Interview With Kaki King

AE: With the new album, you seem to be doing a lot of viral
marketing or a lot of videos of you in the studio.

KK:
I just said we should document the process. It was
actually my producer’s video camera. I just went and bought a bunch of DV tapes,
and every so often we’d put the camera on. Every so often I’d do some video diary
entries. …

I certainly think you document these things for your own
reasons, as this is what we do, kind of making a miniature making-of. I thought
we’d get it down to two minutes — I never thought we’d end up with such great
material. Having the video camera there was just totally genius, and we ended
up with five- and six-minute pieces. It wasn’t for specifically any campaign or
anything.

AE: It seems like in the studio, half of the time is you
laughing and having fun, and the other half is you being intensely serious. Is
that how you’ve always been while recording?
KK:
Yeah, I think so.

AE: Are there any breakdowns you haven’t released yet?
KK:
Like total nervous breakdowns, like I’m crying and a
complete emotional wreck! No, I’m not going to put those out. Those will never
be seen by the public.

AE: It seems like you come off as very serious — I don’t
know what it is, maybe your press photos or something — but you seem very
serious, while talking to you, you don’t seem like you take yourself too
seriously.
KK:
I am like the least serious person ever. I feel like I
have dark eyebrows and high cheekbones or something, so maybe that’s it, I
don’t know. I remember my manager’s wife after I had the first photos taken of
me, and she looked at them because she’s an actress and she said, "Kaki, you
look satanic." I was like, "Oh God, awful!" But I am really not
a super serious person.

I make pretty dark music, so that could add to that. But I
find most serious musicians to be not so serious.

AE: You’re an out lesbian, yet you seem like one of the rare
people whose music has always been recognized above your sexuality. Most other
gay musicians probably dream of that. Why do you think you’re the exception to
that rule?
KK:
It feels funny because I never really say I’m proud to
be gay; I am proud because I’m honest. I think that’s why our generation and
younger don’t want to be labeled, and don’t want to talk about that — like
talking about how different we are and that we’re not going to walk the same
path that everyone else is. What if I want to walk the same path everyone else
is?

AE: I asked Sara of Tegan and Sara for a quote about working
with you. She said: "Kaki likes to ‘jam’ but doesn’t like to call it
jamming. When she came to Portland
to perform on The Con, she insisted on broadening our cultural experiences by
enforcing a ‘must participate in geocaching’ clause in her contract. Most
musicians are introverted and insecure, but Kaki inspired me to publicly
challenge everyone in Portland
to a Nintendo Wii boxing competition, a pool competition, a grilled cheese
eating competition, and a hangman competition."
KK:
I’m going to f—ing kick her ass — I talk to those
girls everyday. Go to geocaching.com. It’s just total nerd thing — forget it,
she’s just trying to bust my balls.

First of all, I couldn’t care about the damn Nintendo Wii.
Sara is a great Nintendo Wii boxer, and she’s just showing off. She could beat
anyone’s ass in the house. No one was even in competition with her. I didn’t
even touch the box. Grilled cheese I have no recollection of. There was no
competition — this is Sara! Sara’s life, she’s a twin. She’s competitive. The
world is her Nintendo Wii.

AE: She also said that touring Australia with you was also really
amazing, and it’s "incredible to watch the audience have their minds
blown."
KK:
She’s told me that before. It’s nice.

AE: How do you feel about people thinking your songs are sad
or melancholy?
KK:
I think Aristotle said a great thing about what
catharsis is: Even if something has a tragic ending, you should be moved by
it; it feels good. It’s a good feeling. I think that’s why I like sad music,
because so much of a catharsis happens, and it makes you emotionally cleansed
and feels better.

AE: Is it easier to write a sad song?
KK:
Yeah, what’s the last happy song you heard?

AE: Oh God, I don’t listen to anything happy — I’ve been
listening to you for the past couple of days.
KK:
Exactly!


For more on Kaki King, including her new album and tour
dates, visit her MySpace or official site.

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