When Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince formed the rock duo The Kills in 2001, they were both veterans of the rock-and-roll scene, with Mosshart coming from the punk band Discount and Hince from British rock bands Fiji, Scarfo and Blyth Power. Together, they quickly became lauded for producing minimal, lo-fi tracks and have since consistently churned out albums over their nearly 20-year career.
This Saturday, ALL ARTS will air the band’s 2016 concert at the SchwulenZentrum (SchwuZ) club in Berlin as part of the performance series “Berlin Live.” In advance of the episode’s debut on broadcast and the ALL ARTS streaming app, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sound bites from the episode.
Jamie Hince on friendship, love and talent:
“When you’re in a band creating things, you can really like somebody and they could have been your school friend, but if they’re not driving you creatively, it probably will fall apart. So there’s a pretty brilliant balance of the two things: love and talent.”
Alison Mosshart on writing the song “Heart of a Dog”:
“‘Heart of a Dog’ is a song I wrote on this little island off of Seattle at a women’s writer’s retreat, which I was terrified to go to because you’re in the middle of nowhere in a cabin and there’s no other people — there are some other women, but they’re in cabins far away from you.
And I’d never done anything like that. It was like being totally cut off. And, actually, it was like going back to the 90s because there [were] no cellphones, no internet, nothing. And it was the most incredible experience. It was the nicest. I felt like I was reborn. I was so incredibly focused and happy. And that song came from that time that I spent there.”
Jamie Hince on the inspiration behind the song “Doing it to Death”:
“Like most of my songs, they start as something else, and they get taken over and then re-thought and re-written. I wrote the drumbeat for it on the Trans-Siberian Express. And that’s where it started, with the rhythm. And I had a little acoustic guitar that I’d been playing around with this riff. So I sort of formulated the idea for the music while I was on the train, which I can kind of hear in it now. I can hear the train tracks and the drum beat.”
Alison Mosshart on the give-and-take of performing:
“I use the audience as like a complete source of energy. I mean, I’m very thankful that they’re there. It’s an exchange, you know. Being on stage is an exchange. There’s that line… and you’re passing something over and they’re passing something back. And it goes on like that. And if a show is great, there is so much energy going back and forth. I mean, it feels like you can fly. It’s insane.”
Alison Mosshart on evolving:
“We’re going on 15 years, and there is a lot of things that haven’t changed, but I think with the song-writing that is constantly evolving. One would hope that you’re improving. Or learning new things along the way. Every time we do a record ….the challenge is to not repeat ourselves and to do something uncomfortable for us until it’s comfortable.
But our relationship, as two friends, that’s remained as silly as ever. It’s kind of an undefinable thing, which he and I would struggle explaining to anybody. That worked immediately… And you kind of don’t challenge it or mess with it. We are really lucky to have found each other.”
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Top Image: The Kills. Photo: Paul Hudson.