Telekom Electronic Beats

Interview: Yasmine Kittles

Published on October 10, 2011 16:30 Berlin Time

Interview: Yasmine Kittles Yasmine Kittles is probably one of the busiest women in the field of avant-garde music today. Between providing vocals and percussion for her synth-punk band TEARIST, hanging with Lil B, and her film career (she recently starred in the smart, dark indie comedy Cummings Farm, tragically rebranded as cheesy fratboy flick All-American Orgy), it was a privilege to have a chance to ‘let our hair down together’, as my girls say. At 6am on a Los Angeles morning, Yasmine and I had a long conversation inspired heavily by lack of sleep and caffeine overdose.

Electronic Beats: What are you up to at six in the morning?
Yasmine: Playing with my ice. I’m just trying to casually untangle my new Insane Clown Posse chain my mom got me for my birthday. I guess she thought I was down with the clown. She got me a ring with a gun on it, though. I support that.

Does the gun work?
I’m waiting to try it out at a show…fingers crossed!

Official Tearist 9mm.
People would go CRAZY for one.

I’d rep that at every crime I did. I’d do so many crimes.’Heyyy. That’s the dude who Did a Crime’ – soon to be classic phrase dogging me.
Do it!

Spittin’ the Faygo of truth.
Go god! Up in this house!

Goo God is a great porno series name. Zeus Juice.
That’s offensive… I’m a very respectable woman. Treat me like one.

Hey now, I saw your movie! You did some cusses in that.
Fuck you. I did not.

What was up with the rebranding on that, by the way?
Dude. There’s a long interview I did with LA Weekly exposing the fucking douchebag distributors that changed the title and cover so that they could sell it. They did, so it worked in some ways…. but I was devastated. We all were. I screamed in this fancy store and like dropped to the ground. Then I got so much backlash for talking about what douches they were.

Like, they sent you a rude tweet? ‘You’ll never rep ICP in this town again, sadclown.gif’.
I wish that was all it was.

We then got into a conversation about the benefits of typing vs speaking, discussing the various aspects of our voice and digital personas and what we found goofy about them. Which inevitably led to:

Yasmine: I got a Goofy hat at Disneyworld when I was little and my mom said it made me look ugly. She was right… hate her for it.

A Goofy hat would be an awesome onstage costume.
I’m gonna bring Cat in the Hat hats back REALLY HARD this year.

Bring back jester hats too. I want a sea of cheesy felt novelty hats at every Tearist show. Spencers Gifts sponsorship.
That’s where my mom got my new ICP chain! I pointed and laughed and she just thought I must have needed it for my day of birth.

Why havent Tearist released a line of blacklight weed/alien posters? The public outcry is intense.
Because there’s already one Pictureplane out there. He copyrighted it all. With his crystals.

Wait, so was that you doing vocals on ‘Trancegender‘? Because I’ve seen it credited to several different people.
I sing on ‘Body Mod‘, but originally I was going to be singing most of the samples in that album. Travis flew me out to Denver. Then he just wanted to go on picnics. He just so happened to invite me on this Denver Sex Weekend; like a bunch of people getting naked at Rhinoceropolis and the place next door.

I feel like that’s something your friend Eric Wareheim would organize. Why isn’t there a Yasmine & Eric Nude Roundup LA yet? It would make a rad Chrimbus present.
I think I saw … no, I definitely saw fisting over there.

Chick Guts Get Punched Summer ’11.
It was meant to be “liberating”… so everyone was running around naked… but I think it actually accomplished the opposite. It meant a lot to Travis, so I DJed the event.

I’d have just played the first Swans album at max volume.
It was mostly like nasty rap. Aggressive. I just sang all the words as people ran around with lube. It was amazing in retrospect. Anyway, so we got some recording in, but we didn’t have the right microphone. We were trying to record me just straight from an amp with backtrack. It didn’t really work. Which we didn’t find out until I got home.

We did make a video though for ‘Body Mod’. Yet to be edited. We agreed that on his next album we’re going to be doing more together. Tonight I spent a lot of time working on a Tearist remix for him, and we’re both into the idea of playing songs live together.

It does feel like you’re both on different sides of the same vibe.
We are, from day one. It’s a sweet story, actually. I guess he had seen me at SXSW in 2009. Tearist had just begun and I was there because of a film I had been in. Apparently we were walking side by side and he thought I was famous. A little bit later he went to a show and saw me again, and then had this crush on me for years from these two moments. Then he showed up to our very first show by accident. We met and talked about performing and being honest and the importance of losing yourself to get to another place for hours. We became best friends and talked on the phone every day about Genesis P-Orridge. It was very sweet. He always says “I loved you before I met you”. I think that’s beautiful.

So why haven’t you started a band together? Like some crazy raw industrialized house
Well, he lives in Denver. But I think he’s moving. You know what… maybe. I didn’t really think about that. I really like that we are in two separate bands though. It’s fun to collaborate and Tearist is my heart… there is no one like my bandmate Will. I think it’s not a bad idea, though.

On the other hand you know it’s gonna get called a WITCH HOUSE SUPERGROUP.
WE DON’T USE THOSE WORDS. “WH”. So glad that seems to slowly be a distant memory. That was a nightmare we got accidentally wrapped up in. Will threw on some symbols on this one picture… but Will is so far removed from everything trend-related. So he throws this upside-down cross on something and I got nervous because in LA this was not around us. I was like “Oh no… my dad is going to think I’m all about the devil”. He is SO christian, that dad of mine.

Christian Dad featuring Rozz Kittles.
Then, Travis writes this thing for Pitchfork about his top ten things that had happened that year. #5 I think was “WH” and talking about that whole deal. Then #6 (not in order) was Tearist, like… just as a band. We were his favorite band. He described us mystical or something and called us “white magic” which is actually really positive.

Definitely all the live videos have a strong ritualistic mood.
It’s ritualistic probably because of where I come from in my school of thought on approaches to performing. I was heavily influenced by Artaud‘s Theatre of Cruelty manifesto. Society of the Spectacle. Simulacra and simulation. I go into this intense animalistic state…it’s incredibly vulnerable and I often can’t remember things I’ve done.

What truths then do you want to show the audience?
I want the audience to feel, to make the uncomfortable ask themselves “why?” I’m the most vulnerable when I am performing because it’s the most honest I can or will ever be, or have ever been. If I feel a distance from the audience, it’s a very animalistic response.

It does feel very primal, which goes hand in hand with the ideas of ritualism and incantation, performance as magick ritual.
True. I feel like “I am giving you EVERYTHING… this is how I feel about everything… I’m sweating. I look disgusting… what more do you want?”

I think a live performance that leaves the performer sweaty and trashed in one of the most beautiful things ever.
Me too! I want to see that. I don’t want someone to fucking lie to me.

It’s something real and rare. A giving.
It is. I just want to give people what my heroes have given me. This ability to see that – being honest is not a bad thing. Being vulnerable is beautiful. I think people are craving that now. Like … I don’t give a shit how beautiful your voice is or how cool you look playing your guitar. If you play it like shit but you’re passionate, people will be like ‘that was the best guitar playing I’ve seen in my life.’I used to watch Einstürzende Neubauten‘s 1/2 Mensch every night before bed. It showed me that there really are no rules, so why put them there. That’s not being honest with yourself. Performance as necessity. Like you HAVE to.

I wish more artists thought this way.
Thank you. Me too.

I just saw this kid Sewn Leather recently, it was the rawest most punk shit ever. Blew my mind, just pure energy and love for the performance, no seperation just ESSENCE.
That guy threw a box of tapes at me because he lost my mic adapter. Hated him forever. We’re good now, he rules.

He broke his nose 20 seconds into the first song.
FUCK. YES. That’s it right there. Giving everything you have.

He said fuck it and kept going, played for like an hour.

It was such a sick show. Just incredible.
I’ve hurt people during our shows and they show me later with big smiles. It’s amazing. I always apologize profusely because I’m really not violent, but I guess deep down primal takes all. I get worried that I’m seriously going to hurt someone with the metal pipes.

But that element of danger is essential.
For me, too.

Damn I wish I could have seen Hanatarash.
Fuck! God… everyone is so lazy these days. Everyone standing around watching a band they’re “supposed” to like. No one is moving. I’ve been flipping off bands lately from the audience. It’s so dumb… I’m not even in view. I just get really angry. I might be even more angry at the fans. Last night I went to this show. Everyone was crowded around. It was boring as hell, I sat by the stage and zoned out for like 45 minutes. Straight up FORGOT there was a band. Then Juiceboxxx started DJing and killed it.

I miss LA. It’s been a while. I’d love to go back and visit some friends. Our mutual friend Doug (of BIRTH!) still lives there, I think.

He’s the one who turned me on to Tearist, in fact.
He’s a true friend, always been there for me. When we first started he would be the only one in the way way front like thrashing himself around. Not afraid of what anyone thinks.

He’s always like that. When we go to shows we’re usually the only ones dancing.
When we first met he and I were trading stories about fucked-up shit from our childhood. When I was five I used to write suicide notes and thought about how to hang myself, but I didn’t want my doll to miss me. He was like “ME TOO!!!” It was so funny. Seems dark, but somehow it doesnt feel like that.

I think it’s sweet. Like childhood Harold & Maude.
My mom found the notes! I should publish them.

Liner notes for the next album.
YES! That’s amazing. I could barely write, so imagine. I gotta get her to give those to me. It makes her pretty upset, but… c’mon. I was hyper and dramatic. Then, I’d finish my letter and get up and sing a song about chocolate. Chill. Out. People. I want to slap the world.

Isn’t that an ICP song? Oh shit, we’ve come full circle.

Wait…IS IT??

I guess not but according to Google they have a song called ‘Fuck The World’. Tearist should do a cover called ‘Slap The World’. No cusses equals radio hit.
I’ll get an eight year old to write it. It’ll be huge.

Tearist on Teen Choice Awards. Get slimed for charity.
I would seriously love that. Like…just somehow infiltrate that whole situation. If Will and I got slimed and I fell and knocked my tooth out with the pipe. Classic. Will and I are working on our TEARIST: The Manual. How to make a million quid the easy way.

Quid? Is this for the UK market? ‘Those ruddy Tearist chavs stitched me up again’ – me MP
The KLF are my heroes. We have been working out passages. Fun fact: I did a figure skating routine to The KLF ‘3AM Eternal’ when I was 12.

So that’s how you infiltrate the Teen Choice Awards: Tearist Icecapades.
I’m in.

Somehow there needs to be a skating Snoopy….kids love Snoopy.
Why is that? It confuses me.

I think it’s just most kids like dogs in general…and this particular dog is WAY cool; sleeps on house instead of in it? Truly he gives no shit about rules. Absolutely murderous. I think they showed that his house is way bigger inside as well, further proving that Snoopy scoffs at all laws including those of time+space.
I think he’s squatting at that house. This is my opinion.