During the last months of 2020 and the first wave of the pandemic, LA transplant, musician and cannabis advocate Willy Christie met with queer Los Angeles based creative director and photographer in the cannabis space Emily Eizen to collaborate on a photoshoot for his album Kukuni. Conceived in 2019, Kukuni was an experiment in writing music with no audience in mind, and no intention of being performed live. Kukuni was written in a six month span of almost total isolation. Originally, this isolation was meant to be a unique experience to draw from, but COVID made sure that lockdown is now a near-universal experience. The album will be released in fall 2021.
The exclusive photos featured here are inspired by the lead single off the album “The Mirror,” which was released on June 15th. Willy says: “I wrote the chorus for 'The Mirror' in a ditch just outside of Joshua Tree. I came back to it over a year later and fleshed out a demo sampling my own acoustic guitar for the verse. The lyrics are written from the perspective of The Fool, the protagonist of the Tarot. He speaks of loosening attachment and the freedom inherent in 'wandering, with all demand abandoned.' The chorus is a reflection on self love, and how important it is to not judge who we are or where we're at in this short life because it's only a matter of time before we're all 'dust in the earth.'"
The demo for “The Mirror” was then taken to studio wizard Tony Buchen who really helped polish the rougher edges of the original demo as well as adding his signature vintage sheen. Not to mention the contribution of drummer Robby Sinclair, whose performance breathes life into the entire piece.
There’s a very lo-fi demo of the album out with almost all sampled drums that was written entirely by Christie. “Bringing it to Tony Buchen’s studio really helped it blossom into the album we have today,” shares Christie. “Cleaner, bigger and more realized…”
Christie gives a whole lot of credit to psychedelics in his formative years. A semi-nerd, semi-jock college dropout, there wasn’t too much on the horizon. After a chance encounter with mushrooms, and the proverbial “slap in the face” that one tends to receive on the first heavy dose, he decided to dive deeper. It was after a few introspective LSD trips that Christie began to discover a deeper purpose, and his true calling — music.