Interview with Chris Turpin, from Kill It Kid
An alarm thankfully woke me up in time for an early morning interview with singer Chris Turpin, from Kill It Kid who easily took my early morning interview crown from Ant from Futures. Our chat took place while Kill it Kid were driving to London to take of the business side of music with a day of meetings. ‘Living in Bath it takes us a little while to get over there’ explains Chris.
The band got together in University in Bath but they don’t have a typical university indie band sound, it’s a little bit more grown up.
‘It’s our influences, I guess. I was gigging on my own doing solo pre war acoustic blues, Steph was doing similar on the other side of the scale, Bessie Smith and all the early female blues. We started playing together in different little groups, I was playing behind her in some jazz concerts and she had come to see my shows. Mark saw me at a solo gig and we all decided to get everyone in a room together. That was two and a half years ago, it took a little bit of getting used to because knew early on what we wanted to do. It wasn’t an indie disco band, we didn’t want to chase any trends.
It makes more sense if you want to be a sustainable band to find what you’re most comfortable with, trends change anyway.
‘Yeah, they do. For us it was very clear that we wanted to create a similar sound and intensity as all these early records that we’re in love with, which we left was lacking in popular music and in commercial music in the way we wanted to hear it and that was the entire plan. There was no, ‘Let’s trim this chorus to get it on Radio 2′. That sort of thing never really existed for us, it isn’t why we got together.’
Your first album came out two years ago and ‘Heaven Never Seemed So Close’ would be the track most people would be familiar with. Your second album ‘Feet Fall Heavy’ is here now, what are the differences, how do you think you’ve grown?
‘It’s an entirely different record, it almost feels like a different band, to be honest. It’s just the reality of living and working in the music industry for two years and turning into a family band. You all become siblings which is a bit peculiar after like, the seventeenth day on the road. The main difference is there’s no violin and there’s no acoustic guitars, it’s a much heavier process. Basically the creative process is a little more stringent than the last album, even more focused than album one. We knew we had ten days to do it and we knew we had ten tracks, there wasn’t such a focus on making it perfect, it was trying to capture what we do live on the record, try and sustain that energy.’
So did you record everything live?
‘Pretty much, a track a day for ten days which is very different to the last album which we took nearly a month on in America in a big gigantic studio and it was all very different.’
Are there any little quirks that you guys have when you’re recording?
‘There’s bits and pieces, the main thing that we were doing this time, you’ll hear on the first single that came off the record ‘Pray On Me’, is that we are using Alan Lomax samples. These are 1920’s field recordings from prisoners and preachers from the 1920s and 30’s and all the time when we were recording we were trying to slip these into the record.
That was one way we thought, cos we got pushed into the new folk scene for the last album, we always thought of ourselves as a blues band but in essence I don’t think we really were. This would be one way of bedding in our influences and getting people to join in with what we listen to almost, setting the scene. Throughout the record there’s six different samples of these old preachers.’
Did you stay in the UK for recording this time ?
‘Yeah, we wanted to do the exact opposite to last time, ten days right in Shoreditch in a very English studio in the snow.’
You’ve had a line up change, was all the recording done before the new line up was finalized?
‘We left the violin quite a while ago now, purely because it wasn’t necessary in the type of music we’re playing now and he’s a jazz player at heart and it was really amicable and he just said he wanted to go off and do other things, we whole heartedly agreed that it was a good idea, there was no real issue there.
The old bass player who started the band very closely with me, he was on the record and he was really happy to do it but more with touring and things, people have different ways of working and it just wasn’t holding together in a way that we hoped it would.’
You’re on One Little Indian, I think everyone knows the label name at least, How important do you thing it is to have a good label behind you?
‘Extremely important, we’ve heard so many horror stories from people signing to major labels and being dropped and not being looked after being shelved. With One Little Indian we’ve always felt it was very much a team effort, it’s a group thing. You might not get all the quirks you get with a major label you get an awful more support, you get looked after.’
You guys have already done what 90% of signed bands don’t get to do, put out a second album.
‘(laughs) Well, exactly, Maybe we shouldn’t have been allowed to do that. It’s very true, it’s a tough time to be making music and be a new band but we really have been looked after.’
It seems now that people are almost expecting to get music for free and are more inclined to spend a tenner to go to a gig than buy a CD? Will the CD survive?
‘CDs? No, No, No! My main issue is with things like Spotify and bands who are finding new ways to release things like Radiohead saying ‘ah pay what you want, come download it for free if you want to’. That’s fantastic if for them if you’re Radiohead but in reality you’re devaluing what a lot of young bands are doing and it doesn’t work for us and it’s extremely damaging, I think to our profits and how we’ve worked.’
It’s not even your profits, if this is your full time job, it’s your wages, it’s how you live.
‘Exactly! And also they push you into a corner, when the brands and things come along, adverts and TV and they’re asking you for things, things that you neccessarily want to so, well you need to because you need the money to pay the insurance on the van. It pushes you a weird area.’
I believe your album stock got destroyed in the Sony Warehouse fire in Enfield.
‘Yeah, so we have been told but in reality they album launch day isn’t going to be put back, which is great.’
Because it’s so early I’m going to finish with a few easy peasy questions.. What’s the most rock n’ roll thing you’ve ever done?
‘I swore at a Pizza man accidentally, that’s the most rock n roll thing I’ve ever done. The lift doors were closing thinking no one was in the lift, then the lift door closes and I felt pretty bad.’
Have you a secret about any of the rest of the band you can tell me?
‘Mark is terrified of stickers, crappy little stickers like little apple stickers and that sort of thing, his worse nightmare. I have no idea why, he’s just a bit strange.’
Kill It Kid start their Irish and UK tour in The Academy 2 in Dublin on September 10th. Tickets are 12.50 available from ticketmaster.ie
The new album ‘Feet Fall Heavy’ is out on September 17th. Listen to their new single here: