Put out into the world in 2019, Kitka's debut "K" was hailed as an excellent project introduction; the atmospheric electropop that founders Frida and Fredrik conjured on "K" are phenomenal. March of 2020 saw the release of Kitka's first single 'Le Quit', which has been steadily followed up by more singles including 'Bones', 'Claudia', and - most recently - the stunning 'Over You'. I bought the track last Bandcamp Friday and have been steadily incorporating it into my personal playlists. That being said, the ever inventive duo takes us on a visual trip with this single as well as they have produced a wicked music video. Featuring tracksuit clad, digital-mask wearing performers, you can stream the video directly below. Following the video, we have a chat with Frida and Fredrik regarding both music video, the band's history, as well as a bit of a surprise announcement.
Hello Kitka and thanks for joining us! Let's start off with a warm-up question: What are three of your favorite albums of all time and why?
Fredrik: Radiohead's "Pablo Honey". As a young metal head I saw 'Creep' on MTV, which blew me away. At that point in time I thought I could only listen to heavy music, so ordering "Pablo Honey" through mail order was something done in secrecy. It was just me and that record. I played it to death, but still love it. Sigur Ros' "Takk…”. I’d say this is peak Sigur Ros. If you ever want to get into this band, but haven’t, this is the record for you. An album I can both sleep AND run to. Hypocrisy's "Abducted”. This album came out in 1996, just when I got access to the internet, so searching for lyrics and photos around that time was not an easy task. Being a UFO-fanatic, Peter Tägtren’s lyrics about alien abductions and experiments really hit a nerve in me.
Frida: Moderat's "II”. Probably my favorite band of all time, and I’ve listened through this album time and time again. It’s just perfection to me. Gesaffelstein's "Aleph”. I just love the harsh electronic underground vibes on this album. I saw him live in Stockholm a couple of years ago and I don’t think I’ve danced that much at a concert ever. Sóley's "We Sink”. An Icelandic artist that really inspires me with her playful arrangements. Check her out.
So, how did you two meet? And when did the idea of Kitka come up?
Frida: Sundsvall is a pretty small town up in the northern parts of Sweden. Since we are both musicians, we kinda hung around the same places, went to the same shows, and shared a lot of mutual friends. So we’ve known of each other for years and years but didn’t really become friends until 2016. The idea of Kitka was really created by Fredrik in 2017. I was living in Stockholm at the time and he in Sundsvall. He wrote to me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to start a band and go to Japan. I replied, hell yes. Six months later I had moved back to Sundsvall and we started to record what was then later to be our debut ”K”.
Fredrik: It was right there and then I realized I had found the perfect band member, haha. Who in their right mind says yes to that? Frida did, and here we are.
Where does the name Kitka stem from? Does it have a meaning?
Frida: Kitka was never the obvious choice of a name, at least not in the beginning. We sat down several nights and tried coming up with a fitting name for our music. A lot of ideas were written down, amongst them was Kitka. I think it took us a good month before us deciding to go with Kitka. The word has a meaning and it’s something special to the both of us.
Fredrik: Kitka was one of the first names that was thrown around. We actually really liked it at first, but in the midst of brainstorming it got lost. At some point we just said to each other: it’s Kitka isn’t it? It is.
Tell me a little bit about the style of Kitka. It seems retro-futuristic; track suits, visors, and platform boots. What inspired this style?
Frida: Our style isn’t made up in any way, it comes from our personal wardrobe and we never really had to think about it that much. Being a 90’s kid I’m very inspired by the style that was hot back then. The platforms, sportswear and neon colors. I think for both of us we also take a lot of inspiration from other artists and movies. We’re both big fans of Die Antwoord and their original style. Movie wise, I’m really into Blade Runner, The 5th Element, and overall movies with a futuristic touch. The style in those movies are just amazing to me.
Fredrik: I grew up in the 80s, so that has of course had an impact on me. Both visually and musically, maybe more visually. We got thrown into finding out what Kitka is when going on our first tour, but I would say we realized the formula pretty quick. We’re not too far from each other when it comes to being adventurous with everything surrounding Kitka, so the style kinda came easy.
You seem to draw from a wide line of genres. Electropop, darkwave, synthpop, and even soul. What is the process for writing a song? Do you ever think about what genre you want to tackle first or do you guys just make a beat and see where it goes?
Frida: If I try to involve my brain in any way when making a track, that’s where it fails. Sure, I can sometimes have a feeling of what kind of genre I want to push against, but often it just turns out being something completely different in the end. Our process varies when making tracks, but it often stems from me doing something in Logic, sending it to Fredrik and going like ”I don’t think this is a Kitka track, but.. it’s pretty good huh?” Then we start working on it together, realizing it totally is a Kitka track. 'Over You' is a perfect example of a track that I was one second away from not sending cause I thought it was a too far from our sound. In the end it turned out to be just perfect for us.
Fredrik: I often read / listen to Frida's lyrics and interpret it in a way that suits me. I’ve even misheard them and went on a completely different path than ”intended”. Like when writing 'Bones', Frida had these first lines of lyrics, which I took and ran with. I tried to complete her story and keep the theme of the song. It turned out my theme and Frida’s theme were completely different, but when analyzed together they both worked perfect with each other.
You've a new single out titled 'Over You'. To me it reads like a break-up song. In your own words, however, what is the single about?
Frida: For me it’s about being in a relationship that you feel and know, isn’t good for you, but it’s still hard to leave or break it off. This can be in relation to family, a friend or a partner. It’s about struggling with feeling one way and doing another.
To me, the production and quality on this single is higher than your debut. Have you recorded this single any differently than you've recorded in the past? Do you think you matured in music production?
Frida: Yeah, with our debut we did almost everything by ourselves, in our home studios in Sundsvall. We also worked on a strict deadline since our Japan tour was booked and we needed all of the songs to be done by then. We’re very proud over ”K” and what we put together, but we’ve had more time to develop and work with the tracks released after that. We also started to record in our friend Jonas’ studio LV5 in Sundsvall, and worked with our friend and session drummer Pablo Wilton.
You've been releasing a steady stream of singles since last year that began with 'Le Quit'. Are these singles teasing a debut, full-length album? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
Fredrik: After releasing our debut ”K”, we’ve been busy touring. Playing live was one of the major forces in forming this band. We had several tours and live shows lined up for 2020, but with everything going on in the world we were forced to postpone them. This gave us more time to focus on song writing and you’re absolutely right that this stream of singles are leading up to a debut album, we were just not sure as to when we wanted to release it. As a Brutal Resonance exclusive we’re happy to tell you that it’s dropping later this year!
And let's talk about that music video above! Who directed it? What is it about? Give us the details.
Fredrik: The video is shot and edited by Maáyan Grolman and features Eila Wall Boholm and Emilia Wibron Vesterlund as two faceless entities. Kitka came up with the story and wrote the script, but a lot of things were brainstormed during the shoot. It was an amazing experience working together with these women, and with this being our first official music video (not counting the live video for 'Shadows') we’re so happy with not only the outcome, but everything else leading up the point where you upload the finished product online.
Lastly, I would like to thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck and leave the space below for you to mention anything I may have missed. Cheers!
Frida: Thanks for having us! All we can say for now is keep your eyes open for live dates when calmer times return to the world. A lot of plans are being made and hopefully we’ll have many things to share with you in the upcoming future.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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