Jan 24, 2018

Brooklyn darlings Kino Kimino‘s debut LP “Bait is for Sissies,” featuring Sonic Youth Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley serving as session men, will throw you off-guard, just like the band’s bizarre, at time nonsensical videos. The brainchild of Kim Talon, the power trio offers deadpan vocals, gritty guitars, and 90’s-cool-kid vibes embedded in an ever-shifting sonic soundscape. The final result fully justifies Kim’s recent move from LA to the edgier NYC scene. We asked the band a few questions about inspiration and stompboxes.

Your music is not easy to label: what did you grow up listening to? Are there any albums that you could say changed your life?
Kim Talon: It makes sense that you feel that way because I suppose I grew up listening to music that’s all over the map. When I was with my Mum I listened to

Women’s issues of every sort always seem to make their way into my writing as well.

a lot of classical music, opera and some disco. With my Dad, I encountered everything from Ernie K-Doe to Patsy Cline to The Coasters and some showtunes. I probably learned almost every 1950s novelty songs from him, and I’ve certainly developed my own passion for pre-1960’s novelty music. I especially love dated songs about Halloween… and 1940s songs that meditate on the topic of the female experience of that era. I’m certain that there are several albums that changed my life. But, the first thing that comes to mind is Whitney Houston’s self-titled record. Everyone song on that album is incredible and there is no one who can sing like her.

How did the collaboration with Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley happen, and what roles did they have in the project?
I met Lee and Steve through my incredible producer, John Agnello. Lee played guitar on the record and Steve played drums, it was a ton of fun playing with them.

What feelings, events, people and/or records worked as a source of inspiration for your latest release?
The inspiration from this album mostly came from the events happening in my life at the time. Moving from LA to NY, interpersonal drama, and so forth. Women’s issues of every sort always seem to make their way into my writing as well.

Photo Credit: CoolDadMusic.com

Was there a band you listened to when you were younger that made you become curious about guitar effects?
Not consciously. But, I remember listening for the first time to 80s-era records by The Cure and being blown away by their overarching guitar effects. There’s something completely transformative and heartbreaking about some of those guitar sounds.

What do you have on your board these days?
Kim Talon: When I moved to Brooklyn I decided to pair down because I had way too much gear to carry to shows. I also play live with 2-3 guitars and it just became too much. These days I’m whittled down to an MXR Uni-Vibe, a Fulltone OCD pedal, and the KORG chromatic tuner. I wouldn’t feel right playing without my OCD pedal, it’s just the way I like distortion to sound. It seems like the only guitar players who are passionate about their tuners are ones that playing in different tunings, and that’s how I play, so… I absolutely love the KORG chromatic tuner.  I think it’s the best tuner for “experimental” guitar players.

Tara Thiessen: I use three Death By Audio pedals- the Fuzz War, Interstellar Overdrive, and the Echo Dream. My default tone is generally the Overdrive pedal with my EHX Holy Grail reverb and I use the Fuzz War for different lead lines, solos and occasionally when I play with a slide. In Kino Kimino I use the Echo Dream during different dissonant/noise sections with the Modulator knob that makes everything sound all wonky.

Is there a person outside the band that’s been important in perfecting your guitar sound?
TT: Jimi Hendrix, Guitargeek.com, Lindsey Ann from Baby Acid and the guys at Death By Audio!

What other like-minded local acts do you guys like to play with these days?
We’ve played with so many bands in the past year, too many to recount! But, off the top of my head… Fruit & Flowers, Hiccup, God Tiny, Ex-Girlfriends, Parrot Dream, Haybaby, The Off White.