Kite Base are preparing for a big summer as their debut album, Latent Whispers, drops in May ahead of their Field Day appearance the following month. And if you caught them play Kamio recently you’ll know just why this is exciting news.
The bandmates of Kendra Frost and Ayse Hassan (of Savages fame) operate as a seamless unit who can simultaneously channel the nocturnal voodoo of Sixousie Sioux and the experimental pop daring of Laurie Anderson. That’s no mean feat.
But if you didn’t catch their Kamio set you have a chance to see what you missed with the video of their first single off the album, Transition. It’s a stunning, multi-camera effort that captures the band’s trademark visual that seem to react to the music as Kendra handles the heavenly vocals and Ayse powers deep into the groove.
The band is no stranger to making eye-catching videos. They recently released a cover of the Nine Inch Nails tune Something I Can Never Have, which quickly caught the attention of Trent Reznor himself.
We caught up with Kendra ahead of the band’s highly-anticipated Field Day set and grilled her on her favourite five albums. And yes, Nine Inch Nails feature once again as she credits The Fragile for blowing her musical mind. Here’s what she had to say:
Radiohead – OK Computer
I was brought up pretty exclusively on a diet of The Beatles, Sky and Mike Oldfield. My mum was a bookworm more than anything, so although I grew up surrounded by incredible words and pictures, there wasn’t a huge amount else music wise readily available to me at the time – her remaining Hendrix cassette tapes had long been sealed shut with sellotape, and rightly so, after I was caught eating them as a toddler; the downside being they’d been fastened so well we could never open them again so all I could do was daydream at what they may have sounded like from looking at the album artwork. We had a piano, so I’d make sounds on that instead, composing nonsensical little tunes which satisfied something within me. I pretty much hated what I heard outside of my Beatles bubble in ‘popular’ chart music at the time. I had my beloved Sony Walkman and John, Paul, George and Ringo lived in it and it was a happy place, thank you very much! Then 1997 happened and suddenly this incredible artwork started appearing in magazines and I gazed at it the way I had done those Hendrix tapes, trying to imagine the affiliated sounds they represented. It was too tantalising to bear. I was going on a family package holiday with my mum and grandparents and my dear granddad, ever true to his kind nature, asked me if there was anything at all that I wanted from duty free. I pointed at the cassette form of OK Computer. I don’t think I muttered a word that entire fortnight. John, Paul, George and Ringo moved out of Sony Walkman land and in came Thom, Colin, Jonny, Ed and Phil. And they stayed there, exclusively for a very, very long time. The album compelled me to pick up my first guitar.
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92
After Radiohead opened the floodgates of potential and confirmed there was good noise out there other than The Beatles, I started buying ‘NOW!’ tapes so to get a general taster as to what else there might potentially be. I used to play them while I did my homework and it was always NOW! 2 that broke my concentration the most. Dance music. I absolutely loved it. The NOW! tapes introduced me to drum and bass, jungle, house… I needed more and went off to do my research. I landed at Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and things were never quite the same again afterwards. That opening synth riff and twinkling hi-hat loop. Every time I hear it I am transported right back to where I was when I first heard it – the whole album has that elegiac power.
Annie Lennox – Medusa
I knew of Annie Lennox long before I did the Eurythmics. Medusa was an album that magically grew into the car tape deck one glorious day in the mid Nineties. I wasn’t aware at the time that the tracks were covers as I’d never heard the originals, and when I finally did I remember thinking I much preferred Annie’s versions on the whole. I discovered her voice through this album and was completely blown away by its tone and richness. It opened my mind to the possibility that there was scope for lead vocals to sound something other than the vastly nasal, shrill, pop chart offerings of the time. This vocal gripped you and you had to stop and listen. It was a dense, all encompassing, rich tasting vocal tone as opposed to a lolly pop sugar hit. I was hooked.
Bjork – Telegram
Due to my love of dance music, remix albums completely fascinated me. Most of the time, I preferred remixes to originals. Telegram was the first album by Bjork that I owned, bought for me by my super-kind granddad once again. I’d been bought a CD player for Xmas (christened by the White Album, naturally) and couldn’t wait to start collecting them instead of tapes. But I was so overwhelmed by the prospect of whether to start by rinsing my pocket money on replacing and ‘upgrading’ the tapes I already had or to invest it in new noise. This prospect genuinely perturbed me and I remember relaying this to my granddad when he inquired why on earth I was buying the same things over and over again, so I explained the dilemma. There was a sale on at Virgin Megastore in a local mall out in the sticks of London and my granddad took me there as a surprise and said I could pick out anything in the sale that I wanted. Telegram was the first disc I picked up. He bought me 20 CDs that day – a mix of replacements and new sounds to kick start my growing addiction to music. I can remember amongst the others were Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar, the Japanese import of Blur’s Bustin + Dronin remix album and a shiny new copy of OK Computer, complete with the hidden message on the inside lip of the CD jewel case that a friend of mine had discovered and I had therefore been even more desperate to own. Bjork’s voice and lyrics took me somewhere else and the beats helped to secure me there. The combined sounds painted pictures the way those Sky tapes had when I was a child and I happily lose myself in that place with Bjork to this day.
Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile
I’d started studying photography and was particularly inspired by abstraction. Once again, drawn in initially by the artwork, I saw these beautiful, evocative images crop up in music magazines and wondered, true to form, what the music they represented could possibly sound like. I asked a friend what NIN sounded like and they replied ‘metal’. But what kind of metal, though? Was this a Deftones kind of metal? Kiss? Sabbath? The photographs didn’t imply the ‘Cookie Monster’ vocal that was rife at the time… I had to know. If OK Computer made me pick up the guitar, The Fragile encouraged me throw it against the wall and enroll in a music production course the second I was out of sixth form. Those sounds… how?! What made them? Why those ones in particular? The more I listened, the more I realized each sound had been specifically designed and curated to reflect the lyrical mood or the vocal melody. This was a totally different beast of a masterpiece and I realised with dismay that I couldn’t teach myself to play it with my guitar alone. The answer had to be in machines. I felt as overwhelmed at that prospect as I did when I embarked upon switching all of my tapes to CDs. Where to start?! I know nothing about these machines, I don’t even own a computer aside from a Gameboy and a Mega Drive… I listened intently, over and over again. The beautiful vocal tones calmed me and I suddenly thought – switch your perspective. This isn’t an overwhelming prospect, you are lucky to have had a path of endless sonic exploration and discovery revealed to you and it’s totally your choice whether to go down it or not. I picked up the bass and joined my first band shortly afterwards and I’m still walking down that sonic path, merrily lost and found, all at once.