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Going in for the Kills

After a decade together and four solid records to show for it, the Kills may have gone from a small-room buzz band to a large venue spectacle.

After a decade together and four solid records to show for it, the Kills may have gone from a small-room buzz band to a large venue spectacle — but, at their core, few things have changed for singer Alison Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince.

“When we started out, we used to rehearse in a soundproof cupboard that a carpentry company made for us,” says Hince. “The stages got bigger, but the electricity between Alison and I is the most important part, and it exists on any sized stage.”

While the two have never had trouble turning heads on their own, their recent time apart has brought even more attention to the band. Mosshart was recruited by Jack White to be the singer of his latest project, the Dead Weather, while Hince spent much of his time dodging the relentless paparazzi that become an everyday reality when you’re dating Kate Moss.

Regrouping in 2009, the Kills holed up in rural Michigan to record “Blood Pressures.” Released earlier this month, the album features a gospel choir and continues to defy the sonic limitations associated with being a two-piece.

“I’ve always been thinking about how to expand our sound,” says Hince. “If we just continue on with drums, guitar and vocals, all we can do is write different songs and play them in the same format.”

Remake, remodel

Hince says he found inspiration for the new Kills sound from Roxy Music’s debut.

“I love the way that that record is so emotive and they use all these different instruments to target different heartstrings that a guitar can’t,” he says. “So I started thinking about how we could do that. I tried to figure out how to make the guitar sound like an organ. ... Then I started on the thought of using gospel singers to get a different feeling. Then I bought a mellotron! I just wanted to get lost in it all and write songs with different instruments. With Alison on the road I had more time to experiment. I was making mistakes that I wasn’t afraid to make.”

 
 
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