KESMAR Shares ‘Forever Holiday’ EP (Out Now); Watch “Johatsu Feat. Flore Benguigui”

May 21, 2021 BY Nettwerk

Basking in the glow of bright analog synths, lush guitars, and organic beat-craft, Sydney-based producer and multi-instrumentalist KESMAR (aka Nathan Hawes) strikes a distinctive and infectious balance between yacht rock and D.I.Y. bedroom pop on his latest release, the Forever Holiday EP (out now via Nettwerk Records).

The first synth I ever bought was the Roland Juno 60,” he recalls. “It completely opened my eyes to a whole new world of recording and playing. I wouldn’t say it shaped my whole sound palette, but it helped me understand how to use a synth. The project started as a new outlet to create something different and push my boundaries. After three or so years of learning how to do everything myself, I finally reached the point I had been searching for—the independence to write, produce, and record my music.” That sense of independence courses through Forever Holiday. He initially teased out the project with “Meteorite.” Of the follow-up “Back Up,” NME praised, “KESMAR gets into the groove.” Meanwhile, he kicked off 2021 with the instantly infectious “Delora” and synth-doused neon dream of “Nothing to Lose.” To accompany each track, he evoked the vibe by personally directing and shooting a music video on super8.

Now there’s the single “Johatsu,” featuring Flore Benguigui. Birds chirp through a cinematic synth hum before a laidback funky guitar holds and a nu-disco beat pulsates. Meanwhile, Flore’s French vocals entwine with shimmering keys, locking into a dreamy refrain. “It was originally just an instrumental set to close the EP,” he states. “I put a little snippet on my story, and Flore replied that she liked it. We had been song-sharing for a fair while, but we never really got around to properly collaborating. I sent her the track and said, ‘Hey, if you hear any melodies, feel free to try something.’ The next day or so, she sent back two whole verses that were pretty much finished.”

About the lyrics, Flore adds, “I am fascinated by Japanese culture, and I recently discovered the Johatsu phenomenon. People who choose to discreetly disappear from their lives when things get too hard and decide to start from zero somewhere else, leaving all their siblings and projects. I couldn’t help but make a connection with love, and more precisely with the boy I used to love and who suddenly left me, without any explanation. Besides, I felt Nathan’s song had this Japanese city pop vibe that I instantly loved. The music could fit the topic, but the mood was rather sweet. So, when I composed the melody, I thought I had to bring some melancholy into the lyrics. I enjoyed working on this song so much. It’s the first time I created something from a distance with somebody I don’t even really know, but whose music tastes are so incredibly close to mine!

For the “Johatsu feat. Flore Benguigui” video, Nathan edited archival footage from his parents’ European holiday circa 1981.

Forever Holiday is available at all digital retailers:

Forever Holiday Track List:

1. Meteorite
2. Backup
3. Johatsu (Feat. Flore Benguigui)
4. Nothing To Lose
5. Delora
6. Waiting (Feat. Tim Ayre)