Matt Devine - Kill Hannah

September 10, 2009


Photo Credit: www.rocknetwebzine.com

You guys are about to come out with a new record called Wake Up The Sleepers which is available for preorder at www.killhannah.com. Is it just available for preorder on the website?

Is it on our website? Is that the only place? Iím not sure. Itís possible. Iíll have to look into that.

Okay. What was interesting was how you picked your first single which I believe is ďNew York City SpeedĒ. You picked that by asking some of your fans to come out and listen to a few tracks and choose one. What was the experience like working directly with the fans to pick out a single?

For us itís just like common sense. Theyíre the ones who matter to us and theyíre the ears that matter most to us. In a sense weíre still an underground band. We can ask all the radio stations. We can ask people in the music industry all we want but the only thing that really, truly matters to us is our fans. We take them really seriously and sometimes weíre so close to the songs and having spent months just being obsessed with the recording of the songs, itís hard to have a distance and to even know whatís connecting on what level with different people. But we write the songs from the perspective of them. Itís a tradition that we started on the last record. Little focus groups of fans and so ďNew York City SpeedĒ may not be an official single in the sense that weíre not really going to radio with it right now. Weíre not shooting a video for it right this second. We donít do our full on single push until 2010 but it was our choice as the first song to leak.

Why do you think the majority of the fans like that particular song?

Probably the beat. Probably the hook. Probably because a demo of it had been leaked on the Internet like a year or two ago. Usually thatís a good sign if something gets leaked and gets going and spreads real fast. Thatís probably what they relate to. Probably the fact that it sounds a little bit familiar already. Iím sure any song about drugs seems to gets peopleís attention.

Those are always my favorite songs. Did you enjoy performing at the after party for Nine Inch Nails?

Yeah, we did. Iíve been listening to Nine Inch Nails since I was 14 years old. They were influenced a lot by the Chicago industrial scene. In fact they kind of were in the Chicago industrial scene even though they were from Cleveland I believe at that time. I think whatís kind of cool about this record is that weíre seeing things change in pop culture and between Twilight movies and everything else and bands and stuff. Finally we donít have to in any way apologize for the stuff that weíre into so we can say that we like to be associated with Nine Inch Nails. We can finally namedrop bands like Nine Inch Nails and The Cure and Joy Division and some of these darker references and people donít run the other way. Itís kind of refreshing to start seeing our names associated with people who have always been our heroes.

What are some of the best places in Chicago that the Chicago Suicide Club have done underground events at?

Thereís a club called Neo and Neo was like a dark wave club in the 80ís back when that was kind of popular and then since has gone through a period of kind of falling out of popularity in a way. It just became strictly underground and we like to play big clubs over there and do big events because the club hasnít changed since 1982. The appearance of it and everything. There are still mirrors everywhere and huge fog machines and velvet curtains and stuff. The same I believe original owners and everything. Thatís one of my favorite rediscoveries and itís open until 4 AM. We brought Marilyn Manson there after his show. That was awesome. Seeing him and Twiggy do drugs off of the turntable was pretty interesting.

It was interesting to watch him grow as a performer. I remember the first show I went to, between each song you could hear a needle drop and this was a big auditorium. This was at Reunion Arena and just to watch him progress over the years is really interesting.

Yeah, heís a real artist.

What are some good eating establishments in Chicago? Like some of your favorites.

I kind of got over the hipster shit and places where I know Iíd run into people. I started hanging out at steakhouses and old man restaurants. Thereís a place called Erie Cafť, it has an outdoor patio on the river. Itís just me and a bunch of geriatric people and like the Chicago Mafia. Thereís a place called Tavern on Rush and a place called Left Bar on Rush and Gibson also on Rush which again is kind of cheesy tourist and people who are wanted by the FBI from the 50ís. But they take care of me and I know I donít run into anybody there so I like it and thatísí where I eat and itís great. I eat like a 90 year old man.

Those are some of the most interesting people. Your fans bring you a ton of food items on the road. What happened to be the best food item that you received?

The best food item was probably, I had gotten an incredible bottle of Italian wine when I was in Italy and I just got another one in Milwaukee so Iím a huge fan of getting nice bottles of red wine. But I remember once in Nashville getting a huge pasta dinner by a fan and then actually just yesterday the first food item on this whole tour I got was a big bag of Rice Crispie treats.

You now have a new guitarist with you on the road. Is this a permanent position?

Weíre in a weird kind of flux right now. Itís interesting between Johnny exploring solo stuff and Dan just took this tour off to go get married and to go on his honeymoon. Weíre having actually a lot of fun right now experimenting with different lineups. Itís just refreshing because everybody involved is just super hyped and super excited. Thereís this youthful energy that people bring as opposed to people like me who have been doing it for so long. Thereís an excitement that they have that is contagious. Itís a challenge I enjoy.

It brings a new dimension to the band.

Our standards are incredibly high. We look at our fans as our kids. We look at personnel as itís a family and we never bring in anybody that doesnít meet up to a very, very high standard.

Speaking of Wake Up The Sleepers, did Elias or Garrett do the drum work on the record?

Actually Elias did all the drumming on the record and he nailed it. He recorded 14 songs in a day and a half on drums. Itís great.

The band has really acquired an interest into the use of Twitter. Especially using it as a picture blog for the road. Is it really that addicting?

Itís not addicting. Itís more like an obligation. Iím not so vain as to think that people should give a shit about what I eat or anything like that. I think Twitter is probably the most vain thing Iíve ever encountered in my life. Itís important. Itís a good way for us as a band to stay in touch with our fans. If you follow the band then you might be interested in what weíre doing during the day. We donít have a reality TV crew around us. Itís a cool way to document the ridiculous situations that we find ourselves in.

Why are you fascinated with historically debutante women like Amelia Earhart?

When all you have of someone is 10 incredible black and white pictures, itís easy to romanticize them as more than human. If I were living around the time of Amelia Earhart, I might look at her more as like Nicky Hilton. Like oh, thereís Amelia. Whatever. I just appreciate people who do daring things with their lives. I look to the past because I donít see many people right now doing anything interesting.

In an interview you mentioned that your sound is new romantic. How would you describe new romantic as a genre and do you think the sound will also pertain to the new record?

New romantic as a genre I guess could be described as I think in terms of instrumentation, I think new romantic is as much a style and as much an attitude that you know it when you see it kind of a thing. Itís about the mood of the music and itís about a darker mood to the music. A depth to the music and lyrically I think itís about a depth to the lyrics and probably subject matter thatís a little less Nickleback and a little more real.

I first remember hearing the term new romantic back in the 80ís. It was all these people like Boy George and David Bowie and Marilyn and that English scene where they dressed up all fancy and went to these clubs.

Yeah, weíre taking it back and weíre calling it Nu and weíre making it American instead of British. Thatís kind of a twist. A little less pompous.

I thought that was so cool. A bunch of fucking kids just dressing up and going out to clubs. Itís such a shame because it seems like thereís nothing cool left for kids to do these days.

I agree.

Kill Hannah