Supping pints of Stella with music-biz legend Seymour Stein and hanging with Jack White discussing the finer points of Blind Willie McTell is all part of the life for Kill It Kid these days - tipped as one of the 'buzz' bands at this year's SXSW, they subsequently found themselves jetted to New York in June to perform new album showcases for - and get up close and personal with - some of the most influential figures in the music industry.
And taking influence from artists as diverse as The Carter Family, Queens of The Stone Age and Woody Guthrie, the new record 'Feet Fall Heavy' (One Little Indian, September 19) pitches the band as a new breed of all-electric bluesmen: Brutal guitar movements and smashing pianos (quite literally) are braced by the unmistakable pounding of Marc Jones (drums) and Adam Timmins (bass) while Stephanie Ward's bitter croon on songs such as 'Dark Hearted Songbird' and Chris Turpin's roar on 'Wild and Wasted Waters' leave one in doubt as to the band's intensions. "The process began with a want to create an album with an immediacy and honesty," says Turpin. "Hitting the same vein as the British Blues Boom but creating a record as a whole, which affected us, asserted us and gave us a sense of belonging. In an industry where months are spent grooming and pre-producing the perfect electro-surf-nu rave-outfit to suit the necessary tastemakers, we knew creatively we needed to record fast, keep it raw, inelegant and untainted."
To that end the band spent 10 short days in the studio aided and abetted by Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Florence & The Machine), shirking traditions and pushing the band into new sonic territory - realised through 1950s American catalogue guitars and broken ten watt amplifiers, interspersed throughout with samples of Alan Lomax field recordings.
Broadly, the 'spirit of the times' is the core theme of the album - distilled from Turpin's experience of hearing the sound of crowds spilling out of the local club into the street beneath his room. Drunken fighting, screaming and the cries of revellers are pitted against the hissing 1920s Alan Lomax field recordings emitting from his record player, the juxtaposition inspiring an apocalyptic, discordant note in his mind that is carried over into the music here.
Sometimes mistakenly lumped in with the crop of neo-folk acts on the release of their eponymous 2009 debut, Kill It Kid have been toughened up by relentless touring ever since and, freshly inspired by old recordings like 'I Had a Dream' by Pops Staples, this year's 'Pray On Me' single proved to be grittier than anything previously heard from the band, marrying a punishing blues riff á la Black Keys or The Dead Weather to Chris Turpin's anguished howl - the first indication of the path the band were now heading down, and indeed of the forthcoming album.
Last year the band were blown away to find themselves sharing the same stage as their hero Bob Dylan at the Hop Farm Festival, while their most recent recorded appearance came courtesy of the Flower Pot Sessions compilation, put together by the Communion club night/ record label and recorded in a week, Kill It Kid contributing a cello backed version of 'Send Me An Angel'. The band also made the final ten in the 'Best British Album' category of the Xfm 2010 New Music Awards, and were honoured to have their previous material reach the finals of the International Songwriting Festival, judged by the likes of Tom Waits and Kings of Leon.
Kill It Kid is: Chris Turpin (lead vocals/guitars/harmonica), Stephanie Ward (lead vocals/piano), Marc Jones (drums/percussion) and Dom Kozubik [bass]