Kitzl is an up-and-coming art pop producer and composer hailing from Guelph, Ontario, Canada whose ambient pop-creations have wowed audiences at Hillside Inside Festival and Kazoo! Fest, as well as seen substantial media support, including features in Canadian Beats, New Noise Magazine, Ride The Tempo and Aesthetic Magazine. We asked her some questions about her new album ’40 Moons That We Know Of’, her recent single “Wizard Girls”, her creative process, her influences and inspirations, and her future plans.
COUNTERZINE: How are you today?
Kitzl: Feeling pretty neato. Thanks for interviewing me!
CZ: Tell us a little about yourself.
Kitzl: Hi! I write/record/produce electronic, ambient, pop-ish music. I have a cute dog and I like space and birds and star trek and I want to scuba dive.
CZ: You released your debut album 40 Moons That We Know Of this past April. How was the experience putting everything together, and what artistic goals did you have and what messages did you hope to convey going in? Did they change as the process un-folded?
Kitzl: I really just wanted to experiment and play with sounds. I like trying to stretch the boundaries of pop and electronic music a little, just for the fun of it. Above all, I find it cathartic to put sounds together that feel unearthly to me, and hopefully it is for the listener to hear them too.
CZ: The album was released via Pink Lemonade Records and we noticed that one of the formats was cassette. Is this a medium you particularly wanted to release on, and can you remember the first cassette you ever owned? If so, what was it?
Kitzl: I’m kind of re-discovering cassettes now. When I was really little I used to listen to children’s and classical cassettes at night to fall asleep but that kind of disappeared as I got older, especially after I got a CD player. Now I’ve been listening to some of my musician friends’ cassettes and really enjoying them! Pink Lemonade reached out to me and offered to help me make a physical release happen. They suggested cassettes and I was all for it. It was really fun to design them and hear my stuff on that format.
CZ: Something we find particularly interesting about your music is the aspect of acquiring organic field recordings, then bending them to supplement songs that could very broadly be described as pop. When writing music, do these samples inspire the songs, or do the songs inspire the samples?
Kitzl: I think it actually is that the samples inspire the songs lately. Once I get some samples and small musical patterns I’m really into, the songs seem make themselves on top of that. Once in a while I start a song in a more traditional way with a piano or guitar and my voice. I think it’s probably obvious when that happens; you can hear it on “Waterfall” and “40 moons”.
CZ: What and who would you say are some of your foremost musical influences?
Kitzl: With my current stuff I think Baths, Empress Of, Sigur Rós, Bon Iver, Grimes, M.I.A. have all have been pretty inspiring.
CZ: You noted that your most recent single “Wizard Girls” was originally conceived in a hurry for a fashion show you were performing at, later to be molded into what it is now. Is this a regular method of writing for you, or do you generally approach songwriting in a different manner? If so, how?
Kitzl: The pressure was a new thing for me. Usually it’s all play and I just go at my own pace. It was kind of maddening but it also felt like I was doing something important which I liked. It was worth it, I think it’s the ‘strongest’ song on the album by typical standards. It’s also the last one I made so I had grown a lot from producing all the songs before it. I’m thinking my next album will be a tangent of “Wizard Girls”.
CZ: If you had to pick a non-single/deep cut from 40 Moons That We Know Of for everyone in the world to hear, what would it be and why?
Kitzl: Probably “üiüiüi”. I really like the textures and the way it morphs. It’s a very visual song to me, almost more like a soundtrack piece. I dunno, it’s maybe not super palatable, but it’s my favorite because it really takes me away from Earth.
CZ: So far, you’ve released music videos for “Armadilla”, “GSF”, and “40 moons”. Could you describe the concepts behind these videos? How important do you feel videography is for complimenting your music? Are more on the way?
Kitzl: Yes, I’m releasing a video soon for “Wizard Girls”! For the “Wizard Girls” vid I got to collaborate with an awesome pro videographer- That Good Graphic, and I’m really excited about how it’s turned out. I think it really brings the song to life and it’s very beautiful and mystical.
The “Armadilla”, “GSF”, and “40 moons” videos were all filmed on impulse with my smartphone in a couple nights. I sound like a parrot but again, they were really just me learning and experimenting with videography and editing the same way I did with the album. I originally had big concepts and plans for them but once we got filming and set up the scenes, I ended up just focusing on narrating the songs with movement and cool shots. My friend did an awesome job with the camera work and read me really well.
CZ: Where might people be able to see Kitzl live?
Kitzl: So far, mostly around Ontario, but I’m working on branching out. I’m playing in Montreal, Guelph, Toronto, Windsor, and at Riverfest in Elora this summer.
CZ: What was your favorite artist or band that you’ve played a show with so far?
Kitzl: I really liked playing with a Montreal band called TEKE::TEKE at Hillside Inside. They were really theatrical and unique, “blending Japanese ‘Eleki’ with elements of modern music such as shoegaze, post-rock and noise” (from their Bandcamp bio because I don’t know how to describe them eloquently).
CZ: If there was just one thing you wanted everyone to know about Kitzl that hasn’t been covered, what would it be?
Kitzl: Kitzl is working on growing gills.