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Meet the Former Hare Krishna Devotee Behind One of Australia’s Most Unique Labels

From lo-li Krishna Consciousness to trill mixtapes, Kelang Records is not your typical label.
September 21, 2016, 8:19am

Ethan Kernaghan is a musician and former Hare Krishna devotee who, for the last few years, has been running KelAng Records​, a small DIY tape and zine label from his Brisbane bedroom. With a musical output ranging from thrash, to spoken word, harsh noise, and rap, the label's site​ also serves as an interactive goldmine for Ethan's half-cracked transcendentalist art.

​Since the breakup of his band The Kramers- arguably his most celebrated work- a few years ago, Ethan has indulged in a variety of genres, one-off projects, and alter-egos. From the ego maniacal musings of the En Kernaghan Speaking Experience, to the trill mixtape that he's currently working on as Kang Krsna of Kang Krew 1997, Ethan's work never abandons its twisted sense of humour and strong DIY approach.

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Favouring frequency over fidelity and mostly remaining on the seedier side of sentiment,  Ethan has a not-so-delicate knack of twisting the most anomalous ideas into abstraction. His longest standing project, En Kernaghan Projekt Experience Banned 1997, is no exception.

Featuring Sanskrit inspired guitar shanks and a frenetic vocal performance not far from something the late Hasil Adkins might have turned up, the S/T record has been re released on vinyl by NYC label Ever/Never​- a small success that Ethan cited as, 'kinda surreal.. kinda wanna go there now and do some territorial pissing.'

Among the many musical styles that Ethan's adopted over the years, he has also embraced (and since renounced) the practices of the Hare Krishna. Somewhat inspired by delicious vege food and 90s hardcore punk acts like Youth of Today- who also adopted the Eastern philosophy - we caught up with Ethan to chat about his art, spirituality, and the significance of Jim Carrey.

Noisey: Hey Ethan, what have you been working on lately? 
Ethan Kernaghan: At the moment I am working on a trill mixtape with my boys Korean Ginseng and Illusive Shawty from Kang Krew. I'm Kang Krsna:

KelAng has consistently explored different genres and styles. Are these conscious decisions? 
It's based on how I am feeling towards a particular instrument or sound, I think it goes month by month. I get tired really easily with music- Kronik Fatigue Instrumentation Mann is an ALTER Ego of mine. The longest running project I have had is called the En Kernaghan Projekt Experience Banned 1997, we released a record on the label Ever Never​ from New York. It is kind of surreal… I kinda wanna go there now and do some territorial pissing.

What circumstances led you to adopting the practices of the Hare Krishna? Did 90s hardcore punk bands like Cro-mags and Youth of Today have any impact?

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Since I was young I was interested in spirituality and metaphysics, the big questions kept me up (and still do). I joined the Hare Krishna cult about two years ago around the same time I became vegan and met my partner. I don't regret any of those things, although I'm no longer a "De vo Teee"  as I don't wear robes or have a rats tail anymore. Youth of Today and delicious veg food had a big part in it. That's as "divine" as it gets.

So you don't engage with HK practices anymore?
I still practice mantra meditation and read the Bhagavad Gita I just don't accept literalism of ancient "scripture" and I am anti racism,sexism, speciesism and homophobia - unlike the founder of the HK Movement. Though I prefer stay on the positive.

And that's what caused you to leave the 'cult'?
I used to chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare hare 1728 times a day. That's the rule to go back home to Krishna. I went in hard, renounced a lot then finally found my place - outside of their world. Studying comparative theology and epistemology helped me disconnect from the movement. Reason does that to a person, eh!

Ethan's tattoo of the lion man incarnation of Krishna that tore the guts out of a child abuser named Hiranyakasipur.

Can you tell me about your paintings and the significance of Jim Carrey?
I started painting about six-months ago and stopped painting about 5 months ago, in that time though I did about 40 paintings and made a bunch of sculptures out of bottles. They are available on the website of which I am the HeadmAsster. The site is called Kelang Records it is also my label of a long time. I post a lot of interactive art, paintings, videos, comedy skits. The Jim Carrey thing was a stab at the cult that I mentioned before.

For more of Ethan's music go to Kelang Records.