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Kama Sutures Interview

4 May 2015 No Comment

KS 2

(By Mary Montgomery) Kama Sutures are exploding out of the LA music scene with a new album about to drop this summer which will be mixed and mastered by the legendary Logan Mader of Soulfly and Machine Head fame. Kama Sutures are currently a three piece who play eclectic and avant-garde modern rock.  Their musical experimentalism is never boring, sonically ground breaking and a breath of fresh air in the current stale state of music in general.

First off tell me about the players in Kama Sutures.  How did they come together? How were they discovered?

Guitarplayer Mattrix and Singer Francesca J worked together in Hollywood. After ignoring each other for months they realized they had but one thing in common, a mutual interest in Avante Garde and underground music. Desperate to get out of their cubes, they played the lottery together every week for a month but they couldn’t get even one matching number. They gave up and formed Kama Sutures. Xhie Lex worked downstairs from them. After seeing her play in Many of Odd Nature they convinced her to join them.

What are their roles in the band?

Francesca – Lead Vocals

Mattrix- feedback, noise programming

Xhie Lex – Bass, backup vox

What are the dynamics of song writing with everyone involved in the band?

Mattrix and Francesca J are the core song writers. Mattrix is the sonic architect.  Francesca toplines making the vocal melodies and lyrics. We have a system of pumping out as much material as possible in order to keep our creative muscles toned. We have about 65 songs written and more on the way. After realizing how much creativity Xhie Lex had to offer Kama Sutures we asked her to write with us. Mattrix brings the funk, Francesca brings the blues and Xhie Lex brings the metal.

“Dead Leaves” if my favorite song of yours so far. Please tell me about the song’s creation

Mattrix –  “I was trying to cram as many genres as possible into a cohesive whole.”

Francesca J – “I was in an Edgar Allan Poe mood. The chords Mattrix had written felt very suspenseful. I was feeling mysteries, secrets and paranoia. The first melodies and lyrics I wrote weren’t good. I went to bed and awoke with a sinking feeling I had created art no one should know about. I immediately went to my notebook with and rewrote the whole thing in about 10 minutes. It just poured out at that point, no thought or effort needed.”

You are working on a new album. Sonically, how would you describe it?

We don’t quite fit into one genre. You’ll hear elements of Blues, Jazz, Rock, Funk, even Opera. We have Asian melodies, Metal Thrash and even an Avante Garde Colotura solo, but always in a rock format.  We’re trying to push the boundaries of modern rock in a way that brings people along. We want to discover things that haven’t been done before.

Do you have a drop date yet?

Rumor has it June or July.

What was the recording process like?

KS FrancescaFrancesca – It was a tremendous amount of time and work but we tried to make it fun. Mattrix pulled out some old Industrial tricks that captured some amazing sounds. We were banging on all kinds of objects for texture. Some of my favorite moments include singing in the bath tub and under a comforter-like tent with Xhie Lex. We also have some amazing handball court acoustics sampled throughout the album. There’s no place to sing like a handball court. I got so into it I actually threw my back out on the last day of recording. I didn’t think that was even possible but it’s a testament to my vocal coach Eduardo Diamante that I threw my back out and not my voice. We had a schedule though and I had to finish Black Cat. This is the song Xhie Lex wrote for the album so it was an interesting way to merge with her creation. After a couple hours of painkillers,  heating pad and stretching I just went for it. I sang the majority of the song sitting or sprawled on the floor in horrendous pain though. At the tail end of the song I finally had enough composure to sing standing. The song speaks for itself when you hear it though and it has a piece of me I didn’t know I could give.

Are you working with a producer?

Mattrix – I produced it. In the future we hope to work with many producers.  We had some excellent help from Chris Wozner with our drum tracking and formalizing what we were trying to achieve vocally.

If so, what was that like?

Mattrix – We are into an aesthetic of ultimate eclecticism and we tried very hard to bring a lot of Avant guarde ideas and make them very catchy and accessible in a way that people will like.  We want to make music important in people’s lives again.  We want to reward music fans and casual listeners a like.  If you want to dance you can dance, if you want to go deep, you can go deep.  It was my job to find that balance but everyone in the band helped a lot in this task.

Any special guest players?

Mattrix -Yes, we had an awesome drummer by the name of Dan Kashuck. Dan came in and killed it on every song and got exactly what we were going for. Also several songs feature Nancy Kuo on violin and cello.  I overdubbed her into a one woman string orchestra.  If we would have known how good she was I would have written more string parts for her.

Does the album have a name yet?

KAMA SUTURES 1.

How did you come up with the title?

Mattrix – Same way we came up the name of the band except we added a 1.

How many songs are on the album?

12 to 14 nobody knows.

Tell me about a few of your personal favorites, Francesca. How about you, The Mattrix?

KS Xhie and MattrixFrancesca – The Space Song is my fav. I listen to that song whenever I need energy. It helps me not sweat the small stuff too. Sonya hits me hard every time though. The energy that wrote Sonya is grief I haven’t been able shake yet. It’s our darkest song with some of the most meaningful lyrics I’ve ever written. It’s about a real person and real human suffering that none of us are above.

Mattrix –  Don’t Be Alarmed because it’s the stupidest song I ever wrote.

Xhie Lex – Night Without Song because I find it haunting and comforting at the same time. There is a nostalgia that really hit home and resonated with my soul when I heard it.

Lyrically, Francesca, what subjects do you cover on the album? Are there any threads or themes running through the songs?

It’s the usual adventures of consciousness, yin, yang, drugs and bad choices. I try not to have too many intentions with songs however. I like to feel out the themes rather than think it over. Regardless, my dominate thoughts are pretty philosophical. I’ve studied the I Ching now for years. You’ll hear some esoteric lines here and there. I’m a slave to the melody however which is why I’m a singer, not just a writer. I want to sing words worth saying but first and foremost, I want to sing melodies worth feeling.

The Mattrix, you create some unique yet hooky riffs. When do you know something is done and the “Aha!” moment has occurred?

I like to put down my first impressions and move on.  About 99% of the guitar you hear on the album is me playing that guitar part for the first time.   It’s a gift that I can do that.  The curse part is that I have to go back when the process is done and figure out what I played.  The key to working this way is to make sure your guitars are tuned at all time.  There are a million sounds and notes on the guitar waiting to be discovered.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

Francesca – When Mattrix and I formed Kama Sutures, I hadn’t been in a band for a couple years. Training, I had extended my range several octaves but I hadn’t actually found “my voice.” It took me a while to realize what I could do. Our later stuff has much more complex melodies than our earlier stuff because I’m more aware of my artistic palate. I write melodies playfully. I feel like a vocal acrobat flying through time and space sometimes. I hope I never lose my sense of curiosity, artistically. One of my biggest influences is Yma Sumac. I still have a lot to learn.

Mattrix – I think we keep getting more catchy and accessible.  Francesca is getting better at solidifying her melodic ideas.  Xhie Lex has brought extra dimensions with her songwriting, background vocals and textural ideas.  Everyone is learning how to think of themselves as creators of music and not a predefined role.

What’s coming up next for Kama Sutures?

We plan on finishing the album and hitting the road!

Any tours in the works?

We don’t have any set dates, but hope to go out before the year is up.

If you were able to sit under the table and listen to any two people speak, who would it be?

Mattrix – Edward de Vere and William Shakspar. Why? So they can fight it out and see which one is the true bard.

Francesca – I would love to listen to Sopranos Renee Fleming and Anna Netrebko. I just want to be in their presence.

Xhie Lex – Why can’t I sit at the table?

Anything else you would like to say?

Mattrix – I am sorry I went so HAM.

kamasutures.com

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Top pic by Matt Lim the others are Jerry Mills

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