Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday Spotlight - Dreaming with Kaki King

Kaki King is back with her latest effort, titled Dreaming of Revenge. As she's done with her previous three albums, King's music has continued to evolve, with numerous tracks featuring her voice delivering vocals alongside her accomplished guitar work. Recently she's worked on Tegan & Sara's latest album The Con, as well as with Eddie Vedder on the Golden Globe nominated soundtrack for Into the Wild. Somehow in the middle of all that, she's put together eleven tracks for this, her fourth album.

Kaki took the time to tell me about one of the tracks from the album, Life Being What It Is. Questions in black are mine, text in red is Kaki. Enjoy the track, while reading about its creation.


1.) What was the original inspiration for the song? Is there a personal story behind it?

That's a simple question to answer. It's a song about a recent breakup.

2.) How was the song given birth? Did the lyrics come first? The instrumentation? How did the recording process evolve?

I found this great tuning and was messing around playing a John Butler Trio song called Peaches and Cream in the tuning. Leaving that structure and experimenting with a new form of fingerpicking, the chords and structure wrote themselves.

3.) Are there any particular lyrics in the song that stand out as central to you or have a particular personal meaning that listeners might not pick up on?

"Life being what it is, we all dream of revenge" is actually a quote from Gauguin. (I believe the original quote reads "one dreams of revenge.") I know it sounds very serious, but I actually laugh when I hear it. For me it's meant to be somewhat tounge in cheek, like a cynical yet funny Morrissey lyric. I took the first part of the quote and named the song, and took the second part of the quote to name the album.

And some general questions:

1.) You've really made an indelible impression with your music about what can be done with an acoustic guitar. Are there any other guitar players (past or present) who you've respected, emulated, fell in love with?

Hmm. I've answered this question so many times, so I decided to look in my iTunes to see what guitarists or music I've really been listening to lately. My top three most listened to itunes right now are Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat, Ca Me Vexe by Mademoiselle K. (who is actually a great guitarist), and Osten Währt am Längsten by D.a.F.. I'm in an overseas electronica/dance rut right now. It must influence my guitar playing somehow, you just need a musical microscope to see the results.

Jose Gonzalez - Smalltown Boy (live Bronski Beat cover) : Live at the 9:30 Club 10-2-07

Mademoiselle K - Ca Me Vexe : Et Si On Arretait D'ecouter De La Soupe 2007

2.) This is your first album with lyrics playing a vital and central role in some of the songs. That element has slowly evolved over the course of your last few albums, but how did it feel to make the leap to an album that tells a story with instruments and words? What were some of the challenges you faced doing so?

The words were easy. They all came from real life events. The only challenge I had was writing the proper melody for the 'chorus' of the song 2 o'clock. I also wanted a particular rhyme scheme in the words. But once I had written a melody that fit the chords writing the words was easy.

3.) So as an artist, how do you approach naming your instrumental tracks? I absolutely love names like Can Anyone Who Has Heard This Music Really Be A Bad Person? (listen to it below), but HOW did you name it? How does that instrumental story convert to a title with words?

They may seem arbitrary but all my song titles relate to something that's happened to me or some idea that's based in my reality. The above mentioned song is another quote, this one from the German movie The Lives of Others. I wont go into too much detail or give away too much plot, but I will say that this movie affected me profoundly, and I wrote the song after seeing it 4 or 5 times. The quote comes from the moment in the film that is the ultimate emotional turning point for one of the characters, and it comes after he hears a particular piece of music. It seemed like the only title that would make sense for the song.


The album comes out March 11th, so you still have some time to wait to hear it. In the meantime, enjoy the following few tracks.

Kaki King - Life Being What It Is : Dreaming Of Revenge

Kaki King - Can Anyone Who Has Heard This Music Really Be A Bad Person? : Dreaming Of Revenge

Visit her website, her label Velour Music, and become her friend on MySpace.


V. said...

I guess I'm gonna have to watch that movie, The Lives Of Others, it seems interesting, just like your questionnaire. Thank you.

L said...

Thanks for introducing me to Kaki K.

Sean said...

It was my pleasure V and L.