Don’t let the name fool you, This Pale Fire is a musician that burns bright. One of the most unique voices to rise from the Auckland scene, This Pale Fire, known as Corban Koschak to his nearest and dearest, has the kind of smoldering voice that turns heads, breaks barriers, breathes emotion and is basically shit-hot awesome.
It’s also one that defies definition, with NZ Musician describing his voice as “closest maybe to Dan Smith with some of Thom York’s falsetto brilliance brushed on. This gets you into the neighbourhood rather than an exact address, Corban’s sound is all his own”.
But there is more to This Pale Fire than just a voice. The self-taught singer/songwriter writes all his music, designs all his artwork and plays the guitar to top it all off. Having never formally studied music, the 25-year-old’s passion started when he was gifted a guitar when he was just 14-years-old. He’s always loved poetry and soon started writing song after song in his bedroom. It wasn’t until a fellow musician and close confidant heard some of this and encouraged him to pursue it that he broke out of those four walls.
The result was his first EP ‘Dusk’. Enlisting the help of Ekko Park’s Nick Douch (drums), alongside Kyle Wetton (electric guitars and bass) and Josh Steyn-Ross (keys), the band added further layers to his honed pop instincts, with the result a stunning introduction to the honest indie-rock artist.
It was also during this time that This Pale Fire had a very fortuitous meeting with fellow local artist and producer, Cymbol 303 – who had been steadily building a profile in his own right, taking out the George FM Remix Factor Competition in 2013 and playing high-profile shows including Rhythm & Vines. Crossing paths professionally, the two would ultimately go on to release collaborative EP ‘The Cycle’ on 24 July 2015.
While dance floor EDM meets earnest indie rock may at first seem like an unlikely collaboration, This Pale Fire and Cymbol 303’s collaboration was a bold and realized one. Compiling a compelling collection of songs, the EP explores the different stages of relationships, from infatuation through to bitter resentment, while the artwork – which features an infinity sign – is all about trying to break this relationship cycle.
Lead single off the record ‘Burst of Colour’ kicks off that relationship rollercoaster as the honeymoon-period, sparks-are-flying track. Featured on George FM’s The Jump and The Edge TV’s Decent Exposure, the song itself also received a lot of love. As the EP progresses, so does the relationship cycle, with second single ‘Don’t Rob Me’ dubbed the ‘moving in’ song – This Pale Fire summarizing “the lyrics are essentially saying ‘I’m giving you my heart, please don’t break it”. Finally, ‘Better Than Me’ is where the relationship ends, then it’s right back to the start to try it all again.
A concept that everyone can relate to, there’s something very accessible about ‘The Cycle’ both in sound and content. In sharing that love as far as the possible, the duo also gave away the full EP for free at their release show as part of regular club night Dance Yrself Clean – using a very unusual delivery method.
Given out inside fortune cookies, their delicious EP was served up with a dose of advice and a casing of biscuit, alongside a link to get the release for free; their inventive approach to music distribution putting them in the hearts, minds and bellies of their fans.
Now working towards the release of his own solo record, This Pale Fire’s sound is set to evolve again as he moves back closer to his folk roots – tipping a more stripped-back EP to be released later in 2017.
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