Every once in a while in a local scene, a band or a musician sets themselves apart by how they present themselves on stage, the sound from their instruments, how they make an audience feel. With every show their following gets a bit bigger and after a while they become the talk of the town with fans on the lookout for the next show.
New Haven’s Killer Kin are one of those bands with an infectiously energetic rock & roll sound.
On Sept. 23, they take the stage at Café Nine in New Haven, with local glam punks Peäsänt and rock & roll delinquents, The Problem With Kids Today, opening things up at 9 p.m.
Vocalist Mattie Lea and guitarist Chloe Rose are the creative core of Killer Kin and we talked to them ahead of the show about crafting the band’s signature sound, engaging with the audience and waiting on their debut LP to get pressed.
RD: When Killer Kin was first starting out, what was the spark of inspiration that made you want to craft this high octane rock sound the band has? It’s very much a Motörhead meets Iggy & The Stooges vibe, so what made you want to make this type of band happen?
ML: First off, I gotta say that you nailed it with that description because that’s everything we could ever want and everything in between there.
CR: Yeah, we both were kind of looking to start a new project and Mattie was in another band that’s kind of taking a break, I guess you could say. I had always wanted to start a band but I didn’t know how to do anything, I didn’t know how to play or sing so I taught myself how to play to be in the band basically because I wanted to. We both wanted to do something together.
ML: We were writing songs in the bedroom, that’s how it all started.
RD: Were you recording songs in the bedroom or were you just hashing ideas out there?
ML: We were making little demos and hashing ideas out..
CR: We were kind of recording demos on our phones. I’d play a riff and we would write the skeleton of a song.
RD: Mattie, as a frontman you like to move around a lot and you engage with the audience while singing with a lot of energy. Do you have a certain routine that you go through so you don’t tire yourself out halfway through a performance and you don’t blow a vocal chord while singing, or do you just amp yourself up before you get on stage and just go with it?
ML: I’d say it’s both of those things. I really do just get really amped up and it really sets in more so when the first note is played. I’ll just start shooting my mouth off to get going, it’s almost like professional wrestling that you’d see on TV growing up so I get really amped up that way. As far as keeping the energy up, in life in general I try not to be sedentary so I’m prepared for these things because we all like to dance, we all like to move and sometimes you don’t have it in you but you force yourself to do it. I stay active for the most part and as far as blowing out vocals, I read once that Bon Scott [from AC/DC] chewed a lot of gum. I try to warm up but sometimes that doesn’t happen so I’ll chew some gum and sip on some water.
RD: It’s good to have some hydration going through you when you’re keeping yourself active so you don’t tire yourself out. Chloe, you mentioned how you taught yourself how to play guitar so how long have you been playing the instrument for and what initially made you want to play it in particular? Was it because you wanted to be a focal point of the band when it was starting out and this was the best way to do it or were there other reasons?
CR: My dad played guitar and so did my uncle so I always was kind of interested in trying it out and I really wanted to write songs but I didn’t want to sing or anything. I just kind of tried it out, there was no real specific reason other than I wanted to write some songs and start a band so that’s why I decided to start Killer Kin.
RD: Makes sense. Café Nine seems to be a regular hometown venue you guys play at on a monthly basis these days, so what do you like most about the place and what can people who haven’t seen Killer Kin before expect from the show on the 23rd?
CR: The first place we ever played a show was at Café Nine and in my opinion, I’m assuming it’s Mattie’s too, it’s the best venue in New Haven. A lot of legendary acts have played there and it’s a cool bar so we always love playing there. For people that haven’t seen us, I don’t know. What would you say they should expect, Mattie?
ML: You’re going to be as much a part of the show as we are. Sometimes Killer Kin is in your face, high energy and we’re going to get our hooks on you, wrap you in the chain, pull you up there and if you’re not dancing then you might as well be dead.
RD: That’s a great way to put it. With Café Nine being a relatively small venue, do you think that works to your advantage as a band that feeds off the audience?
CR: Yeah, definitely. It feels very intimate for sure and it’s a really cool setting to play in. It’s like Mattie said, the audience will definitely be involved, we’re not a band that’s going to be playing in the background while you’re having a drink or something. It’s very involved and we’ll be in the middle of the crowd sometimes too.
RD: I’ve seen photos of that and it’s pretty cool looking. There’s been talk going around that Killer Kin is working on their debut full-length record. I know you already have a couple EPs out so what’s the status of the full-length and when can we expect it to come out? Have you just started working on it? Are you kind of halfway done? Are you almost done?
CR: It’s completely done and we just sent it off to be pressed. Everything is kind of screwed up right now as far as vinyl pressing plants and stuff so we’re not totally sure about an exact release date. We’re hoping to have it out in the springtime of next year or sooner but it’s completely done as it should be out as soon as we can get it out. We do have a new song we’re going to release fairly soon just to have something new to hold everybody over.