The new wave of Dark-Pop is upon us, and who better to guide the way than Ms. Natalia Kills
Having just completed her first full European tour with Kelis she will resume touring this Fall but this time with pop pixie Robyn in North America. Natalia’s forthcoming album “The Perfectionist” will be making a quick pit stop in record stores all around the world this January. In December of 2009, she released hype track “Zombie” that was employed with vampiric lyrics and an intriguing beat, which created massive Internet buzz. In early 2010 her “LoveKills” series hit the Internet via her label’s Vevo that gave us a visual look inside Natalia’s mind and ideas. Months later “Activate My Heart” and leading single “Mirrors” dropped along with an album track listing with exciting credits from Dr. Dre’s prodigy and super pop producer Fernando Garibay. With all the anticipation for her debut record I had decided to call up Natalia hours before her Pop Justice x CMJ event where she would perform samples from her new album exclusively for one night only. It’s safe to say, she is ready to kill.
Alex Kazemi: Hi Natalia, How are you?
Natalia Kills: Hi! I’m fine, thank you! How are you?
Kazemi: I’m good! I know you just got off tour with Kelis. How was it performing the new material?
Natalia Kills: It’s wonderful! A few of my song leaked but it actually worked out to be a good thing because people were singing along right from the beginning to the end of the show. It’s really nice to be discovered and to be able to create a world that I can really invite people into in a live environment. It’s brilliant!
Kazemi: Ah yes! I saw some of your songs leaked, I really refuse to listen because I usually wait for the album. How do you feel about what the whole music industry has come to with this whole viral epidemic?
Natalia Kills: I think it’s wonderful, I feel that the world is acting so immediately to everything that we should be more appreciative of what’s going on. It’s amazing to me that I can express myself on something like Twitter and five thousand people (my followers) can tell me their opinion and give me their thoughts back and then it becomes a much more, personal and intimate relationship that you have with your audience. You become more unified. You get to grow with them and let them express what they like and what they’re enthusiastic about which gives you a good way to directly know what direction to continue in to make people happy and to keep expressing yourself in the most productive way, I love it.
Kazemi: Isn’t it kind of a facade? Don’t you want them to still buy the music they’re listening too?
Natalia Kills: Yeah…. I guess so! I don’t make music to make money; I was making albums when I was a waitress… I was literally making songs when I was thirteen, when I didn’t have or need to have job. It’s just my method of expression and this is how I survive by expressing myself and getting all my opinions and frustrations out there in a way that can be celebrated by people who have similar feelings. So for me it goes this way, I simply want people to have my music, if they can’t afford to buy it, I want you to have it anyway. It is a sad world that we live in that we need money to make things work and if people don’t buy it, it means I’m less likely to have a second album, it’s probably going to take away from a video budget, and the video might not be as good. All the other unfortunate things that go with it, it will be sold in less places, people will hear about it and less people will spend money on marketing it then different countries might not have access to it, it’s a big shame we need money to make music to continue to survive but I want people to listen to my music anyway, regardless. If they choose to listen to illegally, that’s the way they want the music. It’s their decision! I’m just happy they’re listening to it.
Kazemi: I’m still going to purchases songs and I encourage other people to buy music as well! It’s beautiful how you are so appreciative of people even getting a chance to listen to the music! I know before the “kills” came into the picture, you were known as “Natalia Capuccini” the MySpace music star who created electro pop music about what a perfect woman would be… I know the robot influence has still stuck, where did you make the transition from being Natalia Cappuccini to Natalia Kills? Was this when you met Will.Iam?
Natalia: I’m so glad you know all of this… It’s funny, it’s really a transition like you said, and it’s not really a change. I made the Womannequin- EP. It was kinda like a demo cd for me and that’s when I met Will. It was all about the perfect women and it was Electronic and it was pop and that’s exactly what I’m doing now, my album is called “The Perfectionist” and it’s about seeking through the struggle and celebrating the imperfections of life, for example: heartbreak, betrayal, being broke, being lost. That’s exactly what my album is about, now it’s just the evolution from my beginning. My real name is Natalia Cappucini and the kills came into it when I first signed with Cherry Tree and people encouraged me to be extremely direct about who I am, so people immediately get to know me and as perfection. What do you do when you’re looking for the best?
Kazemi: Oh yeah! I get it now [laughs]
Natalia: [laughs] it’s when you want to kill it. Yeah! So it’s Natalia Kills
Kazemi: Did you catch Will when he was working on the Black Eyed Peas record “The E.N.D?” When his whole futuristic/electric inspiration era came in…
Natalia: Before that. Way before that! It was right after he had done his solo album, after the Fergie album… So before he was going to start working on the Black Eyed Peas album, he had decided he wanted to have a new alias/DJ. He worked on a project called Zuper Blahq, he was really getting into house and electro before it was even that popular. I’d been listening to at the time a lot of Sebastian, Daft Punk and that kind of music and we really just gelled together… My music has a very electronic feel in the moment in a kind of reference Giorgio Romoda. It’s not house music, it’s not even dance music to be honest but it still has a very euphoric feel.
Kazemi: Yeah, the production brings that.
Natalia: Yeah in the production, exactly. It has a drama to it, suspense, and emotion. That’s how I have interpreted the whole movement me and Will initially met through.
Kazemi: You met Justin Timberlake and Timbaland too right? Was that for album sessions or only on label terms?
Natalia: It was on label terms, a lot of artists that are looking to develop and expand into every area of music because they want to give back and they want to see the qualities in new artists that they’ve obviously had in themselves and they want to give fresh people opportunities. Even though it was great, it was wonderful. Timbaland flew me to Miami; we met in London before and hung out there first. Same with Justin Timberlake. It was really nice but when I met Will, I said to myself this is the guy. He’s really not about making a sound for you, he’s about making the sound that already exists within you, so its true to you and unique and personal to you.
Kazemi: Would you say you guys are chemically alike?
Natalia: I believe so; we share the same view point. Music is a celebration and the honesty that exists within all of us and how you want to express it should be the way you approach music. Will loved the party scene, he loved the LA scene that’s how he expresses his music with The Black Eyed Peas and it’s very fun but with me, it’s much darker and at the same it’s still a celebration and still fun in the music but I approach it in a much more dramatic way!
Kazemi: Yes, the top 40 stuff is nice sometimes but having a break from it is always good. I am going to be quite honest with you, I was shocked when I found out “Mirrors” was produced by Akon as he does so much generic top 40 stuff, it’s very dark and fresh and exotic and something that was really cleansing to listen to as everything else on the radio sounds the same, same chord progressions, same party-lets-get-f******-drunk-and-have-sex lyrics. I can’t figure out what the song is about, does it fall into the ‘everyone is a perfectionist’ muse?
Natalia: Being a perfectionist is about vanity and the self obsession and control and I really wanted to express this on the track “Mirrors.” It’s not just self obsession, its also self critique. When you do have a certain level of self analysis, you know you really want control over everything like a perfectionist does, it can over lap into intimate situations and more hedonistic situations, I really wanted to make a celebration about desire, control and vanity in a song. When I first started working on the song, I was really inspired by the Eurhythmics and when I was expressing that to Akon, we really pushed it in that direction and a lot of people were comparing it to [Natalia sings "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by the Eurhythmics.] It’s very moody.
Kazemi: It takes you to a realm.
Natalia: Yeah! It’s hypnotic but at the same time it’s just me being myself within that parameter, I had a lot of fun with that song.
Kazemi: Was it a bit more explicit in its early stages?
Natalia: Totally! I don’t know if that version leaked but Akon was like “It would be so funny, if this was this lyric.” Of course, we were having a laugh it was probably 5:30 in the morning, so I was like “Hahaha! Ok! Why not!” There is always more provocative versions because you’re in the studio and you’re expressing so quickly. With some of my songs I’ve changed the lyrics fifty million times because I don’t rest until I’m satisfied and you know just because I’m a song-writer doesn’t mean I get it right absolutely every single time… So I’m pretty sure, a million versions of everything will eventually explode into the world but that was a really fun moment with Akon, it was just as crazy as possible.
Kazemi: Did you write most of the album during the night?
Natalia: Definitely, I don’t think I can write in the day.
Kazemi: So the rest of the album must rub off from “Mirrors?” Lyrically, what inspired you and how did you become obsessed with perfection and how did one word, idea, goal become such a creative galaxy in your dimension?
Natalia: Wow! Amazing! Well it’s interesting; I just really believe were all perfectionists. You know what it’s like when you’re a kid and your teacher asks you “Oh! What do you want to be when you grow up?” You are told stories and fairy tales, the prince and the princess and the knight fought the battle and the king and the queen and they won and everything is “I want to be an astronaut or I want to be a model.” We are all taught from day one of our existence to follow an ideal and good is good and that’s an ideal you should have and evil is bad and you shouldn’t want to surround yourself around anything bad.. Crime is bad, marriage and love is good… Don’t be too ambitious or you’ll get disappointed! Don’t try to get an artist job and get a degree and don’t be a singer and move to Hollywood [Laughs.] Were filled with this train of ideas and then were told “Don’t be too idealistic.” My album and perfectionism is really about all of us, we all want the ideal… You know when you go on a date or you look for a job interview! You really are looking for the best! You go shopping, you don’t want the crappy coat, and you want the fresh coat. You don’t want the crappy shoes that have no style, you want the sick ones. That’s what it is, were all perfectionists were all looking for the ideal. Now the only thing I have to tell you are the album has nothing to do with perfection, perfectionism and perfection are absolutely separate. It’s about dealing with things that have gone horribly wrong, dealing with struggle in the most perfect way and finding happiness through imperfection, through heartache, through betrayal, through being broke and not being successful. That’s what perfectionism is about to me, finding happiness through the disappointment.
Kazemi: It’s extremely fascinating and exciting! It’s incredible what inspiration can create! As a debut album your songwriting/producing credits stand out nicely, you have Fernando Garibay covering the super pop, Akon, Jeff Bhasker and Ron Feemster, who did Early 2000 Brandy, the last Michael Jackson record and worked for Dr. Dre covering the R&B light. Working on this album, did you go into the project intentionally knowing you would oblige from having all these different sounds on one record or did it happen organically?
Natalia: I don’t know if you know I don’t just write my own songs, I co produce. So when I went into the studio with all these producers, I played exactly how I needed my sound to be like. What was wonderful is that they are all incredible musicians as well as incredible producers. So, they literally interpreted my idea in their most expressive way, the album only has one sound and that’s the Natalia Kills sound, it’s my sound. It’s because when we working on the music, everyone gave their own interpretation of their experience of being in my presence, working with me and being friends with me and laughing… I knew what I wanted and I was very specific, it’s my sound and it has to be dramatic and suspenseful, it’s inspired by film, Kate Bush, Queen, Depeche Mode. Everything, even rock bands Hendrix, Sex Pistol… When I went in the studio and had the opportunity to really explain to people my specific desires, they really did a wonderful job on interoperating a vision and sound that was created together!
Kazemi: What do you want a listener to get out of listening to your music? Do you want them to become robots and start to think that someone needs to activate someones heart; boys are zombies, mirrors cracks? If someone who has never heard of your music and they listen to it, what would you want their first impression and thought in their mind to be?
Natalia: My music is honest, it’s a celebration of every situation and every emotion and that’s how I want people to feel. I don’t want people to feel like “Oh I can only be happy and dance to a dance track that’s talking about I’m drinking in a club and taking shots and shaking my body.” I want people to dance through the pain and through the suffering and if you don’t even have money to buy a drink, you are still dancing and having fun through that. It’s not necessarily about dancing; it’s about enjoyment and relating. So, for my music it’s really about a celebration of everything! “Love Is A Suicide!” The darkness of wonderland, the hedonism of mirrors, it’s about being able to celebrate every-situation. The heartbreak, the defeat, the disappointment, the betrayal and being able to really fist pump and dance through that!
Catch Natalia on tour with Robyn this fall:
11/5 – The Fillmore in Miami Beach, FL
11/6 – Club Firestone in Orlando, FL
11/7 – The Ritza Ybor in Tampa,FL
11/8 – Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, GA
11/10 – Terminal 5 in New York, NY
11/12 – The Sound Academy in Toronto, ON
11/13 – Metro in Chicago, IL
11/14 – Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis, MN
11/17 – Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA
11/19 – Venue Vancouver in Vancouver, BC
11/20 – Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR
11/21 – Neumos in Seattle, WA
11/23 – The Warfield in San Francisco, CA
and buy her Remix EP of her debut single, Mirrors
, on iTunes tomorrow.
LINK LOVE: Alex Kazemi