Profile: Isaac Koren, Musician

Isaac’s Pie
Occupation: Performer

Aussie Hometown: Adelaide

U.S. Digs: NYC

Visa type: Green card

Current project:

I suppose you could say I am working on making what I love to do — be all that I do. At the moment, the focus has been on touring and recording The Kin and acting in an indie film, “The Price,” with my brother [and musical collaborator] Thorald and actor and writer James St. Vincent, also my best mate.

When did you move to the U.S.?


What is your story on getting to and living in the U.S.?

Finished school in Boston and met up with brother and partner in crime, Thorald. We started playing live and making demos and enjoying the energy of the NYC music scene. I was still on a student visa, and I accidentally overstayed. This caused huge problems for me, because if I left I would not be allowed back in, and if I stayed I would not be allowed to work. I stayed.

What are your creative inspirations?

That’s not so easy to put into one answer, really. I love the live moments in music and film, and I would like to get better at commanding those moments in time. It’s gotta be fun, or I’m out.

What is your favorite city in the U.S.?

San Francisco. It looks like Sydney, feels more like NYC and we’ve had some very creative moments there.

What is your favourite restaurant in that city?

The Rondo Brothers studio became our home away from the road in 2009/2010. We would come in for two weeks at a time, and record our favorite cover tunes and enjoyed every moment of it. At the same time, upstairs in the kitchen, Brandon Arnovick [one of said Rondo Brothers], began baking mini cupcakes in his oven. They were so tasty that he now has his own shop there in the Mission.

Name three interesting towns in the U.S. that you have come across while touring with the band.

Minneapolis, Northampton, MA, and Detroit.

Do you have any wild stories from the road?

One story we like to tell is the ‘cop story’. We were pulled over for swerving at midnight, driving to Atlanta on HWY 95. The cop insisted on listening to our music in his cop car with the lights flashing to determine whether or not to give us a ticket. He listened to the first track off our first album, “Rise and Fall,” we gave him a didgeridoo lesson and we got off with a warning! We also cheekily filmed the whole thing and it’s on YouTube.

When you’re not working, what can you be found doing?

Looking for an ocean, watching great movies, going home to Australia, hanging out and humming around NYC with mates…

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In the forest or on top of a building.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“All the world’s a stage.” William Shakespeare.

Who is your mentor or hero?

Nina Simone.

Isaac’s Sauce – A few fellow Swagmen

Jeremy Heimans – entrepreneur: He was a fellow student at Sydney high started in Australia, and has now started a U.S. company to promote mobilization and social entrepreneurship called He was always a mile ahead of his peers, and I’m so happy to see him translate that into relevant projects and social resources.

Rose Byrne - actress: I must admit, I just think there are not many actresses that have her talent and beauty, so I want to see her in more films. She has an amazing list of films and seems very down to earth, maybe too much so for Hollywood?

Heathe St. Claire - restauranteur: He is responsible for the promulgation of Aussie drinking culture and cuisine in NYC with his three Aussie-themed restaurants. I watched him start the Sunburnt Cow from nothing, and find a home in Alphabet City in 2003,  and now he has a successful business for himself.

Isaac’s Slice of Advice

What is your advice to musicians in Australia who want to break into the U.S.?

I would say find out what region of the country would most appreciate their sound, and find a way to do a three-month sojourn with some locals, or make a record there and make it means something. Spending thousands for airfares for a flash in the pan is a waste.

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