Interview With Kaki King


Out musician Kaki King has written a
breakup album with a perfect title: Dreaming of Revenge. Among her fans is Sara
Quin of Tegan and Sara, who told that King writes
"the saddest melodies you’ve ever heard. The kind of songs you like to
fall asleep to, but also have to absorb alone, in case you’re moved to

King, 28, has admitted to this, claiming that the best kinds
of songs are the sad ones — which must be why Dreaming of Revenge rings so

She has also lent her mastery of the guitar to other
projects in the past year, including Tegan and Sara’s album The Con, the Foo
Fighters’ Grammy-winning album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, and the
score for the film Into the Wild. She also played the role of the lead
character’s guitar-playing hands in August Rush.

With so much of her time dedicated to making others sound
and look good in 2007, 2008 is certainly King’s own year. She recently spoke
with about writing sad songs, why she’s the least serious person
ever, and working with Tegan and Sara. Was adding the lyrics and singing on Until
We Felt Red
and on the new album something you did to become more accessible?
It seems like even if it’s something you didn’t intend to do, it’s become that

Kaki King: I feel like my other albums are accessible, too,
but maybe they’re just accessible to me. [laughs] I don’t care if I’m
accessible or not, but … I haven’t been able to really choose what I write or
in a certain direction; it just seems to come out a certain way. I mean, I’ve
been writing songs and lyrics to songs since I was a kid, it just kind of
happened that I was a solo guitar player.

It wasn’t that I was making a conscious decision, like I
don’t think about fans and things like that when I’m crying and writing a song.
It was kind of like, we’ll just see how this goes, and it’s kind of funny
because I actually sing on fewer songs in this new record than I did on the
last record. It just seemed like the songs that sound good with lyrics, with

AE: How did you get involved with working on Into the Wild
They brought me in at the last minute with about 10
scenes they had written music for, and they used a couple of songs from my
second album in the soundtrack as well.

AE: Have you done film scoring before?
Not on that scale, nothing on that level. It was really
great because my contribution to the score wasn’t really gigantic, but I was
able to come in when they had most of it done, and listening to what they had
already done, [I] was able to provide things with Eddie Vedder’s aesthetic and at the same
time do what I do.

It was a long process, but it was cool to work under that
kind of pressure, to say, "We have an hour before we move to the next
scene." It’s endless pondering and thinking and seeing what works and this
and that.

AE: How did you become involved with being the hands of the
little boy in August Rush?
The reason why they found me specifically is because I’m
a female guitar player, I could redo the part to make it sound better, and I
could also fit in the little boy’s costume and be the hand double. That’s why I
think they hired me.

AE: Did you have to do anything to make your hands more
boyish or do you just generally have boyish hands?
I don’t think I have boyish hands, but a female would
have more little boyish hands — that makes sense. But he’s supposed to be a
street urchin, so they made my fingers filthy. You can’t really tell … but my
fingers were covered in this fake dirt they have.

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