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The Kills perform in The Current studio

The Kills – studio session at The Current (music & interview)The Current
  Play Now [16:28]

by Jill Riley

March 22, 2024

The Kills — the rock duo comprising Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart — released their sixth studio album, God Games, in October 2023. The album was produced by Paul Epworth at his home base, The Church Studios, in London.

While in the Twin Cities for a show at First Avenue in Minneapolis, The Kills visited The Current studio to play stripped-down versions of songs from the latest album. Afterwords, Mosshart and Hince spoke with host Jill Riley about the making of the album — including the cross-country driving trips that inspired some of Mosshart’s song ideas.

Watch and listen to the full session above, and read a transcript below.

Two musicians performing in a recording studio
The Kills performing in The Current studio on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.
Evan Clark | MPR

Interview Transcript

Jill Riley: You're listening to The Current. I'm Jill Riley, and you are listening to an in-studio session with The Kills. And in addition to the music, we're going to have a conversation as well about the new record, and the new record is called God Games. So Alison is here. Jamie is here.

Jamie Hince: Hello. 

Jill Riley: Welcome to the Twin Cities.

Alison Mosshart: Thank you very much.

Jill Riley: Welcome back. This isn't your first time here.

Alison Mosshart: No, not our first.

Jill Riley: Yeah.

Jamie Hince: Familiar. 

Jill Riley: Yeah. What — what is it about Minneapolis that do you like think, "Oh, yeah, we're gonna have a, we're gonna have a good crowd. We're gonna have a good show."

Alison Mosshart: I mean, First Ave is one of my all-time favorite venues to play in the world, you know, so it's always very exciting to come.

Related: The Kills put friendship center stage at First Avenue (concert review & photos)

Jamie Hince: And 7th Street Entry, just wonderful.

Alison Mosshart: Yeah.

Jamie Hince: I mean, I don't know as soon as you — as soon as we read Minneapolis on the tour schedule, I'm just like, just remember these shows. They're also, just the vibe is great here.

Outside of First Avenue
The Kills poster outside First Avenue in Minneapolis on February 12, 2024.
Darin Kamnetz for MPR

Jill Riley: Yeah. Well, we're glad to have you back. Glad to be talking about a new record, God Games. So now you're on tour now. You know, your last tour would have been like, I just like to call it "the before times."

Alison Mosshart: It was in the before times.

Jamie Hince: Yeah. 

Alison Mosshart: Yeah.

Jill Riley: Now, how far into, you know, when it was the before times, you got off your tour. You know, how how long was it before you kind of felt like a creative vibe?

Jamie Hince: It was impeccably timed

Jill Riley: Yeah?

Jamie Hince: We finished touring in about November 2019. Had a little break.

Alison Mosshart: We took a load off and then all of a sudden...

Jamie Hince: And then the, and then the P-Diddy happened.

Jill Riley: Yeah.

Jamie Hince: And that was that.

Jill Riley: Now, did you feel like, did you feel like getting to work on a record? Or were you like, "Hey, we have some time." And, you know, maybe you felt like, it'd be a challenge to kind of really throw yourself into it. 

Alison Mosshart: I felt totally freaked out by what was going on in the world. It was not really thoughts like that, like, "Yay, I have time." I don't like having time. It's not, you know ... But we'd already started writing. And we wrote during it, we wrote after. I feel like for me, like when things started to lighten up a bit, so did my creative process started flowing a lot more. I wasn't just worried about my whole family dying. Stuff like that's a little distracting for me. So — did you just fix my hair?

Jamie Hince: Yeah, it was in a loop-the-loop.

Jill Riley: That was very sweet. That is a partnership. Creatively, friends, all of it.

Alison Mosshart: Hairdresser! But yeah, it was really, it just felt so good when we could finally go into the studio. And we were ready. We had everything written. We were ready to go. So it was a really enjoyable experience once we got in there.

Jamie Hince: We demoed, didn't we? We did a cut. We did, we demoed, like, a couple of songs before, you know, as soon as we finished touring. And we were kind of excited about it, and then all that rubbish happened. And you just couldn't help but have to reassess what you're doing. You know, it's like well, I mean, it just seems like madness now when I think back to that time. And it was, I remember just feeling like it was going to be a two-week problem, and then before long you've got Mark Ronson and showing you how to wash your hands. It was just like, "What is going on?"

Alison Mosshart: Mark, I know how to wash my hands.

Jill Riley: You know, but you do you know know? Do you know know?

Three people having a conversation in a recording studio
Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart of The Kills chat with host Jill Riley in The Current studio on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.
Evan Clark | MPR

Well, once it was time to get into the studio, was there anything that you felt was different this time around? Were there any, like creative boundaries that you knew that you wanted to push? Did you have an intention to to try things a little bit differently?

Jamie Hince: For me, I think that's sort of on [2016 album] Ash & Ice. I was just starting to work out how to run a studio. I was just used to leave that up to other people. And then, on this record, I'd really kind of got, sort of mastered the software in the studio vibe thing.

Jill Riley: OK.

Jamie Hince: And so I kind of had more power in that sense to be able to realize what was in my head.

Jill Riley: Because before you just like had to tell somebody.

Jamie Hince: Yeah.

Alison Mosshart: It's really hard to find the words for your sounds. It's difficult.

Jamie Hince: In a sense, because it was so, that time was so isolated, and I'd kind of got this knowledge of, you know, working a studio, then it kind of became a bit more studio based. For me, the music—

Jill Riley: Yeah, but that can open a door.

Jamie Hince: Yeah, the guitar came right at the end. It didn't have any guitar on anything until the last two weeks, and I was having sleepless nights thinking, "I've just put myself out of a job."

Jill Riley: Right!

Jamie Hince: Just like writing all these things without guitar.

Jill Riley: Right.

Jamie Hince: So yeah.

Jill Riley: Yeah.

Jamie Hince: So that was different.

A man holds an award statuette he has just won
Producer Paul Epworth at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Jill Riley: Yeah, I would say. Now, as far as working with a producer, I read the name Paul Epworth. Now, for anyone who maybe not know that name, I mean, I think of an artist like Adele, I mean, he's worked with a lot of people. But my understanding is you guys go back. I mean, you really go back before he was, you know, super producer to Adele. What was the connection there? What were you kind of hoping that he would be able to offer as a producer?

Alison Mosshart: Well, we wanted to use somebody that we knew, and somebody that knew what they were doing. And you know, it kind of just worked out. We were trying to find a studio, we were trying to find an environment that we wanted to make this record. And I went to visit Paul at The Church [Studios] one time I was in London before we started, and I would just like, it felt like the place we should make the record. It just felt incredible. You know, it's so hard to go into, like, super incredible professional studios anymore, because they're, everyone's just kind of priced out, you know? So it was very exciting to get to do that. And it was easy with Paul because, yeah, we knew Paul. He was our very first hired sound man ... in 2003?

Jamie Hince: Yeah.

Alison Mosshart: He was in the back of our splitter van, riding around with us.

Jamie Hince: Doing our live sound.

Alison Mosshart: And then he went on to do some things.

Jill Riley: Yeah, he sure did. Yeah. And so did you!

Jamie Hince: It was a strange time back then where it was like, Yeah, we had Paul Epworth doing our sound, we had Steve Aoki tour managing and driving the van. It's really odd. You're welcome!

Jill Riley: Yeah, exactly!

Alison Mosshart: We're the real springboard!

Jill Riley: And you're gonna thank us in the book! Hey, you mentioned The Church in London. Can you tell me about this studio? Because I kept hearing, "The name of the record is God Games, and it was made in a church."

Alison Mosshart: No relation.

Jill Riley: Yeah, OK. But tell me about being in that studio, or that studio in particular. I mean, why was that the one?

Jamie Hince: Well, it's a really famous studio. It was [Eurythmics’] Dave Stewart's studio, and so there's been a lot of great things recorded there. Bob Dylan has been there.

Jill Riley: From Minnesota, OK, thank you.

Jamie Hince: And of course, Roy Orbison.

Jill Riley: Excellent.

Jamie Hince: Because of the Traveling Wilburys, they recorded there. And it's just, it's a really sort of seminal, important, legendary studio in London. And there is no church vibes.

Alison Mosshart: No.

A man plays guitar in a recording studio
Jamie Hince of The Kills performing in The Current studio on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.
Evan Clark | MPR

Jamie Hince: In fact, if there was any — like, Paul Epworth, when he bought the place, when it when he got the place, bought it, I don't know, whatever — when he moved in there, he got this huge Neve mixing desk for the control room. And it was so huge that it wouldn't fit in the control room. So it dictated that he, so he's got it in the live room, so it's this kind of unusual vibe there, where you're, you know, the engineer is sitting in the room with you. It's like an open-plan studio with huge, high ceilings, because it's a church. Stained glass windows. I didn't like that vibe. It was too daytime for me. So while I was wandering around this huge church, and there's like a tiny little basement studio. And I said, "Can we go in there?" So we recorded most of it in there. I like it when there's no sign of what time of day it is. And you know, just like, the only punctuation is maybe, you know, DoorDash arriving with some breakfast, and then you realize it's the morning.

Jill Riley: Right! I'll have breakfast any time, I'm a big fan of breakfast any time. So recording at The Church in London. The record is called God Games. I'm here with The Kills, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince. So let's talk about a couple of the songs in particular. You know, we started playing, well, the first single that we had was "New York" and "LA Hex." And "New York," the song that you're doing a version of it in The Current studio today. So I wonder if you could just talk about that song in particular. I mean, was that kind of one of the first ones? Or was that, you know, for you, like, yeah, we definitely want to kind of set the tone with that being like, the first single.

Alison Mosshart: What was the first one? It wasn't that one. 

Jamie Hince: "Bullet Sound."

Alison Mosshart: "Bullet Sound."

Jamie Hince: Was the first one. I mean, "New York" was really the first one. When Alison sent me that, I just thought ... I just got, you know, butterflies. Swoops and loops. And I thought, "This is definitely the record." That was the first one that was definitely for me the vibe of the record. Yeah. But it wasn't, it just kind of came in the middle.

Alison Mosshart: Yeah, somewhere in the middle. 

Jill Riley: Yeah. When you were recording it, or you know, like even instrumentation, I hear it and I just, I almost picture you performing it with like a, like an orchestra or something. There's such, like a very cool hook on it. You know, when you were working on the song, and also, you know, when you start to learn, like the ins and outs of the studio or you can really dig into Pro Tools and you can add, I mean, is there a point where you have to say, "Oh, now I have the capability to do all this stuff, but I gotta pull it back," or "I want to add more."

Jamie Hince: Yeah, well, I've always been consumed by what you can take away from a piece of music rather than what you can add to it. I like minimal music. I like there being no fat in our music. And I'm kind of also consumed by how certain genres of music like hip-hop and R&B have this much, much wider frequency range, like a sub bass and an even, like, really high end, beautifully clear, high-end things that guitar music struggles with. And so that was, on a song like "New York," which to me was an R&B song really, I wanted to do that as a guitar band, trying to sort of expand the frequencies a bit more, and do some sort of like R&B production vibe on it.

The Kills - God Games
God Games is the sixth studio album by English-American indie rock duo the Kills, released on October 27, 2023.
Domino Recording Company

Jill Riley: Yeah. Yeah. I'm talking with The Kills here on The Current. The record, God Games. There's another song that you did in the studio, "103." And I wonder if you could talk about that one a little bit. Or a lot. Whichever one you'd like: a little bit, a lot, or somewhere in between.

Alison Mosshart: I mean, both of the songs we just are talking about, Jamie convinced me to get this tiny little Akai keyboard, this $100 keyboard from Guitar Center, and I got it, and I started playing around with it. And I just, songs were kind of pouring out of me with that thing, because it was so freeing. And that's the song that I wrote after — kind of, during the pandemic, I kind of got a bit fussy and just decided to start driving back and forth across the country by myself. And it was an interesting time out there on the road. There was nobody else. And it was kind of, you know, dark. And so that song was really inspired by all the different states I went through; the different, you know, every state felt like a country. Everybody was just kind of off axis. It was really spooky and also incredible. And I got back to L.A. after one of those drives and wrote that.

A car is parked on display at an auto show
A 2013 Dodge Challenger at Miami International Auto Show.
Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

Jill Riley: Were you in the ... what do you have, a Challenger?

Alison Mosshart: I was in the Black Shark. One of the Challengers, yeah.

Jill Riley: Oh, one of!

Alison Mosshart: I have a White Shark, too.

Jill Riley: OK! Is this a ... this must be a more recent...

Alison Mosshart: The White Shark is newer.

Jill Riley: OK.

Alison Mosshart: Um, she's a 2014. The Black Shark is a 2013.

Jill Riley: OK.

Alison Mosshart: Yeah. The OG.

Jill Riley: Did you feel like you could drive faster with nobody around?

Alison Mosshart: You know what? I was actually just really spooked out by the cops. They were very angry. You know, riots were everywhere. Everything was going on. So I filled my car with cameras and video cameras and things, always filming everything, because I just thought, "I'm definitely getting pulled over 600 times."

Jill Riley: Right.

Alison Mosshart: And I never did.

Jill Riley: You never did? OK. 

Alison Mosshart: I never even looked at how fast I was going. I mean, it was just me and semi trucks delivering all the crap everyone was ordering.

Jill Riley: Right. Exactly. 

Alison Mosshart: "How many things from Hobby Lobby do people need during the pandemic?" is my question, because I...

Jill Riley: So much, apparently all of it.

Alison Mosshart: All of it.

Jamie Hince: It's great that, sort of — what's it called, “Hobby Lobby”?

Alison Mosshart: Hobby Lobby.

Jamie Hince: That's nice, you know, they profit from the apocalypse.

Alison Mosshart: They really did! They were going bananas.

Jamie Hince: You needed jigsaw puzzles, toilet paper, and [said with a strong American accent] water!

Jill Riley: Yeah. Instead of what, was it in Smokey and the Bandit, instead of Coors Light, you were like sort of playing the, like the Trans Am of...

Alison Mosshart: Everybody was scrapbooking around me.

Jill Riley: As they're hauling the craft goods across the country. The Kills, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, here in the studio. God Games is the new record. You know, the first time, I remember the first time you guys were here, this is many years ago, you know, I remember reading a little bit about you, and it was, gosh, this has got to be ... Well, I know well over a decade ago, more than that. But I remember you just, like, having characters when you were performing together? Because I'm like, "What? Who are VV and Hotel? Aren't their names Alison and Jamie?" 

A woman sings into a microphone in a recording studio
Alison Mosshart of The Kills performing in The Current studio on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.
Evan Clark | MPR

Alison Mosshart: It wasn't so much as characters as that, you know, when we were kind of starting something brand new and we wanted to sort of let go of everything that we had done before and re-create ... You know, everything with art is like trial and error. You're trying to get somewhere. You're trying to like make something whole and just as you want it. And so, at that time when we started this band, we didn't really ever think we'd have a record deal. We were just kind of starting an art pact. And so we had these little nicknames. And we, you know, booked shows with that and signed things with that, and like, that's kind of how we were referred to for the first couple years. And it sort of just helped, like, clean the palette. You know?

Jamie Hince: There was lots of reasons for it. You know, it was just, it was a little mostly tongue in cheek, and it sort of, we were coming, we were sort of living in this quiet, sort of judgmental, political punk scene, you know, where even if you wore a pair of blue jeans one day, everyone would point it out, "Oh my god!" So in order to be the people that we really wanted to be, we just kind of, you know, had these little personas. It was tongue in cheek, bearing in mind we never thought we would even get a record deal or that anyone would come and see us. And also it was practical, because I was getting unemployment benefit at the time. So it was practical to not use my real name. Yeah. 

Jill Riley: Right! Have an alias!

Alison Mosshart: I didn't have a working visa.

Jill Riley: Like, "That wasn't me." Right. 

Jamie Hince: [singing Judas Priest] "Breaking the Law."

Jill Riley: Excellent. Well, thank you so much for coming in. Glad to see you in the Twin Cities again.

Alison Mosshart: Thanks for having us. It's good to be back here.

Jamie Hince: Very.

Alison Mosshart: It's awesome.

Jill Riley: Best of luck on the road.

Alison Mosshart: Thank you.

Video Segments

00:00:00 Better Days
00:02:41 New York
00:06:03 103
00:10:02 Interview with host Jill Riley

All songs from the Kills’ 2023 album God Games, available on Domino Recording Company. 


Alison Mosshart – vocals, guitar
Jaime Hince – guitar, vocals


Guests – The Kills
Host – Jill Riley
Producer – Derrick Stevens
Video – Evan Clark
Audio – Derek Ramirez
Camera Operators – Evan Clark, Megan Lundberg
Graphics – Natalia Toledo
Digital Producer – Luke Taylor

The Kills – official site