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88 Keys To Cool: Sgt. Hulka runs us through the process of achieving ‘cool’

It’s been a little over a week now since we first heard Sgt. Hulka’s latest single Forget Me Now, but for that entire time, we haven’t stopped spinning it. The track is raw, emotional, clever… and we reckon it’s pretty damn cool.

So we caught up with frontwoman Kirsty Hulka for an easy, 88-step run-down on how to be cool. Take it away Sgt. Hulka…

I’ve learnt to embrace my ‘nerdy’ keys and play it like all the other ‘cool’ rock n’ roll instruments“: Kirsty Hulka of Sgt. Hulka runs us through the 88 keys to being ‘cool’.

Okay… picture this scene. You’re 8 years old. It’s a Tuesday afternoon. It’s summer, it’s hot and you’ve just finished school for the day. You’re friends ask you if you want to go to their house for a play after school but you sheepishly look at the floor and say “sorry, I’ve got to go to my piano lesson”. Your friends laugh and pick up their sports bag while you walk off to your mum’s car. You arrive at your piano lesson and can hear the sounds of Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turka and you dream that one day you’ll be able to play that piece.

Fast forward eight years and you’re in high school and your friends are all heading off to hang out the local shopping centre but, as always, you can’t, you have a piano lesson. You don’t like talking about your piano lessons anymore because it’s not seen as the ‘cool’ thing to do in high school and for some reason, you’ve kept learning all these years. Though now, after persistence and practice, you’re actually pretty good – but no one really knows this.

Now you’re in your twenties and you’re at a party. Everyone is drunk and are wanting a sing-along. You walk over to the piano and start busting out some classic Jerry Lee Lewis and everyone loses their shit. Suddenly, you are the COOLEST person in the room. To be able to play the piano well can be a rare skill and it often impresses people. “Natural talent,” they say, “you must have good musical genes,” “I wish I could play like that” … You can play like this honey, it just takes practice. Hours and hours of fucking practice.

I never thought that all those years of practice as a kid would take me where I am today. I now lead my own band on a Korg SV1 88 stacked with a Roland Juno Ds 61, as well as two sustain pedals whilst singing and operating a vocal effects pedal. It may not be normal, but it is fun to not be normal. It may even be considered ‘cool’ to not be normal. I’ve learnt to embrace my ‘nerdy’ keys and play it like all the other ‘cool’ rock n’ roll instruments. Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Regina Spektor, Cold War Kids, Jerry Lee Lewis – just to name a few – prove that the keys can be cool. You’ve just gotta know how to play them.

So my advice on how to be cool? Start with key number 1 (it’s an A by the way). Then work your way up through to the 88th key (that one is a C). Then start again, and again, and again. Then once you think you know all the keys, do it again. Then one day, you’ll just sit down and go “sick, I can play the piano. How cool am I?” That is my advice on how to be cool. I’m sure there are other ways, but that is the only way I know.

Forget Me Now is available now. Listen above.

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December 7, 2018

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