Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Kills

The Kills
Jamie Hince is a passionate music lover, photographer, and one half of garage-punk outfit The Kills. Since the release of their 2011 fourth studio album Blood Pressures, the duo have been in the process of creating a new record and are currently on their North American summer tour. As part of the tour The Kills will play Toronto’s Field Trip, and we truly couldn’t be more psyched to cover the show. Before hitting the stage this weekend, I had the opportunity of giving Jamie a call to discuss almost losing a finger, experimenting with the new album, shopping on tour, and more — enjoy!

AMBY: Hey Jamie, welcome to AMBY and thanks for speaking with us today. You’re currently in the studio working on your fifth album; how long has the band been working on this new record?

The Kills: It’s hard to say, you know. I’ve had a lot of setbacks and tests in my life [laughs]. We were going to go in and record in January of last year and then something terrible happened.

AMBY: What was that?

The Kills: I had a problem with my left hand from rocking too hard.

AMBY and The Kills: [laughs]

The Kills: I had a hand specialist to check my knuckles and it was one of the most painful things you could ever imagine. Then he was really starting to clear my hand up, but then I slammed my finger in a car door! It all just went really bad… And then I went into the doctor and he injected me with steroids again, which apparently wasn’t a really good thing to do, because my finger then went crazy. I thought, “this can’t be right”, since it was the worst pain in the world. Then I went back in and nearly lost my finger. They had to cut the tendon out of my arm which went from my finger to my elbow, so I couldn’t move my middle finger. I learned to play without that finger, and had to almost re-learn guitar that way, really.

AMBY: Wow. What a pain that must have been.

The Kills: There were a few setbacks! I prefer the way I play now though, more than I did before. That was a bit of a long-winded answer, wasn’t it? [laughs]

AMBY: The more the better. Aside from the setbacks, what’s the experience been like recording everything?

The Kills: I built a studio in my house which is much different; you take that sort of time factor out of things where you don’t have someone from the studio saying “we want to go home now”. I get to work when I want, which I love. I didn’t want to write whole songs, I just wanted to write bits and pieces. I’ve had a great time doing that. Some of the things that we’ve done I just love. I’m really excited about this record.

AMBY: As am I. For the upcoming album, did you try anything new as far as experimenting with new instruments or anything out of your comfort zone?

The Kills: Yea. We’ve always had this idea that it’s really important that it’s just the two of us. On our first record, that’s why we only recorded it on an eight track tape machine because we wanted it to sound exactly like two people. This time around, I just want to make music and not get restricted by just two people, if you know what I mean? Even for us, using a bass on a song is pretty radical. That’s pretty much experimenting.

AMBY and The Kills: [laughs]

The Kills: I’m using lots of echo machines as instruments, so that’s new.

AMBY: Has the band come up with a working title for the album yet?

The Kills: We always do that at the very last minute. The problem is that we’re quite secretive; there’s something about an album that has more power when kept a secret. We don’t really think about things like that until we absolutely have to. We haven’t thought about the title for the album or a title for the songs, really.

AMBY: You recently announced a bunch of summer tour dates and will be playing Toronto’s Field Trip soon. Will you be playing any new material from the upcoming record on this tour, or will you be keeping things a secret?

The Kills: It’s difficult because we have a drum machine and would have to program everything, but we’ve been rehearsing songs that we started playing. It sounded really good so we might try and play that. It’s a real pain in the ass, getting music ready for a live setting…

AMBY: As far as being on the road goes, what are some things you and Alison like to do for fun while touring?

The Kills: Shopping. I like to go clothes shopping, camera shopping, and guitar shopping. Other than that, I just concentrate on the gig, really. Otherwise I just end up drinking too much. I like buying things that might inspire me like an amp, guitar, or camera… Maybe a hat?

AMBY: [laughs] You also announced a bunch of new opening slots for bands like Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Keys, along with Arctic Monkeys. All pretty massive names, but who would your ultimate tour be with?

The Kills: Queens of the Stone Age, I’d say they’re probably my ultimate band to tour with. But, we’ve toured with them already so…

AMBY: Ah, well that doesn’t really count then!

The Kills: [laughs] Okay, I’d like to tour with Jay-Z. Get him to help me out with some drum beats. I wouldn’t want to do anything obvious, I’d like to play with someone who would be a unique challenge.

AMBY: A unique collaboration.

The Kills: Yes.

AMBY: For the last question of our interview, what’s the best part of being in The Kills?

The Kills: I get to go on the road with my best friend. I get to do it every day. And I get to spend money on guitars! It’s my job and it’s my passion and it’s just fantastic that I can spend my wages on what I love.

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Thank you The Kills, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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