Kid A’s self-taught blend of sweet, poignant vocals and minimalist electro beats dance effortlessly around her obsessions with Japanese Shibuya-kei and French electro. After a number of collaborations with the likes of Agoria and Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, her latest album BLCKRSECHLL is ready for release in 2013. Iain Whiteley caught up with her as she performed her second-ever UK show – supporting DELS at The Shacklewell Arms in London.

Interview – Iain Whiteley
Photo Credit – Sebastian Boettcher – http://www.sebastianboettcher.com/kid_a.html

You live in Virginia, but you spend a lot of time in France, and last year self-released PPPoney OST, an album mostly sung in Japanese. How come?
Virginia is a great place to grow up, but I was bored and immersed myself in so many different things. When I was young I’d always go to the library and check out books about France and Japan. I dreamed of travelling the world but didn’t really know how I’d get there. I suppose the music I’m creating is making me realise these aspects of my dreams.

PPPoney OST is an imaginary Japanese film soundtrack. That’s quite unusual. Why an imaginary Japanese film soundtrack?
[Laughs] Because I was bored, because I’m weird, and because I like experimenting. I used to study Japanese, but I live in Virginia, so I can’t use it. So I thought: okay, let me try and do something different with it.

Are you fluent in Japanese?
I wish I was! No, I’m not fluent. It’s conversational.

You’re influenced by, among other things, Shibuya-kei. Where did that come from?
It’s just a lifelong love of Japanese culture: the fashion, a little anime, and the music. I really like Cornelius and Pizzicato Five.

You also quote Yé-yé as an influence, specifically Serge Gainsbourgh. What is it that attracts you to him?
His provocative lyrics are really interesting and his compositions so varied: he does jazz, reggae, he’s very versatile and I love that. The version [of BB Bleu, from PPPony OST] that I performed tonight is the original version, but I feel the remastered version on the album really breathed a new Gainsbourgh atmosphere into it.

People say your voice is similar to Bjork’s. Would you take that as a compliment?
I hear that a lot and I do take it as a compliment. She’s an amazing artist and creator. I embrace the comparison.

The production on your forthcoming album BLCKRSECHLL was overseen by Agoria. How did that come about?
I met him in 2009 and he’s always been very supportive. He told me I had a gift and kept saying: ‘You need to write an album!’ I actually produced the album myself, did the demos, and we recorded in Paris in May of last year. He took everything with him on tour and started to put everything together and make it sound amazing. I’m really proud and grateful.

Does the Agoria touch change your work, or is it a small shift?
I appreciate that he’s kept the essence of Kid A. There are a few changes, but it’s still me, and I love that. I want people to hear my stories and tales without them being altered too much.

As well as Agoria, you’ve collaborated with a number of well-known musicians over the last few years. Who was your favourite?
That’s a difficult question, they’ve all been great. I don’t want to miss anyone out!

How about people you’d like to collaborate with?
I like Mr Oizo because he’s really quirky and makes really great films, too. He loves the saxophone and I love the saxophone, so I think that would be cool. Also Sebastien Tellier, and Metronomy.

You’re a self-taught musician. How did you go about it?
It took me a long time, but I’ve got it down to a science now, and I just create layers of different sounds.

But the song BLCKRSECHLL sounds so simple.
I like to keep things simple to an extent, but put a special, memorable touch to a song. With BLCKRSECHLL I actually came up with the title before I came up with the track. Then I added strings on a loop, which is strange as I usually start with a beat, and while I was thinking of the words I felt like I was flying. I was aware of viewing something from a distant height and that I was (sings) ‘getting higher and higher and higher.’

Did you get higher?
[laughs] No I didn’t! I absolutely did not. It’s always from my imagination.

Did you get lower, then?
Hell, yes, absolutely! Sometimes I do get lower. Writing can sometimes bring up a lot of pain.

In what way?
Well, I am young – I’m 24, so I write from my own personal perspective but also my mother’s perspective. I think of certain situations that she might have gone through .

Which would you prefer: ‘cool famous’ or ‘famous famous’?
Cool famous is nice, but famous famous? I have no problem with that. It’s good to go with your heart and your gut and not follow the money – but I wouldn’t mind taking over the world! I believe in my project and I’m excited for everyone to hear about it.

Kid A’s album BLCKRSECHLL will be out soon.

Jacob Korn featuring Kid A – Broken



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