KRISTIN KONTROL Discusses Life After Dum Dum Girls, A New Album Called X-Communicate With Sub Pop Records and More!
Posted On 17 May 2016
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Bauhaus, Brian Eno, David Bowie, DDG, Dee Dee, Dev Hynes, Dum Dum Girls, Janet Jackson, Kate Bush, King Tubby, Kristin Kontrol, Mariah Carey, Ms. Dee, OMD, Only In Dreams, Roxy Music, Sinéad O'Connor, Sub Pop Records, SXSW, The Creatures, X-Communicate
Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls has made a change.
She now goes by KRISTIN KONTROL and is about to release a brand new solo record called “X-Communicate” on May 27th via Sub Pop Records.
At the top of 2015, she decided to shed her skin, ditching Dee Dee for her real name, Kristin, and adding Kontrol. It was a spontaneous idea – but it resonated with her. As Karen O once counseled her, it may be a leap into the unknown, but little risk means little reward.
Her challenge was to start fresh, and go further back into her relationship with music. Her goal was to sweep all her loves together into one genreless experience.
“The first music I felt was mine was 80s and 90s pop,” Kristin says. “But rock’n’roll was what motivated me to actually make music.” But it wasn’t just an A vs B thing. “Like most people, I love a wide spectrum of music. So with Kristin Kontrol I just wanted to unite it all….I thought, ‘do Kate Bush doing Mariah.’”
Learn more about Kristin in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So, how’s 2016 been treating you? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you and your music?
Writing and recording X-Communicate took the whole of 2015, almost to the day. I went through a lot of stuff but it all filtered out through the music.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest music memory?
I knew from a young age that I was an artist. I thought it was through dance for most of my childhood, then writing in high school and early college, but once I started singing in bands, I knew there was no going back.
This month, you will be releasing your debut solo album. Can you talk about what it was like creating an album on your own and not with Dum Dum Girls? Why did you decide to do a solo project now? Have you been thinking about doing this for awhile?
It’s a common misconception that DDG functioned as a proper band. I wrote and recorded alone (aside from Only In Dreams, on which the band played) and then we’d rehearse and tour as a band. It was more band than solo feeling though, especially since I was blessed with consistent members who put their whole lives into it. But yes, Kristin Kontrol is obviously just me, and yes, I was ready for that. I wasn’t necessarily thinking of establishing a brand new thing, but I had been contemplating how much farther I could go with DDG.
Your forthcoming record, “X-Communicate” is a very different sound then your music with Dum Dum Girls. Was this a fun change for you to make?
Yes! I didn’t exclude the influences I more obviously showcased in DDG but I expanded the pool to mine to all the things I love, not just the guitar-centric stuff.
Since you are now going by your real name and not Ms. Dee anymore, do you feel like it has transformed your character and who you are as an artist? Is that a liberating feeling?
Yes, I feel like I’m finally comfortable and confident enough to be myself. Dee Dee was born out wanting anonymity and some layer of protection, and then it also lent itself to feeling a bit more aggressive than me naturally. But it began to feel one-dimensional though, or like it was preventing me from connecting directly to the audience.
Why do you think Sub Pop Records is the right place for you and your music today?
They took a chance on me as a young, green songwriter and have been nothing but creatively supportive since then. It’s rare to find a label home that let’s you grow and change.
Do you think you will continue to make music with Dum Dum Girls in the future?
Kristin Kontrol is now the vehicle.
What artists have been inspiring you and your music since you became a musician?
I could write a book, so I’ll just name a few that I was listening to a lot of while making X-Communicate: Kate Bush, Sinéad O’Connor, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Bauhaus, King Tubby, OMD, The Creatures and Janet Jackson.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
What was it like playing a few parties at SXSW? Do you have plans to tour much once the record comes out?
I was only DJing and it was stress-free. We’re playing a string of shows in June and then more to follow.