This is the Kit have just released their fourth album and head to Sage, Gateshead this month so Adam Urwin caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist Kates Stables to talk about the bands’ venture up north.
Has the process for creating ‘Moonshine Freeze’ differed at all from the previous albums you have recorded?
There are similarities, however, the process has been different for each album. This time, it was great to have all the songs complete and have the rest of the band present for the two weeks in the studio. It was also the first album we’ve made entirely in Bristol, where half of the band lives, and it was great to be able to invite Bristol friends in to contribute. Rachael Dadd and my twin sister Emil came to do vocals and some lovely horns were played by and Lorenzo Prati, Melanie Wickham and Kevin Figes.
When it comes to creating tracks, do you have a set process? Or does it vary depending on the ideas you have?
Some tracks get built with the band before the studio time, often at gigs or on tour, and other tracks no one has heard until the day of recording so the process is totally different in that case. Plus some tracks are just better off left kind of alone. Sometimes we’ll try adding instruments and arrangements but we eventually decide that it works best as a plain old solo song or just a few notes here and there. There are no rules really – it’s a suck it and see scenario.
Do you believe there is a single narrative within ‘Moonshine Freeze’? Or do the individual tracks tell their own stories?
Both really. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t really write a song about just one thing. Each song is about many different thoughts and subjects. Sometimes it’s easier to spot the patterns in the chaos than it is to understand a full story. But I do think there are themes that run through this album. Storytelling being one of them. Our relationship with the truth, ourselves, our perspectives and stories.
Out on the road, do you have any bands or musicians you listen to help the time pass?
It helps to have good listening on tour. I love listening to the wizard of Earthsea audiobooks. Musically, I just love looking out the window and listening to anything by Richard Dawson, Radiohead and Beyoncé. There’s a compilation called ‘Voices of the World’ which has recordings of singing and vocals on it. Brilliant, beautiful inspiring stuff.’
Back in 2015, Guy Garvey said your second album, ‘Wriggle out the Restless’, deserved a Mercury Prize. What is it like to hear recognition like that from a fellow musician?
It’s nice when people say such things about your music. Especially when it’s someone who you really love and respect like Guy. But, it’s just amazing when people say nice stuff. Musician or not. There have been some great “reviews” of ‘Moonshine Freeze’ from friends. My favourite so far being from friend Marcus Hamblett. When he heard the album he sent me a text message saying “raging sax solo? Don’t mind if I do!”
You’re playing the Sage Gateshead as part of this tour. Is there anything different or that you look forward to when you travel up North?
Without offending southerners, I do just love going north in general. The top-notch audiences. Totally lush landscapes to drink in while you’re on the road. Arriving in new towns – or ones you’ve not been to since last time – is just great. One of my favourite things is just strolling around the towns we arrive in, and if possible finding a local library or swimming pool – I’m a sucker for municipal leisure facilities!
This Is the Kit play Sage, Gateshead on Tuesday 23rd January. Tickets, priced between £15.30-£17.40, are available both at http://www.sagegateshead.com/ and http://thisisthekit.co.uk/ (at the time of writing).