Kel Burch is the powerhouse of Depth. She makes everything happen. She’s the editor, the main writer, and the main reason this thing is still up and running. She puts countless hours every week into writing, and running Depth, and rarely asks for rewards for all her hard work.
Kel got into alternative music largely through her parents. They were into bands like The Doors, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, and would consistently play these guys and more, so she grew up listening to a wide range of music. Anything with music grabbed her attention, and for Kel ABC’s Rage was a goldmine of non-stop new music.
A big moment for Kel was when her cousin played her Soundgarden‘s album Badmotorfinger. This kind of woke her up to the beautiful heaviness that can be present in music, and as she arrived home she immediately dove head first into this band, including trawling music stores and buying every Soundgarden physical album or single she could find, including the very rare limited release ‘SOMMS’ version of Badmotorfinger. “I was shattered when they broke up of course, and cried my heart out, and shattered all over again when Chris died. This band meant a lot to me.”
From there she learned about other genre bloodlines like Temple of the Dog and Pearl Jam, and as she became a die-hard fan of triple j her music taste took off even more in all kinds of different directions. From the age of 18 to her early 20’s, she was treated to a steady stream of great live shows and festivals, including Radiohead and Korn among countless others. “There’s a massive time gap for me music-wise, where kids and responsibility tore me away from having music in my life, but I am back! Getting to explore music again. I’m amazed that I love current day music even more than my old school favourites. I never expected that would happen, to be honest.”
Kel has always loved words and language, and this (and a lack of instrumental prowess) caused her to follow what was natural to her. Music writing is combining essentially two of her favourite things, so it couldn’t be more of a perfect fit. “Words are natural to me, and I love playing with them and playing with metaphor and visual representations of ideas. It was kind of a match made in heaven that I got here.”
By way of reviewing, she got into it through twitter, as a music magazine she followed advertised on there asking for writers. With her love of music she decided to give it a go, and she learnt the ropes of what goes on behind the scenes, and came with a lot of passion and enthusiasm in a hope to get this website moving even more. Unfortunately the guy behind it was an arsehole, constantly acting unprofessional and mistreating her despite her efforts.
Eventually he kicked her out, but this only inspired her. That same day she started Depth Magazine. She loved what she was doing and wasn’t going to let someone else tell her she couldn’t do it. Going from writing for a page that had 25k+ twitter followers to 0 was rough, but she buckled down and pumped out content so that she could have a site that had plenty on it. For most of the first year the desire was to succeed in spite of this guy, but after that sense of revenge died down, she has found her groove, and has moved on from that.
“I suck too badly at singing, so I write”
Music inspires her more than anything. “If I hear a song and it moves me/touches me in some way my reaction is to create in response to it. I’m not sure how you can’t NOT do anything in those circumstances? I’m also one of those people that can’t necessarily stand still to a good song. I suck too badly at singing to share covers of songs I love, so I write.”
“When it comes down to it, this thing that musicians have spent time and energy and heart making is put out into the world. And if it’s actually felt, understood, I figure that would feel really good. It’s like this reciprocal appreciation fest at times; when my writing is loved by them, this thing that I wrote because I loved the thing they wrote. That feels really right. Everyone just wants to be heard and understood.”
Curiosity also drives Kel’s inspiration a lot, where she constantly asks herself questions like “Why’d the artist choose that specific wording?” or “What were they feeling when they created this?”, and from the feedback she gets it seems like this factor works really well in her favour.
Goals are also a big part of keeping Depth rolling on, and one of her main ones is simply to have people read and enjoy the content that she produces. “I don’t want to be driven by hits or clicks, but it does matter. It’s just finding a balance with it. I’m not the most patient person, so when I take a step back and look at the stats and see that it’s grown so much already in a short amount of time, I’m happy with that. I want for people to enjoy it, and get something out of it personally.”
“I also have a kickass team now that I couldn’t be happier with! I don’t need or want any bullshit drama so I try to keep things open and honest. More like a democratic thing versus dictatorship, though I’m also good at being bossy. Having a strong team was a goal for me, so I’m glad it’s happening.”
This whole Depth experience has created some really special moments, with one highlight for Kel being the Slowly Slowly show. Time stood still as this very humble and genuine group of guys rocked out on stage, and shared themselves with the crowd. A highlight review wise was when she overcame her fear of reviewing a completely instrumental album, in Night Verses From The Gallery of Sleep. Finishing that was incredibly rewarding, and that is a stand out to Kel.
“Any review where a band says “You nailed it, you understood what we were trying to do. It’s as if you were there with us when we wrote it” – those are my favourite moments and I never get tired of that.”
As far as advice for other creatives goes, Kel just says to go for it and do it. Particularly with writing: “Just start. Ask yourself what you want to say or what you feel and let that determine what you write”.
Kel loves Depth for countless reasons. Firstly she loves the environment that she and we have created. She loves our little team, after doing it mostly alone for a year and a half, it is great to have a bunch of people on board who are excited as she is about what we are all creating. “It’s also great to have these people as friends. I’m proud that we’ve created something that feels professional and current. With the small group we have, we constantly talk about the songs and the gigs… and I’ve just realised I’ve found the communication that I wanted/needed from the last zine.”
“I’m proud of the love of music being the main motivator, and how we’re not using tactics like clickbait to drive interest or traffic to us. I love our endless ideas about how to celebrate the scene, it’s very cool when bands are also keen to play along with us and I couldn’t be happier.”
“I’m proud of the fact that curiosity factor can mean that we often hit upon things that may not be immediately obvious. Like Movements‘ frontman Pat confirming that he used colour to express emotion was something that he said no one else noticed, same with the story concepts behind Stuck Out‘s You Won’t Come Home and Ame Noire‘s The Tree that Bears Rotten Fruit. It’s easy to comment about tempo and heaviness, but takes a perspective of wanting to know more and being curious to see some other things going on within a song or an album. I like that we can perhaps offer something new, simply by having a different perspective. Not everyone will care about that and not everyone needs that level of understanding to enjoy music, but the music obsessives like us will enjoy it and I’d love to tell all of them that we exist.”
Find Kel’s articles here: http://www.depthmag.com/author/depthkelby/