No Waves is a live recording taken from Body/Head’s performance at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 24, 2014. Instead of traditional songs, the album is a snapshot of moments from the set.
Kim Gordon: Blackouts and SpotlightsWhile Kim Gordon has been a part of countless projects over the years as both a musician and artist, “Murdered Out,” a one-off single the icon created with producer Justin Raisen, is the first time she’s released music under her own name. It’s an unexpected pairing, and the single is well removed from anything Gordon’s done in the past. The track is a hooky, danceable jammer built around a heavy, languid drum loop (performed by Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa) and a haunting loop of Gordon’s vocals. While the song is undoubtedly the most approachable thing Gordon has worked on, it revels in trashy feedback and distortion and remains distinctly hers. We spoke with Gordon about how the track came to be, her intentions for the song, and her future as a solo artist.
I’ve read that living in Los Angeles had a really heavy influence on the new single. Could you elaborate a little on that?
Well, I inadvertently met Justin [Raisen] in L.A. and it wouldn’t have occurred to me to work the way we did to make that song without his involvement, so that’s one thing. But driving around L.A. and seeing these murdered-out cars—totally blacked out with matte spray paint—was always really interesting to me. Also, the many different ways in which communities form is interesting to me, and one big community in L.A. is the car world and low-rider car community. There’s a lot of aspects of customization and personalization that goes on in L.A., between that car culture and even people’s houses there, so I was interested in that. Also the way cars can be seen as a status symbol, and how taking something like that and murdering it out can make it something of an anti-status symbol, but another status symbol at the same time within that community: The idea that I’m blacking myself out of this culture, often in a DIY way.
Did you enjoy working in that way, with loops and a bed already in place beforehand?
Yeah, I liked it! It was fun not knowing how it was going to come out. It was a little like improvising, in a way, though it was really like collaging in essence. Justin had my vocals and he made the rhythm track and laid down the bass and developed all of those things around my vocals, so I think it worked out really well because of that process. I laid down more guitars after all of that was done.
Was there a specific approach to laying down the guitar parts?
I just wanted to make it very textural and use it as another layer and add another element of trashiness to it.
I’ve read this was not necessarily intended to be your first statement specifically as a solo artist. However, now that the track is out, do you intend to pursue a solo career?
Yeah, I think we might do some more stuff together, Justin and I. I don’t have any burning desire to be a solo artist, really, because I’ve always felt like my art practice was always more along those lines. But I’m intrigued by the way Justin and I work and I’d like to do more.