Growing up in Chicago, I was lucky enough to enjoy an amazing underground music scene with a forerunner being Kill Hannah. Making music since 1993 (yes, sixteen years!), the boys have been working their butts off constantly touring and producing new music. At press time, the boys have produced six full length records including their latest album that just dropped last month,"Wake Up The Sleepers", seven EPs, three dvds and two compilation albums.
With all these efforts, to some it may seem obvious that these guys are all over the main stream radio charts but unfortunately, the majority of the country still doesn't know who the band is and seems to identify them as a Pearl Jam lyric. That's just what happens sometimes and Mat Devine, the frontman of the band and who I sat down in a interview with, has struggled through out all of these years. They have a strong fan base though, an amazing fan base in fact, and have loads of fellow musicians listening to them too.
They are in the middle of some pretty intense touring with Jet, Morningwood and Paper Route right now but Mat Devine gave me some of his precious time on their recent turn on the She Wants Revenge tour in Montreal at Le National. We talked everything from his favorite treat to the song writing process of the latest Kill Hannah work, "Wake Up The Sleepers" which was coming out only two days after our interview. It definitely wins the prize for most unique way to write a album ever. Read on to see the brilliance of Kill Hannah!
Mix and Mark: How did Kill Hannah come about? I know you guys have been around for an incredibly long time.
Mat Devine: I don't know how we came to be. I mean, it was a long time ago. I just wanted to start a band and that's just the same way every band starts, but instead of like growing up and doing something else real with your life, I just never wanted to grow up.
M&M: You guys are dropping your new album in days. How was the writing process different from past albums?
MD: It's different from the last two because I wrote a lot of it on the bus while traveling through Europe and stuff. I didn't know really if it was ever going to be released. I just reached a really exciting place of writing music for the first time in years where it was really for myself. I didn't know if it was going to be released, or on what record label, if any label. We had no idea how it was going to be put out. I just wanted something like were I to die in a car accident, or if someone found my lab top, what would I really want to be remembered by.
It was really writing from a super genuine place, in a very artistically healthy place and with much less consideration for certain record labels and commercial interests. This was more like, much more of an artistic statement then we've made in years so its' very different and much better.
M&M: Who are your major musical influences?
MD: For our sound, I guess you could say Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins, it depends. Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, The Smiths, early emo, late hair metal. I don't know, pretty much anything after 1992, I don't listen too.
M&M: What was the first concert you went to as a kid?
MD: The first concert I went to was Aerosmith and Skidrow. My gay uncle took me and it was awesome. I just remember walking into the arena for the very first time and just seeing all that space. So cool. Sitting there just high fiving my best friend during every song. It was awesome.
M&M: How's the tour been so far? Any favorite city or memory from it yet?
MD: Yeah, this tour's been great. New York City was probably my favorite. She Wants Revenge are super cool guys, we've been friendly and we both have somewhat similar influences.
I don't know..where have we been so far? Texas was cool. Let's see, Florida is always cool because we've had a lot of radio success down there. I don't know, every show is different and on this tour in particular, there's really no formula for what makes a great show because some of the smaller shows on this tour have been the most fun actually. I had a blast last night, we were playing in front of only 250 people or something like that and it was just dirty and sexy and fun and lighthearted.
M&M: If you could pick any two bands, dead or alive, to tour with, who would they be and why?
MD: On one tour? One package? I would say I would a time slot somewhere in between 30 seconds to Mars and the Cure.
M&M: Who are you personally listening to these days?
MD: I listen to a little bit weirder stuff just because it's refreshing. I just, especially when you're touring, you're used to the same stuff all of the time. I like to just veg out and listen to energy hour or like classical or something like that. There's a band that was on the first leg of this tour, there called Paper Route, and they are in the same vein as some of my other favorite bands, I don't know, like Mew or Sigor Ros or Coldplay. They're just more soundscapey, less aggro just more depth and texture and just really sweet sweet melodies.
M&M: After this tour, besides the album, are there any plans we can look forward to from you guys?
MD: Yeah, we're going to do the same thing. Like when a album comes out, we're pretty much gone for two years. You know, one tour leads to another. From this, we're going on the road with Jet for a week or two, then we join up with Papa Roach and Morningwood, so it's going to be Morningwood, Jet, us and Papa Roach which is just going to be the silliest lineup ever but that's when you have the most fun.
M&M: What's your favorite treat?
MD: I'd say warm brand new socks the day after I get off tour.
After we heard that response for favorite treat, we decided that if reasonable from now on, as a reminder of our interview, we'll be getting the band or artist's favorite treat for them! Mat Devine is now the owner of some very special Moose Crossing socks so I suppose he can always remember his time in Canada with She Wants Revenge!
You can the music of Kill Hannah here on their myspace
along with tour dates, merch and any other information you may need! At press time, the boys are on the tour with Papa Roach and Jet discussed in the interview so be sure to check them out and pick up their latest album! xo
Image from RoadRunner Records UK.