Interview with Jennie & Kaoru
New single 'Ten Of Clubs' marks the return of London's dark and distorted electro-rock duo Deathline whose second album, the appropriately titled 'II', is set for release later this year. Here they talk to us about recording in LA, being stroppy and talking cats.
SXP: It's been a few years since you recorded your debut album. Did you approach the new album with the same vision or have your ideas of what you should sound like changed since then?
Kaoru: I think what we *actually* sound like has changed, but not what we *want* to sound like.
Jennie: We've become better at knowing what we want to sound like, and maybe we're more open to new stuff. We're listening to more heavy and psych stuff now and it's maybe changed how we think about making sounds. But what we want to do is still the same.
Kaoru: We've got better at making the sounds in our head real.
SXP: The new record was recorded in LA, can we expect a more American feel and how did recording in a different country compare to recording at home?
Jennie: It wasn't particularly the location that was different though we love LA - the desert dryness, the space and light. It was that we decided to work with someone else - we always recorded ourselves before.
Kaoru: It was definitely a decision we made. We wanted someone external to bring different ideas about sound to us. When our friend Josiah Mazzaschi approached us to see if we wanted to work with him it was ideal.
Jennie: I don't think we sound more American.
Kaoru: It sounds bigger. There's more space. Maybe that's American.
SXP: Did you try living the celebrity lifestyle while you were out there? Any A-list encounters we should know about?
Kaoru: Are you kidding? We were far too busy working!
Not really. We had five days in the studio and five days off. It was fun. We're more Z-list than A-list so we slummed it with the rock and rollers of LA.
Jennie: We did go to pool parties and Hollywood clubs but there was no snorting coke off dwarfs or anything. Next time.
SXP: How about rock and roll behaviour? Which of you is the biggest diva and what's the most outlandish things you've done?
Kaoru: We're more moody than diva. Jennie gets a bit stroppy sometimes.
Jennie: We had an argument in the studio last week and Kaoru thew his guitar on the floor. He's more stroppy than me!
SXP: In terms of songwriting, do you work on ideas together or both bring in songs independently?
Kaoru: Things usually happen slowly and it's organic. We don't really write in the conventional sense - we have little bits of ideas and glue the musical bits together till they start making sense.
Jennie: We write words by listening to our friends talk in pubs and bars. Bits of phrases jump out and when you repeat them and combine them they take a diffrent meaning. Kaoru also writes songs in dreams...
Kaoru: I do. I hear songs in dreams and when it's vivid, I wake up with at least a riff in my head, sometimes a whole song. Some of our stuff definitely statred that way and they're very quick. Other things take ages. Some songs on this new album are the oldest things we ever wrote. They never worked before but we nagged at them and suddenly they sounded perfect for what we're doing now.
SXP: Should (god forbid!) you split up tomorrow who's likely to have the most successful solo career and would either of you consider a glossy pop makeover to catapult you to fame?
Jennie: That would be Kaoru. He's definitely the pop diva. I would become the bassist in a heavy psych band.
Kaoru: I do quite fancy myself as the Japanese Jessie J.
You've been compared to The Raveonettes, Suicide and JAMC but are there any new bands out there you'd put in a similar bracket? Do you have any favourite new acts?
The KVB, who have done an amazing remix for Ten of Clubs. The Soft Moon. Exit International. Bo Ningen. Dead Skeletons. Teeth of the Sea.
SXP: If you could pick anyone - past or present - that you'd like to collaborate with, who would you go for?
SXP: As talking cats are such an influence on your music, would you be able to share with us your favourite talking cat clip from youtube?
Kaoru: I think all the YouTube cat clips have been seen haven't they? I would nominate Jennie's cat Howard. He's the best around.
Jennie: We're more into books. The greatest talking cat can be found in one of our favourite novels, "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami.
Kaoru: Closely followed by 'Behemoth' in Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita".
SXP: Finally, let's play 'Ultimate Festival Line-Up'. Deathline are headlining - pick five bands you'd want on the same bill (as this is fantasy then any bands/artists current or past are allowed!)
Velvet Underground. Stooges. Suicide. Dead Skeletons. MC5
But it's an impossible question. You bastard.