Changes are often friends of inspiration: new experiences, new instruments, new influences, new collaborations, or even just a new approach, are all things that have the power to unleash renewed curiosity and creativity. The story of Kristin Kontrol‘s debut record X-Communicate can be seen (and heard) from this angle: after a great six year run with her drone pop band Dum Dum Girls, whose songs were inspired by legendary electric psych bands of the ’90s like Jesus and Mary Chain and Mazzy Star, Dee Dee (aka Kristin Welchez) decided it was time to mix things up a little, and start anew. The Kristin Kontrol debut album was forged through a new collaboration with Ice Choir programmer/producer Kurt Feldman, and veers decidedly towards the synth-pop sound of the ’80s. We asked Kristin and Kurt a few questions about it.
How did synths become center stage in this solo project?
Kristin: I just knew I didn’t want to make a guitar record like I’d been doing for years. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to make a synth record; more so I just wanted to make a more electronic record.
Did this new electronic approach feel a little like starting from scratch as a songwriter, unleashing new sources of inspiration?
Kristin: Initially I tried to write on the keyboard but 42 rejected songs later, I realized it served me better to write on the guitar and just arrange and produce the album without them.
What are the synths that became a signature sound in the record?
Kurt: There were a lot of synths used on the album (all soft synths) so in that sense, no one specific device became a signature of the record. i just wanted a wide range of textures to employ where i saw them fit.
What are the other tools (DAW, plug in effects, controllers etc) that were crucial in the making of X-Communicate?
Kurt: Pro Tools + a mouse. I didn’t use any hardware on any of the songs except maybe a midi controller to capture velocity on occasion.
What looks more inspiring right now for your future releases: a return to the guitar sound of the beginnings or a development of this new electronic sound?
Kristin: I am not tied down to anything. There is still tons of guitar on this record, it’s just not a rock record in the same way.