Posted by Mark on June 28, 2014
A Brief Interview About Didgeridoos with US Crafter KC Kraudy
We've had the great fortune to be able to represent young up and coming didgeridoo crafter KC Kraudy. I recently did a little Q&A with him and wanted to put together a blog entry to help introduce KC and his work.
You live in Wisconsin now, are you a native?
I was raised in Clairmont MN, my father moved our family to WI ten years ago when I was 15 due to the fact that I was always in trouble with drugs, and the law. My dad knew if we did not move then I had no future,for this I will always be grateful. This was the first step to finding my path as a didgeridoo builder, since the hills of WI is where I fell in love with trees and the sounds of nature. To me sitting in the woods is like being in a concert music surrounds you.
How long have you been crafting didgeridoo?
I began crafting didgeridoos about a year and a half ago. I had bought a piece of junk travel didge on ebay from an undisclosed company that sells a lot of garbage every day. I got it and it was not even made of the same piece of wood, so right off the bat when I pulled it out I could tell it was mass produced. It sounded like it was crafted not tuned, and just a low low grade player. It had absolutely the worst harmonics I have ever heard. After this experience I though to myself "I could make a much, much better quality didge than this. I have been blessed to be a handy man I can fix/build anything I put my mind to. I went to the woods soon after and picked 3 pieces of wood all freshly fallen I do not cut trees down. At the time I did not know about curing wood so I got lucky on the first. It was a piece of White Pine, you will notice a lot of this species I live in the coniferous forest so it is the most common to fall to the ground though I do collect a lot of hardwoods as well. So the first went to my 7yr old niece and sure enough it is way better quality of didgeridoo than the one I had spent $130 on. The second split itself in half due to not being cured, this is when I learned you MUST cure your wood. This is how I got started on gourd didgeridoos I had uncured wood. My third piece I had picked is now with L.A. Outback "Alien-Ate-It". So even though I make a great quality instrument I am still quite a rookie. There is always more to learn.
What first drew you to the instrument as a player?
The biggest factor in me starting to play didgeridoo was the first time I heard one. I found myself in a trance of passion, the sound just called to me and I knew that I had to learn to play. There was no music in my family before I picked a didgeridoo so I had no formal training musically. The first time I had played a didgeridoo, the drone maybe lasted for about 5 sec., but the most incredible feeling came across me, the whole room went white all sound, and people vanished. After that I knew this was the instrument for me. To me a didgeridoo is the truest extension of a musician, every sound is produced by the player, and there is no two players that are the same.
Where do you find your felled wood for your pine an other native hardwood didges?
I gather almost all of my wood with my son who is 3 now, but when we started he was 2. We find almost all of our wood right in Black River Falls in town. There is a spot where everyone in town drops off the fallen branches so we usually go there first, but we are always on the look out for wood I keep a saw in the trunk of my car at all times, you just never know when a great piece will appear. Otherwise I have a lot of friends that have woods that I get to go and search any time I want to, also all my friends are looking too so it has become quite common to get a pic message from a friend that found a piece of wood. I get a lot of White Pine, Red Pine, Red Cedar, White Cedar, an assortment of Oak, Black Walnut, and Black Locust is what I usually look for.
How do you approach picking the right gourd pieces for didgeridoo?
For gourd didgeridoos it has been tricky, I have bought every one up to this point, but this year I have a garden of Snake Gourds to make them more efficient to make. I am always looking for the straightest gourds possible, but I am not afraid of some curves to give them some caricature. Buying gourds really restricts me so I am looking forward to harvest this year. I like to have both narrow and bigger gourds to make a nice taper, with out you get a low grade player/sounding didgeridoo. With didgeridoos it is all about the taper.
If you haven't checked out KC Croudy's didges yet here are a couple recent examples. Jump over to our site to view more and maybe grab one for yourself!