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This Is The Kit is the musical project of Kate Staples, originally from Winchester but now living in Paris. She won over Guy Garvey and other notables like Marc Riley, Iron and Wine and The National, who she has supported live. Her third album, Bashed Out, is out in April and give us another delicious slice of her delicate yet powerful songs that stay with you for ages afterwards. Kate sings of love, of family, of nature, and the feelings that go alongside these universal themes. It’s just the most awesome music from an artist who is not afraid to experiment but knows her own style so well. I asked her about working with John Parish and if she enjoys going on tour.


50 /March 2015/outlineonline.co.uk


Have you always sung and made music? Yes I suppose I have. My dad taught me a few basic chords on the guitar when I was little (the same basic chords I'm still using to this day!) and I learned the trumpet when I was at school. My family has always played music and sung lots, but I guess it wasn't until GCSE music that I properly started making my own music, so to speak. I had the family four track in my room and would spend a lot of time messing around with that and filling up tapes. I'm slowing using up/wiping over all the old archives now though by making mix tapes for people. Most of the four track stuff I did when I was younger doesn't need to be heard again by anyone! You have a very organic musical and vocal style; for me your style is like folk, but more than folk. At times there’s a touch of psychedelia. It feels very much imbued with a woman’s strength to me (if that’s not too hippy a thing to say!). Where do you get your inspiration for your songs? Tank you! Tat's actually a very complimentary thing to say! I read and collect a lot of folk tales and stories from around the world, so the stories most likely make their way into the songs. But also there's a lot of every day (or less every day) things that happen and that make it into the songs; thoughts, mulling overs, conversations. Your debut album was produced by John Parish, from PJ Harvey fame. What was it like working with him on that record? It was just a total pleasure. He's a true gent and very good company to hang out with. He's very good at hearing the music and understanding the process of making it into a coherent album. Plus he's very diplomatic, so if I were doing something that maybe wasn't a good idea, he'd be able to suggest doing it differently in a very agreeable and diplomatic way. A good life skill! It was also quite a quick painless process. We simply went to Italy for a weekend and recorded pretty much all the tracks in a couple of days. Ten it was a question of finishing bits off and mixing tracks in a couple of sessions when we were back in Bristol passing through. Excellent. No fuss. Your most recent album came out in 2010, Rob da Bank chose one of your songs for his folk compilations and things got big quite quickly for you! Since then you’re played with Te National, Sharon Van Etten and Iron and Wine. What’s been the best moment of your career so far? Good question. I guess I could choose a moment that has exposed Tis Is Te Kit to the most amount of people or I could choose a moment that, as an artist or


individual stuck in my memory as a formative and significant personal moment. But let me see, if I was to try and tick both of those boxes then being on tour with Te National was an amazing once in a lifetime experience that also probably introduced our music to a lot more people. But life is full of excellent and significant moments so ask me the same question at another moment and I dare say I'd have a different answer. Who can say? I get the sense that you have very eclectic music taste, listening to a wide range of genres, but which are the albums or artists that you keep coming back to? I do love listening to African music. Te older the recordings the better, like the recordings that Hugh Tracy made in the ‘50s and ‘60s. A favourite record of mine is the Living Is Hard album released by Honest John Records. It's recordings of West African musicians who were living in the UK in the early 20th century. But I also always come back to Richard Dawson; I just love everything he's done. His recordings are sublime and his live shows are earth shatteringly great. You’re off on tour for a month this spring in the UK and France; what’s the best and worst thing about being on tour? Te best thing about being on tour is being with three of my best friends and getting to play music with them every day and meeting new and excellent people. Plus I love travelling and seeing new places, even if sometimes we only get to see motorways and the inside of venues! Te worst thing about it is being away from my family for far too long, and this sense of neglecting your family is made worse by physical and emotional fatigue. It’s pretty tough, but you have to find ways of staying in touch and trusting that everyone is fine and managing.


Lizz Page MORE INFORMATION


Tis Is Te Kit play at Norwich Arts Centre on 11th March. Tickets from www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk


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