Get to know 2022 Recording Engineer of the Year nominee, Hill Kourkoutis in our “7 Questions With” series where we speak with first time JUNO Award nominees from all genres.
Hill Kourkoutis is one of the most revered Canadian music contributors. She is an accomplished producer, songwriter, composer, artist, musician, and director. Spanning her career, Hill has produced albums and/or singles for Leela Gilday, Royal Wood, Jules (“Before You Picked Her” #1 CBC, Top 40 Alternative Radio), POESY (Top 40 Alternative Rock Radio), Digging Roots, Cassie Dasilva and SATE. Hill played on, produced and mixed Leela Gilday’s JUNO award-winning album ‘North Star Calling’.
Additionally, along with JUNO-winning artist Serena Ryder, she produced and co-wrote the theme song and the end title song for Universal Kids’ animated children’s series “Remy and Boo.” Hill also produced and co-wrote the theme song for Disney’s pre-school series “Dino Ranch.” Most recently, she co-wrote and produced episodic songs for “Thomas & Friends.” As a musician, Kourkoutis has had the honour of playing with artists such as The Weeknd, Serena Ryder, and Tara Slone and, for two seasons on the CTV series, ‘The Launch’, performing as guitarist in the show’s house band.
1. How did it feel to be nominated for a JUNO?
It is an immense honour and it is very exciting!
2. Who are your biggest musical influences?
I have had so many but some standouts include Sheryl Crow, Dalbello, Blondie, David Bowie, The Pixies, The Go-Go’s, surf music, British Invasion bands, Motown and the film scores of classic Hollywood.
3. What do you think is the best song you’ve ever released? What’s the story behind it?
Every record I’m involved with feels extremely special and unique and I am very proud to be a part of it. The projects I was involved with that are JUNO nominated this year, SATE’s ‘The Fool’ and Tania Joy’s single “The Drought”, feel particularly special. These records were made during the pandemic. SATE and I have been dear friends and collaborators for years but I met Tania Joy over ZOOM and still haven’t met her in person yet!
It was very interesting to redefine the bond between producer and artist in a remote capacity. We wrote our own rules and still found a unique way to bond and make these incredibly honest and soul-filled records despite the circumstances we found ourselves in. In a way, that’s what makes them even more special; they are a testament to the power and will that music has even in the most trying of times. For that, these records and the journey they took will be particularly special to me and the fact that they spoke to people outside of our individual solitudes and introspection brings me much joy and hope. It’s why we do what we do.
4. Which artist(s) would you like to collaborate with most?
St. Vincent, Brittany Howard, Feist, Allison Russell, Brandi Carlile, Florence + The Machine, Charlotte Cardin, AHI, Jessie Reyez, The Beaches, Wild Rivers.
5. What is your favourite studio to record at?
I primarily work out of my studio, The Lair, but I love working out of the many studios in Toronto. One of my favourites is Canterbury Music Co. I also love tracking at Lincoln County Social Club.
6. What are 3 items you require at any session?
A good song, trust from the artist/performer and tube gear!! Oh, and a guitar, always.
7. What’s next for you?
I’m very excited about the albums I’ve produced/mixed for Digging Roots and Amanda Rheaume. I’m also in the final stages of Aysanabee’s debut album. These records will all be released through Ishkōdé Records over the next year. On the studio front, the docket is packed over the next year. I’m very excited for a fruitful and inspiring year of music making at The Lair.
Tickets for The 2022 JUNO Awards are on sale now! Don’t miss out on an unforgettable night of Canadian music hosted by Simu Liu on May 15th.