Kill Moon may have been birthed from the ashes of What’s Your Vice?, but it’s channelling an altogether different kind of energy. I sat down with one of the most entertaining live bands on the Brighton scene to talk about how they’re planning to bring ‘Dirty Noise Pop’ to your attention. If their successful endeavours with previous musical outfits are anything to go by, Kill Moon will soon be injecting their expansive, and strangely ethereal, sound straight into the calm centre of your brain, filling it with glorious fire.
Izzy, Chris and Tommy picked a Brighton pub in the North Laine, The White Rabbit, to sit down and tell me about their latest musical toil. We nestled on one of the picnic tables that furnish the small square of smoker’s concrete, surrounded by quiet afternoon patrons and a grey, wet afternoon of April showers.
Although I hadn’t seen it at the time, the seeds for the new project had already been sown in the fertile ground of their last band. In the Audible Thoughts review of one of their last gigs, I’d noticed the change in pace, from an explosive burst of repressed energy to something similar, yet contemplative and planned. The notoriety they’d already achieved for tempestuous live shows and turbulent song writing had shown no signs of decelerating, but it seems there were a few creative itches they just had to scratch.
Tommy gave a short explanation for the change in direction: “We felt like we needed to move on from it, like we’d got ourselves in a little box.”
Izzy: “Democratic, that’s a word we use a lot. This is definitely a democracy. We vote on everything.”
Tommy: “Whenever Izzy doesn’t agree with something we do, yeah” (laughs).
So… why Brighton?
Tommy: “I fancied the scene, the music down here – and being close to London. I wanted a change after living in Glasgow, which I love, but I fancied a change.”
Izzy: “I sort of landed here, and fell in love with it. I originally went to London, but events landed me here…I think people are very quick to speak negatively about other bands in Brighton. Yesterday, I saw one of my friend’s bands, The Witches. I was sat with everyone after, and realised we have a massive group of talented musicians here. I’m one of those people who feed off the environment, and if there’s really talented people around you…then, you know, it gets me excited when I see bands who are really good. Some of the Brighton scene is really pretentious, which is kind of inevitable and it’s got a reputation for that. We try to steer away from it and focus on people uniquely into their own sound.”
Chris and Tommy recorded the new EP in their bedroom studio, I asked them about the process of song writing and committing the sounds to tape.
Chris: “We’re in our own little bubble at the moment. We haven’t played a proper show in about 6 months. We’ve just been in a little writing cave.”
Tommy: “From a creative point of view, it’s great. We can literally do what we want. You can add as many guitars as you like. If we want to put Morse code in something, we can just, do it, without having someone else produce. [Home recording] obviously has its drawbacks as well, because outside influence is normally a good thing, but with where we’re at now it’s good to learn exactly what we want, and how we want the record to sound so that when we start working with other people we’ll have more focus.”
Your music seems to have slowed down, broadened somehow…
Chris: “We’ve experimented more, we’ve broadened our horizons…”
Izzy: “There’re no limits”
Chris: “Before, we kind of had a little framework and everything came out of the air in the studio, we found it quite counter-productive sometimes. With this stuff, we’ve stripped it all back – acoustic guitars and vocals, that’s how we start our writing now. Then we kind of develop it while we record, and we’ve found the production side of it as creative as the songwriting stage… if not more.”
Izzy: “We’re still learning together.”
Chris: “Yeah, I mean the songs don’t come into being until they’re finished recording nowadays. With the recent ones, like Jupiter for example, I wrote the last guitar parts after recording it. Literally everything was done apart from the guitars. It kind of came to life when we finished recorded it.”
Izzy: “Lyrically, its a very…raw…thing. I’m being much more fearless with these new songs. Trying to say things that I really feel. Sometimes its a bit embarrassing, if I feel a certain way, or ashamed of something. I’ve learnt, with these guys encouraging me, that those are the sorts of things to write. When you write about something real to you, if it’s so deep inside that its uncomfortable, that’s ok.”
“All of us contribute guitar lines, but we normally like to write around themes. So ‘Jupiter’ is that atmosphere of space – its that universal thing, you know? It’s a bit more metaphorical, but I tend to write more literally. ‘Home’ is a tribute to what we’ve been going through these last three years. Lots of people interpret it as a love song, but it’s about us.”
Can you explain a bit more?
“I wanted people to put it into a heartbreak context, but this EP is probably the least heartbreak one we’ve written, but I have to really mean it. It’s not just throwaway sentences. It’s just drawing those things out of you that you’re not necessarily comfortable with at first.”
Tommy: “The other difference is [in their last project] I think we wrote everything with live in mind – we were trying hard not to overcomplicate it and stuff, whereas now we’re kind of seeing them more as two different things completely. So we’re just doing whatever we want with the record right now, then thinking about it later.”
Listening to the EP, the band’s new sense of the time they have to write and record, and the contemplative nature of their art as a result is obvious. Their newfound appreciation for the idea of space and their confidence with expanding a moment in time into a composition idea penetrates their approach to music. However, while the heart of this new beast beats slower, the burnt ashes of its predecessor still colour the band’s plans for their live shows.
Chris: “You know what we’re like, it’s always gonna be pretty…action packed.”
Izzy: “The show never finishes really.”
Photo Credit: Irina Lily Bondar Photography, Alice Stevens Makeup: facebook.com/alicemakeup, Style Demeanor Styling