Hot Interview Alert: Natalia Kills
It's been a while but I'm back and in a big way! This past week, I had the EXTREME pleasure of speaking with singer/songwriter/producer and director Natalia Kills the day before her SECOND live show in New York. Natalia was promoting her appearance in the Pop Justice + High Rise Official CMJ Showcase Presented by TOKION Factory & Onitsuka Tiger and took some time to answer some of my questions.
Before the 24-year old Brit releases her debut album early next year, Natalia Kills has plans to put out a remix EP for her new single "Mirrors." The infectious single was co-written by Kills and written/produced by Akon, Giorgio Tuinfort and Cherry Cherry Boom Boom. "Mirrors" has been remixed by Sketch Iz Dead, Doctor Rosen, Moto Blanco and Purple Crush for a four track remix EP, out digitally on November 2nd via Interscope/Cherrytree Records. As if a new single and album wasn't enough, Natalia is also going on tour in the US next month, opening for Swedish electro-pop superstar (and label-mate) Robyn, not to mention working on a second series of her provocative web series, Love Kills xx. Talk about ending the year with a BANG! Now without further ado, check out my interview with this talented lady below the cut.
Natalia! Hi! Thank you so much for talking me today. How are you doing?
I’m great! I’m wonderful, thank you. I was expecting your call.
Oh! Good good good. Before I start talking about your new album…which I am SO excited about, I wanted to ask you how pumped you are for being part of the High Rise + Pop Justice Showcase tomorrow night.
I’m really excited. I’m extremely excited. You know, actually I did one show in New York at this place called ‘The Box’ which was… so interesting. It was very provocative and a wonderful place to be. So this will actually be my next show in New York since then so I’m just really excited to be performing here again. I feel like the crowd here really knows what good music is and they’re very responsive, so I’m excited.
Oh yeah, I can’t imagine. This album has been such a labor of love for you, it sounds like, from everything I’ve read so it must be such an amazing feeling to be able to perform it live in it’s entirety. I can’t imagine how excited you must be.
Yeah! I’m excited. Just for everything, really…and I’m excited to be here. I’m in New York, it’s one of my favorite cities, and I think it’s going to be really great.
I wanted to ask you about your live set. How would you describe the live show? I know a lot of artists, when they’re doing their music live, they like to ad lib and you know, change up the arrangements of songs—how do you do it? Do you like to just read from the script or do you like to change things up as you go?
Well my show is not necessarily about the format; it’s more about the world that I live in and inviting people into it. Kind of my entire lifelong dream, you know…when I was a little girl, I knew what I wanted to be. It wasn’t necessarily a princess or a pageant winner or anything like that…I actually wanted to be in a bad bitch girl gang…you know…breaking hearts, breaking legs…breaking everything really.
(Laughter) so anyway my live show is more about the embodiment of that. It’s basically making all of my dreams come true in a very hedonistic way on stage and inviting people to basically enjoy that and the sensation that goes along with it too.
Do you plan on doing costume changes or are you going to pick one fabulous outfit and just wear it the entire set?
Well, you can actually see on the internet, what I’ve been doing so far…have you ever seen Sin City, the film?
And you know Rosario Dawson is the queen of kind of a crew of hit girls—they’re like hit men, but they’re girls? And they’re hookin’ up as well which is even MORE awesome. Well, that’s kind of what I’ve been exploring in my live show. I have some wonderful dancers and I’ve kind of dressed them up as my hit girls—we come out in trench coats and we have weapons…and I’m the queen of it all…
Of course you are.
…you know, I’m the gang leader. There’s a section of my website, NataliaKills.com, where you actually just see a photo blog from the live show, so if you want to have a look…but that’s basically what it is. Of course my show will keep evolving from there…and the bits in it at the moment, like “ooh, why has she got an axe?.…and "Oh! She's almost naked masturbating at this point...what is she doing?” It will all eventually will make sense. At the moment, just for people to have the clues and the pieces of the puzzle…drawing people in and being discovered is really what it’s all about. It’ll develop further but I can’t explain what it’s going to be cos I don’t want to ruin the surprise…
Oh yeah! That’s so exciting. Any official word yet on when the album’s coming out? Is it still before the end of the year or is it going to be in the New Year?
Yeah, actually, the beginning of the New Year. Everything’s finished. We’re just building the project and letting people discover it for themselves instead of kind of throwing it into people’s faces: “HERE’S AN ALBUM! YOU MUST BUY IT IMMEDIATELY!” I believe the world revolves around desire and I’d really like to build up a desire, a necessity for my music to exist within so that it has a purpose immediately, rather than just being left floating around for people to like or not like.
That’s a smart way to think about it. Do you know if “Love Is A Suicide” is still going to be the next single, or was that just a rumor?
That’s a rumor, but I hope it’s true too. I really do. I mean, the public decides because when the album comes out, whichever is the most chosen song is usually the most immediate thing to go with. So it’s really up to everyone else but I do love it, it’s one of my favorite songs that I wrote.
I really can’t wait to hear the whole thing, I really can’t. It’s definitely one of my most anticipated albums of…I guess of the New Year!
I really can’t wait.
I’m in that whole thing too, though because I’m in like this kind of anticipation of people hearing it and seeing how people respond to it. I really want to share the joy and the passion I put into making the music and writing the songs with everyone else…so same for me! You know, if it were up to me I’d just put it all out there right now and be like “TAH-DAH!”
I’m sure it must feel great hearing all the buzz that you’re getting—you’re getting so much good buzz, especially on the blogs and on Twitter. It’s exploding! The internet’s exploding with Natalia Kills so this must be a really good feeling for you.
Thank you! It’s really wonderful to be discovered. I’m really enjoying it at the moment. Just for people to make up their own opinion of me. All of the visuals and all of the songs are my own little creations, so for me to directly show the world the “me” that I really want them to see, and for them to really make their mind up about it. It’s just the most pure and honest way of people enjoying my music and also creating an opinion and a judgment. I just think it’s really wonderful that people are having a positive response and that it’s just building…so I’m excited. I’m really excited.
I have to be honest…I just watched your little web series, Love Kills, from beginning to end last night and in watching that PLUS the video that’s come out so far for “Zombie” and the teaser of the “Mirrors” video… it seems as if you’re quite the storyteller. How would you describe the story your album tells?
My album is called Perfectionist, and it’s actually quite the contrary of what people think. It’s nothing to do with perfection. It’s about all of the crap that could possibly happen and how you celebrate your way through the obstacles to find the perfect way to deal with broken hearts and betrayal and being broke and struggling and trying to make it and seeing all of these wonderful things happen in front of you for everyone else and waiting for your time to come. It’s really about that and not about having the perfect life. And it’s about discovering your own version of perfection. You know, mine isn’t to be rich or to be famous…it’s to be happy. And I feel like a lot of songs are quite skirting around the issue at the moment. It’s all about out in clubs and waking up the next day, and I really want to be confrontational in my music so that I wasn’t skirting around the issue. I wanted people to have a sense of celebration through problems…through broken hearts…through horrible things happening to you, like losing someone and missing someone and someone dying. I wanted people to be able to dance through that and celebrate through that not dance when I’m singing about being in a night club, or dance when I’m singing about “SHAKING YOUR BOOTY” and all that, which is fine in its own context but I wanted to have something out there for people with emotions to really be able to celebrate…not just people who were drunk to be able to celebrate, and that’s really what it’s about.
And “The Exhibitionist” is going to sort of be the visual companion to the album? Is that correct?
Yeah! Absolutely. God, I’m so excited for people to see that! I’m so excited just because if people are responding to the darkness and the weirdness right now, I can’t wait for them to see the evolution of it and everything I’ve been working on…and I take my time working on things! You know…me and my camera, and I have this small team…I work with this incredible French director, his name is G (Guillaume Doubet), and I work with this amazing English visual creator, his name is Jam [Sutton]. And you know, it’s just a little team of ours, and we sit down around my breakfast table and think about how to really…everything we’re excited by to explode into other people’s minds, for them to feel creative and inspired. So it’s really exciting for people to see the films, and the episodes and everything.
Is the film going to be coming out at the same time as the album or is it going to come out before?
Yeah, I really hope it does. It’s one of those things where I’ll test the waters…there’ll be a preview, you know, we’ll see how it goes online. Maybe there’ll be like a deluxe packaging? You know I have a second series of the show, Love Kills, you know I’m halfway through it right now. I got the first five episodes and I’m waiting to finish it for people to see it one 10 week slot and there should be a way for people to have that on their own laptop in their own living room, so…we’ll see I suppose. As long as people have access to it, I’m happy. I just want to share my creativity with people so that they might feel creative too.
And we want to see it. We definitely do. Do you have time for a couple more questions?
I think I have time for one more…yeah…one more…
I have so much respect for you as an artist. From everything I’ve read and heard about you, you’re 100% invested in every single aspect of the project…from the writing and producing of the songs to the directing of the videos…that seems like a rare thing today in the music industry. A new artist isn’t typically given so much creative control…why do you think you’ve been able to do all of this on your own without so much guidance? Is it the label? Is it the people that you work with that have so much trust and faith in you?
Wow. What an amazing question! Wow, I’ve never ever been asked that before. What a wonderful question. Well, you know, it’s interesting. I’m signed to the part in Interscope Records, Cherrytree Records, and they only really develop artists…people that write their own songs, or direct their own visual or do their own fashion or produce their own beats. And really, they find a way for you to become commercial so I can’t really take credit for any genius or say I would deny that I’ve been denied a certain amount of creative control…it’s just that they’ve given the opportunity that unlike most people with this amount of creativity, I don’t have to be indie…I don’t have to be underground I don’t have to be an esoteric rock band that’s only heard by five people before I disappear. They give you the opportunity like Robyn, and La Roux, and Lady Gaga…
And Ellie Goulding!
…YES! Exactly…to really have the chance - AND FAR EAST MOVEMENT - to explode into a more mainstream environment, because they believe in me so much that they don’t believe that you should suppress a really creative project. You should call it pop and brand it pop, whether it’s traditional pop or not…if the song is good…it should be given the chance to be popular and only the public decide if it’s gonna be popular and they give you the opportunity for the public to really hear it and decide. I think it’s just the place I’m in, Cherrytree Records, they trust in my instincts and they advise me and they give me the tools to be as creative as I need to be and everyone’s creative and we all have ideas and we all share…just being part of this big machine…this big family, is really what has enabled me to be where I am right now and be received in the way I’m being received.
Natalia, I just have to thank you again for taking the time to speak with me today.
Well, it was a pleasure talking to you and have a great day and I do hope you do get to see one of my shows. I’ll follow you back on Twitter just Tweet at me and I’ll Re-Tweet you.
OK, sounds good! Thank you so much Natalia. Break a leg tomorrow!
Thank you! Thanks so much.