still does to a degree. For instance, I would happily chat with my Gran about astral travel, mantra, reincarnation, leaving the physical body, and similar subjects as though it was the most natural thing in the world aged 8 or 9. However, I associated orthodox religion with conflict, disagreement and hatred. So I would call myself spiritual, while shying clear of “religious.”
Having said that, my music, while not actually intentional, has been described as spiritual, and I’ve received many letters and messages over the years telling me how much it has helped people over bereavements, illness and difficult times in their lives. And this is one of the things that I’ve come to be most proud of.
In the meantime, the years leading up my “epiphany moment” saw my parents spot some kind of musical ability in me, when I apparently used to sing harmonies to nursery rhymes and school hymns. This led to me having piano lessons around the age of 8, which I confess I didn’t much enjoy. Three years later, I was on the point of giving up, bored with the having to practice the endless scales, arpeggios, exams and having to learn pieces of music I didn’t much like. And then the epiphany happened…
One morning, in the school assembly, we all sat down on the floor in the school hall as we did every morning. Usually, there’d be some “child-friendly” classical music playing, such as “Peter and the Wolf” or such like, but on this particular occasion, some strange, hypnotic music featuring repeating patterns suddenly filled the air and I was instantly transported back to my recurring dream, with all the strange coloured “headlights” moving around on the golf course. I was completely transfixed, and listened like I’d never listened to anything before. After the assembly, I rushed off to find the music teacher, who told me it was Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells.” I just HAD to have the record, and pestered my parents relentlessly until they kindly bought it for me. I played it equally relentlessly and found it utterly amazing that Mike Oldfield had played all the instruments himself – and from that moment forward, music was ALL I really wanted to do, as if a light switch had been turned on in my head. I started writing my own pieces for piano, and by the end of that school year, I was performing my own music in the same school assembly. Were it not for that early dream, and hearing “Tubular Bells” on that fateful day, I can categorically state that I would not be doing music today. I went on to achieve Grade 8 in piano as a result.
My newly-found love of music meant that I ended up going to a different high school than the “default” school that most went to, and it had a wonderful music department with an equally wonderful music teacher, who encouraged my emerging musicality – even letting me take home the school synthesizer at weekends! I also was able to learn classical guitar, oboe and even church organ.
Fast forward to 1992, and, having played keyboards in “conventional” pop and jazz/funk bands for several years, (including the outstanding soul vocalist Noel McCalla’s band for 5 years in the early 1990s) – I produced my first album of nature-inspired “New Age” music, called “Watermusic.” Digital studio technology had advanced to the point where it became (almost) affordable to record at home in CD-quality, even though cassette was still the only affordable method of duplication back then. I was able to start up my own record label to release my own music on in 1994, and called it “Eventide Music,” doing all my own distribution as well as composing, playing, recording and production myself – a true “one-man band..!”
As well as being inspired by nature, the wonders of space have always deeply inspired me with a spiritual intensity, and I had always wanted to produce music to evoke the feelings of wonder that looking up into the night sky conjured up inside me. But it wasn’t until 2003 that synthesizers had evolved to a point where I could do justice to this most Divine of subject matter. As the music was much more ethereal and “floating” in its atmospheric sound, I released it under a sub-series I called “Deep Skies” – and this series continues to this day, with six albums of “spacemusic” released under this moniker at the time of writing.
I also worked closely with the Aetherius Society in 2015, creating the music for the album “Rise” – to accompany a series of spoken work meditations, originating from Cosmic sources. The research I did for this album led me to discover and understand better its founder, Dr George King, in great detail – and the simply extraordinary things he brought to this world. It’s best that one discovers this for themselves rather than go into detail here, but I had the great benefit of working with those who knew him personally and who were able to answer any questions I had. Sometimes the Truth really is stranger than fiction… So amazed was I during this time working on the “Rise” music, that I joined the society and have been a member ever since. I strongly felt that this connection arose as a direct result of my music – it found me, in other words. I have since discovered that the Aetherius Society had been using my music in their various incredible activities for at least 20 years, which is indeed a great honour, of immense proportions. And when, for contractual reasons back in 2004, I had to choose a pseudonym under which to create music for a different record label (other than the one I was signed to,) rather than use my own name, straight away the name “Aetherium” popped into my head, at least a decade before I really knew anything of the Aetherius Society.
Coincidence..? There’s no such thing…