Jamie Hince and his musical partner Alison Mosshart believe that your art is something you live, rather than something you merely do. Therefore, the conventional approach to recording an album -...Expand
Jamie Hince and his musical partner Alison Mosshart believe that your art is something you live, rather than something you merely do. Therefore, the conventional approach to recording an album - write some songs a bit like your last songs, book flashy studio and ear candy-providing producer, be professional and get home in time for tea - is not an option for them. The Kills make music that sounds like the stripped-to-the-bone nub of the crux of the sex and death and madness at the heart of the very best rock 'n' roll. And the only way to pull that off is to put themselves through the creative, physical, financial and emotional mangle. "It was definitely a journey," confirms Alison, with the sanguine air of one who believes that anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. "We wrote so many records before we got to this one. It took a few failed attempts and different situations and going to different places and running out of money in order for us to get it together and write the right record."
The Kills formed in 2000 when a boy from Andover, England and a girl from Florida, USA met in a South London hotel. "It was like we'd lived parallel lives", Jamie recalls. Both had been to art college, the boy had just left a punk-pop band called Scarfo and the girl wanted to leave a punk-pop band called Discount, and both were disillusioned with the musical scenes they were part of. "We had these bedrooms on different sides of the Atlantic which were full of artworks and films and music that we'd made for no-one to listen to. We had so many things in common. It was at a time that if you spent a lot of time making art and dressing up you got beaten down for being pretentious. Everything was about being down to earth. And we both just felt this relief when we met each other."
So, in light of that, is Midnight Boom, which has some goddam catchy tunes and features the beat-making skills of SpankRock producer Alex Epton aka Armani XXXchange, a conscious attempt to make a more commercial record? "Absolutely not," responds Jamie, with something approaching horror in his voice. "We were just enjoying ourselves. I know we're seen as dark, brooding, twisted and semi-gothic - but we've never felt like that. Midnight Boom is more in keeping with what me and Alison were doing when we first met. More tongue-in-cheek and less conceptual. People do tell me that Midnight Boom is more accessible. But the way I was brought up in music, words like accessible and commercial are still insults to me. Ha!"
Midnight Boom is a reminder that no-one makes erotically-charged rock 'n' roll like The Kills. Even though they have never been romantically linked. Perhaps people wouldn't believe their platonic relationship because Kills songs seem to drip with themes of hedonistic sexual freedom. Or maybe not having sex is the secret to the perfect sensual-musical marriage. "We're aware that that's how it comes across,' Jamie concedes. 'We get so many comments about the live shows, about it being sexually tense and sexually charged. But, honestly that just came out of nerves! When there's two people onstage of different genders, and you're scared to death and don't want to look at the audience so you stare at each other instead, that's just how it comes out."
"The first album was the most honest record ever. We had nothing to lose. The second album was an experiment borne out of frustration. It was written and recorded in a month, a crazy idea. Midnight Boom is a journey where you don't think about anything you've done before and everything just falls out of you. We're very proud of it."- Alison Mosshart