Scandi girl Kill J makes electro-pop about the pains of being a teen, pitched an octave higher than your average bemoaning youth with sugared synths.
You know when you spend a while on your party look, you’re feeling fabulous and no-one notices your new dress? We’ve all been there. Kill J has even written a song about it. “I got my new dress on / You haven’t noticed / My feet are locked to the floor,” she sings on “Cold Stone”, finally someone’s put these emotions into words with a beat we can dance to, Julie Aagaard then puts it bluntly, “I want to go home”.
With all the sweet falsetto’s favoured by 2015’s darlings, the girls of PC Music, Kill J does things a little less sickly with drum machine beats that wouldn’t be out of place amongst a chart-filled playlist on any dance floor. “Cold Stone” might be a portrait of the artist as a young girl, of her former self, but we’re all still bitter about those days too. Citing the track as her own take on bubblegum pop and an ode to “the imperfect and maladjusted person”, we can only guess what Aagaard could imagine up about perfection. After reassessing our wardrobes and styling ourselves on her girl gang depicted in her new video, we quizzed Aagaard on her new track, classical training and journalistic background.
You once stated in an interview that Kill J grew out of a previous project, what happened there and how did Kill J originally come about?
That’s true. I think honestly, it was just one of those I´m-sick-of-this, lets-try-something-new kinda things. The music was too complicated and needed a good slaughter…. So the only thing to do, was to start killing off all elements that didn’t have a purpose.
And what inspired the name?
The name describes that kill-your-darlings process, but it also felt really good to verbally manifest the death of me – me, as in my private self. I am an insecure person and I think I needed a way of separating myself from the music in order to feel free to really write what I wanted.
You were trained as a classical singer so have a background in music but how have you used your training when creating your new sound?
My training makes me feel strong – like a bodybuilder. But honestly, I think I try to forget about my training when deciding on what I want the vocals to do in a song. Because in classical music, there is often a correct way of doing things, and thats not a good place to start, when you want to create something new. But then, once I have made my creative choices, I use my training to get where I want to go vocally and it helps me achieve that.
This is your third release, how do you feel you’ve improved over the past year?
(Actually, its my fourth release, if you count You Have Another Lover – the b-side to “Bullet”… :D)
I don’t know if I have improved. I think, that I might not be the best judge of that. But I know, that I have learned a lot about how to communicate with an audience. How to channel my nervous energy. How to not be scared of rotten tomatoes and just trust, that the stories, I write, are interesting and relevant enough.
“Cold Stone” is a tribute to the imperfect and maladjusted person – can you talk us through what inspired the lyrics?
I wrote the song to my former teenage self. I think that loneliness is a great source of inspiration. I was very lonely back then – and when I meet people who are also on the outside of something – their loneliness is like this great silent potential waiting to explode…
It’s also your ‘bubblegum track’, why is this?
Haha… I think that was just I way of describing the naivety of the aesthetic – the soundscape and the lyrics.
What do you prefer, recording or performing live?
They are to very different aspect of my job. And both are incredible and rewarding. So its difficult, but I think my favourite part is still the time in the studio producing the tracks – finding the right sounds and rhythms and just nerding out…
And what’s been your best live performance to date?
I think the first time I really broke out of my shell on stage. I was playing a festival in Germany. It was a technical mess…. All channels and input were not where they were supposed to be and my sound technician was pulling his hair out in the back of the room. But all that frustration made me forget myself. So I just lost it and channeled it all into the music. And It felt so right.
You’re currently working on your debut album, what can we expect to hear on it?
Lyrically, I’m coming from a very dark place. I feel I´ve been through a transformation through this process where I feel I´m much more in control. But I’ve had to shed some layers during this last year, and I think you´ll be able to hear that in the music.
You’ve got a really distinctive, unique look, do you think the way you dress/look is an important part of being a performer?
I used to think it wasn’t relevant. But now, I think its important to be visually stimulating also. I see it as yet another tool to explain the aesthetic. Helping you create a fuller picture. And for me, I new that I wanted to look like the music.
You dedicated “Bullet” to all the ‘victims of other peoples bullshit convictions’, How much of yourself do you put into your song writing?
Most of my songs have a biographical base. They are poetically enhanced, of course, but they are stories from my life – “Bullet” included.
You used to be a journalist and are have an MA in journalism, do you feel being a writer has helped when writing music?
Yes. I don’t think I’ve used my journalistic background in my lyrical writing though. But I also have a BA in Literature, which I think has helped me a lot.
Do you think you’ll ever go back to being a journalist?
Maybe… Who knows. Storytelling is a strong component in everything I do. And I love that part of being a journalist.
Can you tell us about the Copenhagen music scene and what it’s like to be a musician there?
I feel that Copenhagen is really gearing up. And I have a strong feeling that you´ll be seeing a lot of really interesting Danish exports in the next couple of years. I feel that the Danish music scene is going through transformation – going from an introverted approach to a much more open and accessible mindset.
And finally, where do you see yourself in ten years time?
I haven’t planned that far. I don’t know what I´m doing next month… 🙂