The Return of the Kidneythieves Part 2: An Interview
In Part 1 of our conversation with Bruce Somers and Free Dominguez of the resurgent Kidneythieves, we spoke about places the band had been and what it took to get to this point. Now, the topic turns to where the band goes from here. With the "Invisible Plan" EP quickly coming together, we talk about the new music, the emotions of going out on the road, working with KMFDM, and naturally, the band's favorite horror films.
Bruce: We’re experimenting a little a bit, too. You know, “Trypt0fanatic” was really heavy, so at the end of that CD, I personally didn’t feel we had total balance of the mellow groove, Portishead-y kind of sounds, and the really heavier stuff that we’re kind of known for. I think it was a lot heavier sounding. We definitely wanted to make sure we had some groove on this release. And electronically, yes, Free and I have been pushing to try things out electronically instead of just rocking out, and sort of balancing that while making sure the songs still have a heavy feel to it. There will definitely be some surprises on there.
Free: There’s definitely territory that we haven’t covered with it.
Bruce: Then we can eat. We got to eat first, and then we’re gonna tour.
Free: I actually would tour and then eat because they provide the food when you’re on tour. I really like the idea of connecting all the stories on the album and then there’s an evolution. “Trypt0fanatic” is about the dream and the waking life and how to blend the two. This is, to me, coming out of that, that sort of material, and now you’re dealing with the waking life, but you have all your dreams right there, what do you do with it. How do you survive? How do you exist? And that’s how I see this, and then this will thread into the story of our next full album.
Bruce: I think Pandora is amazing, give a little shout-out to them, too. She’ll send me a Pandora station that she’s digging, and it’s right on track. It’s amazing how in the old days it was all about radio, you realize now, maybe kids don’t know, but the limitations of radio compared to what Pandora has to offer, are unbelievable. Having gotten into that a little bit and having stuff come at me, it’s amazing. Truthfully, we didn’t have that in the day. We had a lot of music and record stores and things like that, but it’s great to be able to jump online and be inspired like that. That’s exciting.
Free: I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. Jazz, Brazilian and rap. I listen to a lot of rap, The Roots are one of my favorites ever. And I was listening to a lot of rap and I was listening to a lot of electronic, and then I heard this remix, Modeselektor, “Dark Side of the Sun,” and it just completely. Blew. My. Mind. Just the programming and the groove and the way the lyrics were. I remember that as a defining moment of ‘this is another level of electronic that I’m really, really digging.’
Free: You know, Bruce just got this amazing new synthesizer that has great sound, and I think we get inspired, like I said. What it does is it fuels us to want to create something. He’ll start playing some sounds, and it will get me just as excited as say, when I heard that remix. I don’t think we ever come in and say ‘I want it to sound like Justice’ or something like that.
Bruce: It’s interesting, I think there’s another side of the coin to that, where you get into ruts, where you’ll be thinking a certain way, and having to repeat yourself, and it takes a little bit of proactive effort to actually get yourself out of that headspace. First of all to realize you are writing the same thing, possibly, and move yourself out of that a little bit. Luckily I’m in a great partnership with Free, and she’ll pick that out a lot.
Free: I’ll be like ‘No! No! No!”
Bruce: But on my own, it’s been something that on “Invisible Plan,” I’ve been trying to push myself a little bit. I even told my manager the other day that I really need the time to do that. Because it takes a concerted effort to break yourself out of a mold. Even if it sounds good, even if it sounds like Kidneythieves, it has some heavy guitars and goes from there. But that’s something we’ve been thinking about a little bit, and there will definitely be a couple tracks that are breaking down into something a little different.
Free: I think someone who did that, too, was Linkin Park. They got excited about making a record again, and they totally broke it down and [were] trying new pieces of gear and getting a new sound and really breaking out of that. I think that’s a good example of someone who kept doing what they were doing, but really pushes themselves and I think that’s a great record that they made.
Bruce: You never know. There’s definitely no hesitation but you never know. The thing about it is getting up there. The best feeling in the world is playing live shows and just being at your best. So, we really want to go out day one and be there again. It takes a little time to work it up, but generally speaking, last show that we did, we didn’t know what to expect, and it was like picking up like we never left off. It was packed and sold out and it was incredible. We were really, really, really psyched to be doing it, so that’s the bottom line.
Bruce: The truth of the matter is that genre stuff has a lot to do with marketing. In order to figure out how to market, they need to try to fit you into something. And that’s fine, I don’t have any problems with trying to get us out to people that may or may not listen to us. Certainly, no one’s going to put in a category with Celine Dion, but Free can sing an incredibly beautiful ballad and the key for us, the way I feel about it at least…you’re going to know it’s Kidneythieves from Free’s very distinctive vocals and some production that we lay into it. So that’s the most important thing to me, that it is alternative, it comes off as distinctive, and maybe jumps out a little but because I don’t think anyone sounds like that.
Bruce: We would love to, we would love to go out with them, with KMFDM. And truthfully, the best thing is going out with bands that you’re friends with and that sound great, and you get to make it a great experience. A lot of times it’s an opening band that gets to tour and they’re friends and you know, people will know when it’s a good show, and not just a crappy opening band and a great headliner. It’s a really ‘wow, they both were awesome,’ and that’s a great thing, too.
Bruce: You know, Rob [Zombie] is amazing.
Free: Zombie’s the best. He’s the king. We were also in “Bride of Chucky.” We had a song in there, which was awesome. It’s gotten like two and a half million hits on Youtube.
Bruce: That was kind of campy. Which was funny.
Free: Oh, and I love “Shawn of the Dead.” And I like “Zombieland.” Oh my God, “True Blood.” I am the biggest “True Blood” fan. For sure. Alan Ball is my hero, and everything he’s ever done is incredible. I would love it to get a song on that show.
Bruce: Can you make that happen, please? Thank you.