Mon 20th May 2013
The Death of Her Money are one of the most unique and creative bands in the UK. Having been around for nearly ten years they've managed to tour, release and innovate with everything they do. Relentlessly repetitive, their music rattles with a volume that defines their live shows, but their groove and sheer slog does reveal psychedelic elements too. We catch up with singer and guitarist Kaskie to find out what the future holds and to explain their influences and motivation.
I know it's been a while, but when did The Death Of Her Money form and how?
We formed in late 2004, we’d been a band for much longer than that but with a more adolescent, immediate (remedial) style, we just felt that something had shifted from the childish hardcore/wacky punk thing we were doing. Felt like we needed a fresh start so we decided to change the name of the band, plus our name before was god awful, even worse than The Death of Her Money, we‘re actually considering editing our name slightly for our new releases as we feel like another fresh start.
Around 2004 we began tuning our guitars lower and writing slower, more expansive riffs, it was always going that way gradually anyway but I think our sound just got better the more we learned... we didn't understand the basic logistics of being a band at all before TDOHM, things like how to get a gig, what a promoter was, what amplifier was good or what effects pedals were needed to make that sound, none of us could properly play our instruments and we didn’t have good equipment at all. We still don’t come to think of it. Haha.
What bands inspired you in the beginning? I once asked Charlsie what inspired him and he said 'beats and grooves', can you expand on that? Equally, what bands influence you now?
Beats and grooves... haha. Well the main thing about him as a person is he is the most uncomplicated person I can think of and that fully comes out in his style of drumming, very honest and absolutely zero bullshit. I started out as a piano player when my dad taught me when I was a kid but I got fed up with it by the time I got to grade 5, something happened that drew me into grunge/punk music so I learned how to play guitar, kind of, didn‘t read any books, just learned what I knew from piano.
It always bugged me when I wanted to play songs alone but you’d have this bass line and a melody to play, that was never a problem on a piano, so on guitar I felt more restricted so I used to learn a song differently to enable me to play both the bass note and the higher notes at the same time so I guess I play my guitar like it’s a piano. Guess I’d have to say my dad inspired (or forced) me to play music initially. I got into the late 80’s / early 90’s alternative American bands in my early teens. I had a slight brit pop phase at the same time and then got into more heavier hardcore/metal type stuff shortly after that.
I don’t listen to hardly anything heavy these days compared to back then, I’d say I still listen to everything though, classical to pop music. I’d say seeing Swans recently really inspired me even though I’ve been into that band for at least a decade I’d never got to see them before. I’ve got into some obvious bands passed me by in my teens, like The Cure and The Smiths have been a big influence in recent years in a sonic way, those are bands I never made much effort with years ago. The whole shoegaze thing has always influenced me but it’s become quite hip to like these days, which is cool, means more people are listening to better music than usual. Dance music from a very early age has actually been a big influence on me, especially the repetitiveness that is a big part of every type of music I write, I listen to allot of electronic music, my repetitive writing 100% comes from listening to dance music in the early 90’s, unfortunately I was only old enough to go to school disco‘s instead of the clubs. But yeah... it’s all beats and grooves.
How did your split with Helga come about? Have they gone on to form new bands since their split? Also, do you see yourself doing split releases with other bands in the future?
Remember that website…..hmmm whats it called? Oh yeah Myspace! Well I went on Myspace one day and Alexi from Helga had messaged us about doing a split, so I checked out their music and it was killer, we all really liked it, very intense, harsher and heavier than what we were doing, the one thing that convinced me about them was the guitars were out of tune on the recording but they didn’t give a fuck. Great band, so glad we got to meet them and hang out for a week when we played in St Petersburg, unfortunately they had split up before we toured there. They‘re good friends, sometimes life can get in the way of good art. I’m not exactly sure what they have going on right now, they’re all friends and have a good scene in St Petersburg and they have so many projects going on it’s difficult to keep up, they played me some black metal thing they were doing when we were there which sounded great.
We’re up for more split records definitely, we wrote a brand new song from scratch during a recording session for our new album the other day and I guess it’s a spare song left over so we’re actually planning a split with another band right now, nothing is confirmed yet so we’ll have to wait and see, we’re very excited by the new song though, can’t wait to play it live.
You are currently recording your third album, what's the overall theme for this one? Is it a logical step from the last album (You Are Loved)?
Yeah we’ve hired a studio and we are recording it with me at the controls, that freedom has been priceless, we’ve had a lot of fun, there’s only been the three of us there during the recording so far, it’s been by far the best recording experience for us although there’s no toilet at the studio and Ian had to take a shit into a carrier bag outside the studio the other day, the last take of the brand new song was recorded with a drummer with extreme turtle head. Haha. We actually have four other spare songs that didn’t make the album so our plan is to put out an E.P. or 7” or both before the album, in which format we don‘t know yet, maybe cassette or vinyl, that’s coming pretty soon actually, it will showcase a gradual step from our last album, the E.P. will be the step into the new album.
Our new songs are more focused on melody, I got very bored and frustrated with my old style of vocals so I started to sing instead of scream, I’m not sure if the new album is a logical step from “You Are Loved” but the E.P. will be then the album will be the logical step from the EP... if that makes sense, like a Tarantino movie or something.
I think the album will be easier for people to get into. Maybe it’s more accessible, we’ve had really good responses at recent gigs about the new set of songs. This feels like a fresh start again, like kind of a different band, it’s not as sonically heavy but the song writing is much deeper and heavier on the soul, I couldn’t give a fuck if that sounds cheesy cos it‘s true. There is no theme but the songs are much more personal than any I‘ve written before.
Initially I wrote a bunch of songs that we’d played around with a year or so ago and they just didn’t work, they were very dark, I think I wanted to experiment a little too much but the true vibe got lost, I think I wanted to hurt people with our music at the time and it all dawned on me when we tried to work some of them out and Ian just wasn’t comfortable with them, his honesty came out and rescued us, I wasn’t being myself. So over the course of the last 8 months most of the album was written when I was in a better place.
Although some of the riffs were written a long time ago, even before I’d written our first album but back then I never thought to use them for TDOHM.
Do you plan on touring anywhere far flung again soon? I know you've been to Russia and the Ukraine in recent years?
There has been talk of us touring Ukraine and Russia again but we don‘t wanna go until we have released something new. We haven’t toured since that tour well over a year ago and I think it’s helped us focus more on music. Now we’re ready to tour again and we have a UK tour coming up in May with Arabrot, we will go back to Ukraine and Russia but not sure if it will be this year.
I think next year we will be more focused on touring, we’re still unsure when our album will come out yet so it all depends on that. These things are getting harder each year to find labels to help you by ploughing a load of money into some strange band. We are actual weirdo’s too so it’s a lot to ask.
What are your lyrics about these days?
Nothing in particular, they all vary, I like dark humour so I kind of like to set up strange but funny images but not necessarily mean it be true. There’s songs about death on the new album, a lot of people have died around me in recent years, I just wonder where they are in conciousness if any. The more people you know, you more you see pass away and the older I get the more and more fascinated by it I get, basically it scares the shit out of me.
I’m trying not to be so dark but there is a song about someone who self mutilates for escape but then also a song about not being able to run away inside dreams. It’s all with a tinge of dark satire.
Wales always seems to be full of really interesting and engaging bands, what do you think fuels this? Are there any local bands from Newport or Cardiff you think are worth a listen?
It’s cos we have a dragon as a symbol on our flag, we already win at flags in the world, I’m sorry but it is true.
That is about as far as my patriotism goes though, it‘s a cool flag and I like dragons.... seriously though I don’t think it’s got anything to do with Wales, there’s loads of good bands everywhere, in every country.
Compared to England we’re a much smaller country and all the bands pretty much know each other, maybe it’s that which motivates people to start bands. There’s a band called Mars To Stay who I love at the moment, they’re kind of like that very moody Low/Codeine vibe. They’re actually more moody than Codeine, not for the faint-hearted. Also a band called Chain of Flowers are exciting to watch live, they’re just released their first 7” and they’ve been putting the ground work into the touring, there’s a good band called Zinc Bukowski kicking about too. Keep an eye out and also R.Seilog I recently put on with psych Krautrock vibes.
You've been working on some solo recordings recently, can you tell us about that? What do you aim to do with this?
I’ve just played my first gig of new electronic stuff I recorded over a couple of days last year, that’s pretty much it though. I have 100’s of electronic songs that I’ve fucked about with since I was about 15.
I’ve never intended to do anything with them, I enjoy listening to them on rare occasions when I’m drunk on my own. (I mean listening to them is rare, me being drunk is not rare).
I have some earlier music online under the name Everything Special Kid but I’m calling my new stuff Svntreader, this may be the first time where I actually plan to release some electronic music properly but for now it’s just a laugh.
What artwork are you planning for your next release? In the past all your album covers, shirts and the like have had amazing illustrations that go well with the music, are you sticking with that aesthetic?
No we’re not going for anything illustrated anymore, we’re going for photography for our next releases, black and white, very gothic and stark. I actually think for the first time ever we’ve found our aesthetic.
You 'lost' your recordings for the second album at one point due to a hard drive crash, are you taking any precautions this time?
Well, I don’t think there are many things you can do to stop that happening, I think it’s good to have that in the back of your mind but I don’t think there is much you can do. Plus last time when it happened we thought that it would be impossible to get our album back but we did. So if it happens again I’m sure it’s recoverable.
Weird one, but what's your favourite venue in the UK and what's your fave local one?
Very hard question, we always love playing Bannermans in Edinburgh because when you’re a touring band you get given the keys to the flat above the venue and its all your’s, I mean you get a mattress on a fucking floor, that’s super deluxe for us, plus you get to go party in Edinburgh with no worries of pissing off the promoters house mates, nothing to do with the sound though, haha, it‘s just a cave.
Also love playing the Underworld in Camden. Local venue is Le Pub in Newport, such a good vibe and awesome venue. It’s like visiting family when ever we go there. We have Le Pub Christmas dinner and everything. They’ve had some bad times recently and almost shut but Sam who is the manager managed to generate the money to buy the lease so it now lives on thankfully.
What's been your best show ever, and conversely, what's been your absolute worst? Any good heckles you'd care to mention?
Our best was our show in Moscow, was such a great show and our set went well, one of those gigs where everything seems to all come together. Another was in Kharkov in Ukraine, we were the first British band ever to play there and it was packed out and such a good sweaty gig. Got treated so well too.
One of our worst was in the middle of nowhere in Northern Ireland in some Christian community centre, there were only kids and a couple of adults at the gig and the hall was huge, the kids couldn’t be fucked to watch us which was fair enough and we just played awful, kid’s intimidate us, they’re the toughest people to please. They’d tipped this huge mound of popcorn right in front of us too. Was fucking strange. Heckles, it’s usually pretty hard for people to heckle us through all the feedback in between songs.