KIDCITY. Two people, One word, uppercase for menacing effect. But really, aren’t they just too cute for words? Which is apt, seeing as the music that these two Canadian 21-year-olds make is more like haunted voices leaking from an overloaded digital landscape. “Somewhere between Enya and Dr. Dre”, someone said. Sure, why not. It might be simple enough to place them within the geographical radius of another glitchy electronic duo, Crystal Castles, but Kelly Ann’s vocals soothe, rather than antagonise, as the cracked beats and blistered frequencies dial up the intensity.
The six songs on their self-titled debut EP throw down Salem-like witch housing, but don’t suffer from the same overwrought inexpression. It’s the mechanical feel of the hip-hop beats juxtaposed against Kelly Ann’s operatic vocal that illuminate “Bloody Face”‘s twilight zones and add a calming heartbeat to “Blackened”s robotic trance. In an effort to lift the veil and find out who resided in KIDCITY, we thrust our trusty questionnaire into the electronic ether and awaited a response. Seems they’re not quite as mysterious as their music makes them out.
1. Who are you?
Kelly: We’re KIDCITY – Kelly Ann and Caleb from Toronto. There’s quite a bit of controversy surrounding the origin of our name. Both of my sister’s husbands claim the rights to it. At first, “Kidcity” referred to our inner circle of friends, as in “Is Kidcity coming to the party?” and it kind of just stuck as a band name.
Caleb: Even though I was insisting on cheesy metal names like “Murder” and “Burdens.”
2. What do you sound like?
Kelly: Dark(ish) pop, often with a hip-hop beat. Also, we’re partial to distortion.
3. What do friends say you sound like?
Caleb: Most reference Portishead’s Third, which we think is a reasonably fair comparison. Others lump us in the Witch House / Drag genre, which is probably more accurate.
4. How did the band get started?
Caleb: Kelly and I have been making music separately since high school. When we started dating, collaboration seemed like the natural thing to do. (Awww. Webcuts Ed.)
5. Give me your five band-defining albums?
1. Young Jeezy – Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101
2. Battles – EP C
3. Jesu – Opiate Sun
4. Joanna Newsom – Ys
5. Every album featuring Tom Delonge (though this is kind of cheating the question)
6. Favourite band anecdote?
Kelly: I bought a vocal processor a few days before our first show. Despite the fact that I didn’t know how it worked, I decided to use it anyways. After our first song I pressed the wrong button and it started wildly harmonizing my voice. I said “My box is broken” into the mic without realising what that statement implies. Everyone laughed.
7. Tell us about the last song you wrote?
Caleb: Our newest song is based around what sounds like a rather spooky Native chant. Ever since we recorded it, Kelly hasn’t been sleeping and I’ve been sleepwalking every night. We hope it’ll also put a curse on its listeners. You’ll be able to hear the song live and on our next album.
Kelly: If the curse hasn’t destroyed us by then.
8. Who would be some dream collaborators?
Busta Rhymes, Tom Delonge, and Battles.
9. You’re making us a KIDCITY mixtape. What’s going on it?
A little Arve Henriksen, a little Vagina Vangi, and a lot of Dr. Dre.
10. First time listeners, where should they start?
Kelly: “Blackened” is a pretty good place to start.