Lisa Dowling (whom you all may remember from an earlier interview I did) is back to talk about raising money through indiegogo.com for a major upcoming project under the name of Kills to Kisses. This recording, titled Cloven Tongues, is not only going to be her first official album release, but it will also be issued on vinyl LP. Those of you that will support the fundraising campaign will get some rather interesting rewards such as downloads of the album, temporary tattoos, a haiku written especially for you, and a personalized mixtape.
You can click on the campaign link here or on the bottom.
CM: Can you please talk about this project?
Lisa: Kills 2 Kisses is a new stage moniker that I have adopted. The campaign was created formally to raise money for the making of the album, but it’s more of a musical adventure in the form of the trotting out of this character, so I have really spent a lot of time developing who this character is–The transformation into the persona has been a really fun process as well as designing the logo and setting up and posing for the photography. It took me the past couple of years to figure out what this character meant to me, and how my music morphed into different characters, and what would be suitable, but also ones that are very vulnerable and intimate, and ones that are a huge departure from who I really am.
CM: We’ve already seen you do several different things–The stand-up bass gigs with your ensembles as well as solo, and the L’il Miss Dolemite DJ shows with the turntables. Does this incorporate any of those other things, or is this a whole different direction?
Lisa: I think this embodies everything about who I am, all of the musical lives that I’ve led. This is a place to put all those things. I’ve been doing all of this other stuff for a while now, but I felt like it’s been so busy for me that it really needed a base of its own for it to come to life, and that’s the story of Kills 2 Kisses, the character, the woman, the musician, the collaborator.
Cloven Tongues is the actual title of the album, and it features Owen Weaver on percussion, Domenica Fossati on flutes, beatboxer Adam Matta will be on it, as well as my husband Equiano Mosieri, himself a classically-trained actor, musician and poet, is going to be performing a spoken word portion on a piece that I made. I have the fortunate task of working with these really amazing people, and not every song involves them–there are a few pieces where it’s just me solo.
My wonderful exposure to contemporary music though Robert Black and Bang On a Can allowed me to spend a lot of time experimenting, and that was an invaluable experience that led me to my songwriting, and it led me to explore my instrument as a percussive instrument, as a melody, as a harmony, as a bass (along with the use of a boss rc-300 loop station, line 6, and a voice play live effects box), and all the cool effects that I can do when I put them through a processor–That’s when it really comes to life. That allows me to get a freedom that acoustically I can’t have. I was classically trained in voice in high school, I had sung in choirs, I started writing songs, lyrically speaking, and I guess I could say my poetry is dark, romantic and quirky all at the same time–I don’t like to use specifically formal structures or textures, but sometimes it just happens. I just try to be as flexible as possible in the way I write music.
One of the things I really wanted to do was maintain the integrity of the live performance. This album won’t have a lot of post-production or produced effects that happen on the board. I wanted to be able to present this album in a way that you would hear me in a live setting. That was really important to me. Yes, there will be different textures and things that you won’t be able to hear me do live, which I felt led to the idea of making the album a separate piece of art, but I still wanted to maintain the live context.
CM: Are all the pieces written by you?
Lisa: No, actually, one of the pieces is written by Robert Honstein, who you know–I think you might remember that he and I worked on a piece for my bass quartet Heavy Hands. Since then, we decided to rework the quartet into a solo piece for voice, tape and bass, and I recorded some of it already, but there’s still work to be done on it. I felt that it was really important for that piece to have a home.
CM: The fundraising seems to be halfway there already.
Lisa: Yes! I have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity, and the new music community has been so supportive. All of that funding will go to recording, mixing, editing and mastering, and I have also decided to have the album pressed as a vinyl LP. As a DJ, it’s really important to me to have this music on a vinyl record, because when I thought about my music, it’s very cinematic and has a strong narrative–the connecting point to that was the physical experience of listening to a record–touching it, smelling it, putting the needle on the record.
CM: Those of us that grew up with records pretty much all know that feeling. Even with CDs we sort of still have that, though it’s not quite the same. But that factory smell of the vinyl is definitely something I miss too.
Lisa: Technically it’s more intense than just getting the music on Spotify, or letting yourself be a vessel for whatever comes on the radio at different times. And that’s why I’m raising money for the vinyl pressings. And I won’t be doing any CDs, just digital downloads, which eventually will be available through me at live appearances as well as on iTunes and Spotify. And the funds are also going to other expenses such as artwork, pr/promotion and musician fees.