THE KILLS INTERVIEW

February 12, 2020 11:31 PM

THE KILLS INTERVIEW

Chaotic chords continue to erupt, going on ten years of satisfaction. 

“ROCK N’ ROLL IS ALWAYS SUPPOSE TO BE AN EXPLOSION.” -JH 

Ten years is a long time for a band to exist. And for a group as unpredictable as The Kills, a de- cade might feel as long as the Rolling Stones’ ca- reer. Since the early 2000s, the band has released albums revolving around tension and dark en- ergy, and their live shows are no different. Alison Mosshart stalks around stage, alternately whis- pering and howling, while guitarist and singer Jamie Hince forces pop squalls out of his guitar. Meanwhile, songs are barely held together by a chaotic drum machine, with melodies consistently threatening to spill over the song’s edges.Dream and Drive, a photo book by Kenneth Cappello, documenting nine years of the band, captures the music’s scantly controlled chaos perfectly. TWELV sat down with the band to discuss its longevity and the new record. 

The theme of this issue is transformation. Ten years in, what are your thoughts on the longevity of the Kills?

JH: Rock ’n’ roll is always supposed to be an explosion; it’s certainly not supposed to be planned for ten years, or thought out, as to how to keep it going. It’s supposed to be this explo- sion that dies out, but what happens in real life is that you find yourself still doing it with a vengeance after ten years. I don’t want to keep thinking on how we’ll carry on; I want it to ex- plode again, and hopefully, in ten years, we’ll get together and laugh about how we thought it wouldn’t last another ten years. 

Jamie, you mentioned that you like to settle on a particular drum sound for each Kills album, whether it’s the live drum loops from your debut, or the MPC you used on Blood Pres- sures. Have you settled on a new drum sound yet? 

JH: I’ve always wanted to be a band that changes, to be on a journey. It’s an instinct to not settle on something. In my mind, I really wanted to do this lineup of four drummers, but now that we’ve done it, I don’t want to carry on doing it. I want to find the next thing to do. I don’t know why my mind works like that, because I love bands that roll out the same stuff sometimes, instead of reinventing themselves... 

Mick Jagger famously said that he didn’t want to play “Satis- faction” past age 40.

AM: Well, he still is! JH: What else could he do? 

Black Bananas has been opening for you this tour, so I wanted to ask about Jennifer Herrema’s influence on the Kills, as well as the influence of her former band, Royal Trux.

JH: Royal Trux was massive for me. One of my favorite bands—just brilliant. I just like the story, really. They always just seemed like this invincible two-piece, doing these incred- ible records. “Accelerator” is this amazing rock/pop record, and they could just flip it with something like “Twin Infini- tives,” and just not give a flying fuck. It’s hard to judge an influence on your band, but they were definitely in my mind when we first started the Kills.We actually did a single with [former Royal Trux frontman] Neil Hagerty, really early on. It was a version of “Fuck the People” with him playing an electric shaver solo! It’s unreleased, actually; don’t know what happened to it! (laughs) 

I know that your release schedule is more spread out in 2012. The Beatles were releasing music every year, but these days, la- bels want you to release an album every three years...

AM: In a way, it’s old-fashioned that that’s the living you make, traveling around and playing for people. It’s honest in a way. But that does get in the way of sitting down and writing and recording sometimes. I think, back in the ‘70s, there weren’t that many venues or countries where you could easily slip in and out and tour, and certainly not as many music festivals. There are literally thousands now, everywhere. Every weird city has its own festival. It’s wild. Just doing those alone, you could spend three years. It’s crazy. People still want to see live music, and that hasn’t gone away. 

Is there a certain atmosphere you enjoy playing in? Clubs ver- sus festivals? Daytime versus nighttime?

AM: I don’t prefer playing in the daytime, ever. I don’t think that’s conducive to any sort of mystery or beauty. It’s not my thing. But I do like playing festivals—just at night. The audience is a massive factor. It could be anywhere and still be great. 

I noticed, in your recent sets, that you’re still playing songs from your first album.

JH: I think a band that has hits is going to have these waves, with a whole new audience of people, and then another hit, and so on...We’ve slogged around the world for ten years play- ing our music, so we really got people on board from doing that, from playing every city in the world. So when we do shows, we do have to take into account that different genera- tions of people come on board at different times. We never play a show where everyone wants to hear our “hit,” and thank God for that! ∞ 

 

From left to right JAMIE: Jacket SOUTH PARADISO.ALISON: Jacket EQUIPMENT. T-shirt BESS NYC. Necklace ANNELISE MICHELSON, PROJECT 9.

 

WRITTEN BY GARY CANINO 

PHOTOGRAPHY CHEK WU

STYLING HISSA IGARASHI. 

HAIR REBECCA PLYMATE USING LEONOR GREYL @ SEE MANAGEMENT.

MAKEUP TAMAH K @ SEE MANAGEMENT USING KOH GEN DO COSMETICS. 

PRODUCTION, CASTING MARBLES & MARBLES : SHERRY WANG. 

EDITED BY ERINA NAKAZAWA

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