Tearist: Yasmine Kittles Interview Part 3


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PART 3 [continued]

TONY TRINH: I love the video for Disposition


TT: …by Elizabeth Skadden, she went to RISD. Can you tell me about making that video?

YK: I’ve known her for, I’d say, seven or eight years and I didn’t know she was doing this kind of work. She was in this band called Finally Punk, they got some recognition for a little while as being this Riot Grrrl inspired…I was seeing them blow up in this strange way, it was really interesting because I didn’t know she played music before. I knew she was doing film but I didn’t know what that consisted of. Apparently, she had done a Flaming Lips video; she was doing stuff for No Age. She had met Will when he was playing with No Age. He was briefly playing with No Age and they were on tour, last summer, in Berlin and she was doing video stuff, projections. And she was going to be in town and just called Will up and she was like, “Hey, do you want to shoot a video tomorrow?” I’ve always been like, “No, I don’t want to do something that just looks cool.” That’s not interesting to me. I hate it when bands are like, “Oh, this looks cool, let’s just do this.” I always want to have a story.

TT: But the video does look really cool. It’s sexy in a visual way. The starkness. The pictures go with the track, the sounds. It’s militaristic, it’s industrial.

YK: No. yeah! Right! We didn’t know this, going in, it was going to look like that, at all. I mean, I was under the impression, no offense to her, but I was under the impression that it was just going to look like whatever. Who cares? You know? Because I wasn’t familiar with her work and I didn’t even want to go in and I was having a really terrible day, Will was sick, I had been crying all day about something dumb. I was like, I can’t go, I don’t even care about this. So I go and she’s like, “Just dance to the song, do what you do in a performance.” So, I’m like, okay, fine, I will just treat this like I’m dancing at my show. So it’s like how I would be performing except there were people filming. And she was doing everything with…because the song itself…

TT: It’s a driving beat.

YK: Yeah. We had our friends from this band, Protect Me, manually holding these lights that would go on sometimes. They were literally turning them on and off. So I didn’t expect it and when we saw it…

TT: You didn’t expect that it would be that stylized?

YK: Yeah! I thought it was so beautiful and so perfect!

TT: It’s completely appropriate for the track.

YK: It wasn’t just like, “This looks cool,” but this is how we perform and this is…every time that you can kind of see the eyes; I feel that I can kind of lock in, in this weird way. It looked so strong to me. And I was blown away by it, really.

SAM IRAVANI: So you had no clue how it would turn out eventually?

YK: No. I was like, “This is just a camera. How could this look cool?” I didn’t even know that is was going to be black and white.

TT: Black and white was a great choice.

SI: You didn’t even talk about it in advance?

YK: I knew nothing.

SI: Did she know (in advance)?

YK: She did. She knew exactly what she wanted to create. We did have this strobe (light) and sometimes we didn’t have the strobe…she was trying different things out. We actually (intentionally) shattered a mirror, but did it wrong, so everybody got cut! (laughs) The mirror shattered and the guys that were helping, these two sweet guys in this band.

TT: Was it filmed in LA?

YK: Yeah, in Protect Me’s practice space. A garage, all white. Literally, I was cut all the way down my leg, somehow, by this piece of mirror. She wanted it to shatter out, with us behind it. We did it twice. There was (pieces of) mirror on my neck…we were like, “What the fuck is this fucking bullshit?!” It was seriously like Little Rascals decided to do a music video!

TT: What is this amateur shit?!

YK: Yeah. Exactly! This is so ridiculous. How can this look good? And then…she and I hadn’t really been friends, in Austin, we had kind of dated the same person, so it was kind of weird. But then we were so proud of each other that we were able to develop this friendship because I had so much respect for what she did. So we are now friends after all these years and fully respect each other and it’s a really great thing. I was blown away by it. I had no idea.

TT: What’s next for Tearist?

YK: It’s been kind of confusing because now we’ve been trying to incorporate management type things. We’re more in this business world which I don’t…not that I don’t like it, but it’s hard. You barely have time to work on music because you’re so busy trying to figure everything out. So, we have a bunch of new songs that we are working on. We already started recording with this guy, Matt Boynton; he did the last MGMT album, TelepatheGang Gang Dance. So we already started some recording with him. So ultimately we’re going to be doing a full length with him. We have a bunch of shows coming up. The next one is with Telepathe on the (June) 16th, I believe, at the Echoplex. And Ford & Lopatin, they used be in a band called GAMES. And Sun Araw.

TT: Europe?

YK: Yes. We’re trying to figure that out right now. But I think we’re going to the Czech Republic and Berlin.

TT: Let’s have some fun and play some word association. I’ll mention some topics and you can do some riffing. Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music.

YK: Laurie Anderson. You know they were together?

TT: Really? Fischerspooner.

YK: My friend Lauren Flax was their DJ for a long time. So I’ve heard that name so much lately!

TT: Allen Ginsberg.

YK: No words.

TT: William S. Burroughs.

YK: Home of the Brave.

TT: John Cage.

YK: Substitute teaching. (laughs) You can ask me why!

TT: Should I? Why?

YK: I’m a substitute teacher sometimes and I was doing this music vocal class and we were doing beats, drops and stops. It was like, these second graders…and I was the teacher’s assistant and this kid was hearing (a beat) it in his head and was nodding his head…he basically (starts slowly clapping to a beat and nodding head), stop, stop, stop…as his phrase were all stops. And the teacher was like, “Okay, well, that’s great but that would mean that there was no sound. We can’t really…that’s not…you need a…that’s a good try but…” And I started clapping. I was like, “That’s amazing,” to this second grader, “Do you know who John Cage is?”

(I laugh)

YK: I swear to God. And the teacher was so mad. (to second grader) “You know, he did an entire piece based on rests and it was completely silent.”

TT: Indeterminancy.

YK: Yeah. “And he’s considered a genius. So you can go home and tell your parents that you’re a genius.” And this teacher’s so mad because everything he would say, he’d be like, “And is this music?” and he’d play a guitar. I’d turn on the water faucet and I’d be like, “Is this music?” and they’d go, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” But it’s not what this teacher wanted to teach that all these things are allowed.

TT: Yeah. Rules. Convention.

YK: “Do you know who John Cage is? He’s a genius!”

TT: Roxy Music.

YK: Brian Eno. I immediately thought of the girl on that cover in that pink dress. I forgot which album, she’s wearing a pink outfit and she’s kind of leaning back. (Roxy Music Self-Titled) Their album covers were always so beautiful.

TT: Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.

YK: Oh my God! Betty DavisDo you know Betty Davis? My vocal hero, she was married to Miles Davis for one year. She fully changed everything about him, the way he dressed. This was into Bitches Brew; he was married to her for one year. She was this beautiful Nubian princess type, and her voice, she sounds like Tina Turner on fucking crack. I mean, seriously. It’s unbelievable! Married for one year to Miles Davis.

TT: The Stooges.

YK: New ValuesIggy Pop. Favorite.

TT: Sonic Youth.

YK: My mom saying that I sounded like Kim Gordon. (laughs) Isn’t that weird? She would always listen to it and she’d want me to sound like Kim Gordon.

TT: Lydia Lunch.

YK: Guitar. Percussive guitar. Amazing. Also, real cocky. Have you seen any videos of her talking about herself in the past tense? Jesus Christ. Oh yeah, her catchphrase every time she would end her shows she would always go, “Thanks for nothin’!”

TT: “…Assholes!”

YK: I always had something I said afterwards too, it started off as a joke and now I have to say it because I say it every time. And when I saw that, I was like, “Oh my God, she had one too!” “Thanks for nothin’!” and that’s the end of every show. And mine was like…

TT: “See ya later!”

YK: No! (sheepishly) “Thanks for coming, but not inside me.”

TT: Oh. Wow. Wow!

YK: It doesn’t even fit the set…but it’s for me and it was really funny when I first said it and I had to keep saying it. (laughs) But Will always gives me this look like, “Please don’t say it, please don’t say it, and please don’t say it loud.”

TT: Might we see that phrase on the back of a Tearist tee?

YK: Oh my God! Maybe.

TT: I need one of those t-shirts. Suicide (the band).

YK: Fuck. No Compromise. I have a Suicide book next to my bed.

PART 1 [previous]
PART 2 [previous]

Alex is a talented content writer known for their dedication to the craft. He is passionate about continuous learning and have a particular fascination with Hollywood celebrity life and the celebrity business news scene. With a keen eye for detail and a love for staying informed, Alex excels at reading and writing about the latest developments in the world of celebrities.


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