THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Monday, April 5, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH THE KIARA ELLES
It was love at first sight. Nope, I’m not going to annoy you with one of my many lovestories which are far from exciting, mind you, but I’m going to introduce you to a band from whom I know they will be big. If you don’t believe me then perhaps you’ll believe Steve Lamacq. Soon their debutalbum will be on the streets but here in full premiere you can read an interview with a band from whom you’ll say at the end of the year : we first read it in The Original Sin! Let’s hope it for The Kiara Elles. How do they sound like? A honest answer would be : ‘Listen yourself!’ but as God told me to play the role of a DIY-journalist I say that they’re like The Passions, Au Pairs, Delta 5, Penetration… Post-punk yup but added with the glamour of both Kenickie and Bis. Glam post-punk? Look ma, I created a term!
HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC THEN?
JONNY : : Hello I am Jonny, Guitarist with The Kiara Elles, I'm the only member who actually comes from Leeds. I like making unusual noises with guitars to get inside your skin... in a nice way of course. Thats my introduction anyway. In complete contrast to this answer I am giving you up to this point I think our music is sharp, snappy, straight to the point and makes you feel alive :) Chiara will deliver the answer much clearer she is the orator of the band!
CHIARA : I will say “ALTERNATIVE”…. I know it means a lot and involves a lot of different shades, but chances are you’ll find a bit of them all throughout our album. From dark to quirky, from punky to electro, from raw to dancey, it’s all in there.
LET’S START WITH A VERY STUPID QUESTION….WHY NAME THE KIARA ELLES?
CHIARA : It’s less stupid than you think and the answer is painfully boring I’m afraid. I came over from Italy with a bundle of songs that I wanted to start performing live and needed a backing band for it. My name is Chiara Lucchini so I decided to call the whole bunch The Chiara L’s originally…then we became a proper band writing stuff together etc…but couldn’t find a better name, the sound of The Chiara L’s was really starting to stick so we just changed it to a more phonetical spelling.
JONNY : Actually... its because it sounds like a drink that you get in the UK that was “too orangey for crows” but with an “A” and not an “O”. Its The story of “A” (would make a great sequel! I liked the first film.)
WHEN HEARING YOUR MUSIC, I IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT OF STUFF LIKE COMET GAIN OR KENICKIE, BUT ALSO 80’S POST PUNK BANDS LIKE AU PAIRS OR DELTA 5, WERE THESE TYPE OF BANDS AN INFLUENCE?
CHIARA : Well I must say you have totally hit the spot there. I can’t say the 90es are a very big influence, while late 70es and the 80es sure are. Bands such as ESG, Gang of 4, Delta 5, Mo-Dettes, PIL etc are definitely amongst our favorites and greatly inspirational to us.
EMMA : Yeah much spot on in terms of genre. Chiara and myself both like heaps of 80s darkwave, post punk, electro and the likes but we all just do what comes natural to us rather than try to over engineer a particular style.
JONNY :I definitely listened to plenty of early Kenickie as they were one of the first bands I heard in my youth but I would not say that goes for all of us or that it had a massive effect, we have diverse tastes and it shows in our sound, I like anything that has a hook, both on the light side or dark side. I am also a massive massive Cocteau Twins fan and you cant get more light and dark than them I like economical and inventive guitarists people like Robin Guthrie and John McGeoch :)
WHICH BRINGS US TO LEEDS, THE CITY OF DARK GOTH…. HAS THAT SLIPPED THROUGH YOUR MUSIC AS I TEND TO HEAR SOME DARK ELECTRO POP AS WELL……
EMMA : A tendandancy to dress in black could have something to do with it...
CHIARA : Sure thing, when I say 80es, the darker side is equally if not more important to me, Cure, Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Jesus and Mary Chain, all that lot are bands that I truly love since being much younger. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a goth inside. I think you can definitely hear the darkness slipping through.
JONNY : I remember seeing all the goths in the park near the Merrion Centre in Leeds as a toddler, its now full of bankers and suits on their lunch breaks. I like dark electro pop and Leeds had some spectacularly great goth bands such as Sisters of Mercy and Salvation. In terms of dark electro I veer much more towards Depeche Mode I think, especially when you hear a guitar part like the one in “Enjoy The Silence”. That riff is made of black silk for sure.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY IT’S ONLY NOW THAT 80’S MUSIC IS ACTUALLY SEEN AS GOOD…. I MEAN SAY TEN YEARS AGO THAT THE 80’S HAD GOOD MUSIC AND IF YOU ENJOYED IT THEN YOU WERE SEEN AS THE NERD OF THE BUNCH!!!!!
JONNY : There is a saying in Britain that music tastes and trends goes in 14 to 20 year cycles so that probably explains a lot of it, especially when 14 is the sort of age music really starts to engross itself in your life, it did for me anyway so in 2000 it was probably just at a low fertility point of its cycle in a lot of peoples tastes.
(HOPE IT’S A FALSE THING AS I DON’T WANNA SEE NICKELBACK BACK OR BUSH BACK !, ED.)
CHIARA : I personally think it’s something that happens to every decade. Sometimes you’ve got to live outside a decade to actually understand what happen and appreciate his positives. A bit like looking at the sea from a beach and then watching a satellite image of the earth, it’s a totally different prospective and shows things you couldn’t see or understand before.
EMMA : Simple. Morrissey is the answer. No right minded person (or even Amy) can argue the genius of The Smiths!
THE BAND HAVE NOW RELEASED THEIR DEBUT ALBUM “SLIDE OVER”. WAS IT A LONG STRUGGLE OR DID EVERYTHING CAME QUITE EASILY?
CHIARA : Everything really good is normally the fruit of some hard work, nothing comes for free… I wouldn’t use the word struggle in the sense that it was a positive experience all around, but it did take hard work to do it right yes.
JONNY : It’s been a mixture of both, the music came very easily and improved as we honed our craft and learnt from the right people, getting it out there is always the struggle for any band but if you turn the struggle into a challenge and are up to facing it head on, whilst your willing to take a few shots on the way if you are good enough then you will live and die by your own sword.
EMMA : Yeah it's not easy fitting it all around a very anti rock and roll alter ego 9-5 existence. We we're all getting together and literally writing and recordings two or so songs every couple of months in cycles until the we album was born (whilst treating ourselves to the odd gig here or there!). Exhausting but we're proud parents!
A DEBUT ALBUM IS QUITE IMPORTANT…I MEAN IF YOU BLEW IT THERE, YOU CAN BLEW IT FOREVER. NERVOUS?
EMMA : Sure it could makes you permanently cross eyed and cause a deep set nervous breakdown if think about it too much but doing what you love has a strangely calming effect.
JONNY : Not really just happy to have made an album that is worthy of getting out there and pushing it on, whatever happens I am proud of this album and the people involved in making it ,knowing what it has taken for us to make it, life is a litter tray of opinions and one persons comfy haven is always another persons cat shit. Either way people are entitled to an opinion and if blowing it meant the album still sounded great to us as far as the band are concerned I would just have to put it down to a difference of opinion. I'm an eternal optimist though and I think most people will enjoy the statement and sounds we have made.
CHIARA : Absolutely, chessera’ sera’ though…whatever happens, I will have no remorse, I always did what felt right all the time.
I HOPE FOR YOU IT NEVER HAPPENS, BUT MANY GROUPS DO HAVE A FRESH SOUND IF THEY START (THINK OF KENICKIE!) BUT 2 ALBUMS AND 5 SINGLES LATER YOU CAN’T HEAR THE ORIGINAL SOUND. HOW COME YOU THINK AND HOW CAN YOU DEFEND THE KIARA ELLES FROM IT?
JONNY :By being vigilant and sticking to playing to the strengths of the music and sounds we like not the things people think we should sound like, obviously this will evolve with time too but by being true to ourselves I think it’s quite easy really.
EMMA : We've definitely got a recognizable sound of our own but I think the album does show a fair few sides to us. I don't think any of us are in this to ferment and wallow with tried and tested formulas, we're here to do what's makes us happy and develop. I don't think that dictates the need to compromise identity.
CHIARA : If it comes to put another 5 singles and a second album out I’ll tell you ;)
I’M SURE I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE, BUT ANYONE WHO LOOKS AT YOUR FRONTWOMAN CHIARA SEES IN HER THE PERFECT POPSTAR…SO TELL US, CHIARA, DO YOU WANT TO HAVE YOUR FACE ON POSTERS IN BEDROOMS OR NOT?
CHIARA : Errrr, I am flattered and surprised you say that thank you. Of course it would be nice in the sense that it would probably mean we have made it and people idolize us….but it would be pretty sad if the only reason behind it were somebody’s looks. I mean, we’re no Girls Aloud and being on somebody’s wall it’s certainly not the reason why I make music…sure it wouldn’t hurt though if it’s for the right reasons and shows a character
I UNDERSTOOD YOU GOT THE SUPPORT FROM STEVE LAMACQ, IS THAT IMPORTANT SUCH HELP OR IS IT JUST NAMEDROPPING?
CHIARA : Any support from Radio DJs is massive help to any band these days. Just getting one spin from such a cool famous DJ with such vast music knowledge and great taste as Steve Lamacq, is sure to be considered a honor, especially with the amount of demos and promos they get sent everyday. It is pretty special not just namedropping
JONNY :I think its very important the plays we got on the show from Steve and Other respected DJ's have only helped further the word of the band, this can only ever be a good thing.
EMMA : Steve's a good man indeed and it's great to have his support. Now If we could just get Tim Westwood to 'drop the bomb' that would really be something.
YEARS AGO, BRITISH BAND HAD THE PROBLEM THAT THEY ONLY COULD MAKE IT IF THEY WERE PICKED UP BY MELODY MAKER, NOW NEW BANDS MUST HOPE TO BE PICKED OUT OF THE BIG MASSES OF ALL BANDS WHO ARE PROMOTING THEMSELVES ON THE NET. WHAT’S BEST YOU THINK?
JONNY : I think you need a bit of both, word on the street will always be the best publicity more than anything else and if people see you in a magazine or someone tells you about this great band they have seen on the net it only increases the spreading of it. Its a Win Win situation.
CHIARA : Promoting yourself online is an essential added tool, but you still need to be “picked up” by some “big” magazine, website or radio station or you won’t go far unfortunately, same stuff, just different format if you ask me.
EMMA : Bands used to seem so distant and god-like, you couldn't help but hero worship. I think it sad some of that has gone out of music now but then being one click away from discovering a new band or artists can never be a bad thing, can it? Just back it up with a (legal) purchase kids!!
IN FACT, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE MUSICINDUSTRY AS IT IS TODAY?
EMMA : Meh. Yep, that about sums It up.
CHIARA : It’s a mess and musicians are pretty much a desperate breed…there is no money in it, that’s a sad fact.
JONNY : Its changing so fast its hard to tell if music is actually still an industry. Its like a chameleon!
HOW DIFFICULT IT MIGHT BE TO ANSWER….WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO ACHIEVE WITH YOUR MUSIC?
JONNY :As much as humanly possible without spontaneously combusting.
CHIARA : Being able to keep doing the only thing that makes me truly happy even if only on the side.
EMMA :Just what every other band wants really...world peace of course. A regular supply of beer and bacon frazzles would nice too.
CONFESS US SOMETHING….WHAT’S THE MOST ROCK ‘N ROLL-THING YOU DID IN YOUR LIFE?
EMMA : I once went to bed and left the telly and the big light on all night! Oh and there was that one time when I bit the head off a gerbil...
JONNY : I've done a few things, mainly involving being extremely paralytic and losing bits of my clothes, I also sleepwalk which can cause many eccentric episodes but at least it gives me a good excuse, not always intentional and I can hardly ever quite remember but the other members of the band will have a better recollection so ask them I think.
CHIARA : pass, my mum may read this….
DOES YOUR MUM READ THE ORIGINAL SIN? LAST QUESTIONS ARE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK, I CALL IT THE TRADITIONAL ORIGINAL SIN-QUESTIONS… WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY?
CHIARA : Also pass, too many to reduce it down to one, sorry mate
EMMA : Overall? Hmmm, I don’t know which, Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures or Nirvana - Bleach? Both deeply amazing debuts and records i just always go back to.
JONNY : Back To The Old House by The Smiths, the acoustic version, its the only piece of music I know I would never ever be able to turn off once it begins whatever the moment.
WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?
EMMA : A whole 8 hours? Sting and a baraclava could be highly shameful fun.
CHIARA : Many people, but for the fun factor (8 hours can be hard to kill for anybody) I’ll say Julian Barratt. I would probably just talk to him and be amused most of the time, but since I find him weirdly attractive in a way, I would also keep the two of us occupied doing other things that I cannot really say here…
JONNY : My Girlfriend, what would you do?!!
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE KIARA ELLES IN THE FUTURE?
CHIARA : lots more noise!!
JONNY : As much interesting music as humanly possible, and then some.
Feel like we we're just getting warmed up and into the writing process with Slide Over. Expect sharp and glistening teeth to follow!
DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS?
CHIARA : I love you xxxxxx
JONNY : p.s. If you petition some good promoters in Brussels, Brugge, Ghent or Genk or anywhere in Belgium to pay for us a (flight or a ferry) to do a tour in your fine land then you can all take it in turns at giving me some love bites and eating my brain in a hannible lector / paul krendler style chinese meal.
EQ: Keep it foolish!
CHECK THEM OUT, YOU MUST, IF IT’S THE ONLY THING THAT THERE’S LEFT TO DO on http://www.myspace.com/thekiaraelles