‘Folk Life‘ is a new feature on Folk Radio UK which I guess really revolves around a desire to live a simpler and more fulfilling life, something that has driven us personally for a number of years. A large number of people that contact us listen to our station whilst working as illustrators, painters and doing other forms of art and crafts. Many have chosen to make their living this way not to just to put bread on the table but because it also offers them a certain quality of life. These are the types of people we’ll be focusing on, some are musicians, some are illustrators and others make folk crafts. A lot of them live very differently to others but they all share one thing in common – they are all driven by passion.
We will be featuring people from around the globe who inspire us so if you have a story that you think we may be interested in then please get in touch.
The first to feature is husband and wife: Kim Krans and Jonny Ollsin, better known to many as Family Band. Along with family friend Scott Hirsch they create haunting ambient-folk music with beautiful and often stark lyrics.
Jonny used to be in a skate thrash band called ‘S.T.R.E.E.T.S. and Children’ but that fast-paced party life became a burden over the years and a less frantic lifestyle beckoned. They met around a campfire back in 2005 when Kim was helping a friend to build a house and the rest, as they say, is history.
Together they bought some land and went about building a two room cabin in the Catskill Mountains. Building the cabin was a steep learning curve but over time they have acquired good carpentry skills. They managed to build the cabin with just the help of family and friends and they have kept the design simple but with a great deal of thought and attention given to the fine details which really make it something special. You can read more about its design and see a heap of photos here.
They run an online website called The Wild Unknown, a hub from which they sell all their hand made creations. The name is taken from Bob Dylan’s ‘Isis’:
So I cut off my hair & I rode straight away,
to the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong
At the cabin they fulfil their creative passions making music, videos, as well as a number of other art projects. Kim has worked as a visual artist since her teens, later she found her working growing in popularity with friends wanting to buy her creations. Over time this developed into a small business and then an online store. Her latest project is a lovely 78 card tarot deck, the printing of which was funded by selling prints of the original artwork (see below).
They recently relocated to Philadelphia where they’ve taken a one year lease on a renovated church which offers them a lot more for work they want to undertake including a large rehearsal area with plenty of light..they are still not too far from their dream home.
The move followed after recording a ‘Shaking Through Session’ in Philly, a project that was curated by Grizzly Bear guitarist, Daniel Rossen (see video below):
With Curator/Producer Daniel Rossen from Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles, they tackled arranging and recording ‘Again’ in one day. It was a difficult road at times. But the sparse, haunting track was well worth the effort.
Last year they released their second album ‘Grace & Lies‘ which comprises of ghostly ambient songs that Krans was inspired to write after seeing ghostly figures near their cabin. The video for Moonbeams is below:
Make sure you pay a visit to their Wild Unknown website which is a hub for all their work from music, artwork, t-shirts, books and more (see links below)