With a brand new record out this week, This Is The Kit - aka the musical project of Kate Stables - have once again redefined folk-rock with their unique soundscapes and gripping lyricism.
Set to take her majestic sound to festivals and venues around the UK, Europe and the USA between now and the end of 2023 - this year is sure to be a storm for Stables and her ever-expanding ensemble of collaborators.
We caught up with Kate to discuss 'Careful Of Your Keepers', the importance of allowing tracks to be free-flowing and more!
Check out the full interview below.
Firstly, your brand new record ‘Careful of Your Keepers’ is out soon – how does it feel as the release date gets nearer?
The album is done in terms of artwork and recordings, and they exist – hopefully in a warehouse somewhere ready to send next week – but now it is just stuff like signing the 600 prints that have arrived! I like having tasks to work to like signing those cards and doing interviews because they are fun to tick off but it certainly feels like a rollercoaster as we get closer.
Your last album ‘Off Off On’ was released in 2020 and recorded during the pandemic – apart from the obvious, what has been different this time around?
It has been nice to do more stuff in person this time around. Before, 100% of the interviews and performances were from my front room – but this time I’m able to do some solo shows and meet people in record shops, The human contact part of the job is what I like the most.
Speaking of the new record, you worked with Gruff Rhys to produce it – how was that?
He was at the recording sessions and he brought peace to everyone. He’s thoughtful and communicates clearly and kindly, as well as being the ideal guru for what we wanted to achieve with ‘Careful of Your Keepers’. His musical choices and creative ideas are like gold dust and I really think that comes across with the record we created with him.
This Is The Kit as a collective seems incredibly close-knit, so was it difficult to relinquish total control at all?
We’ve worked with other producers in the past, but like you say we are quite close-knit so it is always good to get a set of outside ears. I don’t think we’d be able to create an album without a sort of external adjudicator, even if it is someone we know.
You have a few shows lined up between now and the end of the year – how are preparations going for those?
They're going well! It's just really nice to be playing the songs with each other and although we’re getting the new ones to a level where we can perform them at a gig, it is exciting to find new ways to have fun with them. I want to feel like the songs change and there are no definitive versions of the songs or think that we’re just reproducing our recordings night after night. The songs are always changing for me, so there are no definitive versions of them.
Having been to a few This is the Kit shows over the years, the setlist seems pretty free-flowing and fans often shout out requests – is this something you make a conscious effort of allowing?
It is really nice to involve the audience because we appreciate that they made the effort to come out and stay until the end of the gig. If they want to hear something in particular then we’ll always try to squeeze it into the show.
There are some festivals lined-up this summer – including Deer Shed, which seems to be a staple for This is the Kit – how are you feeling ahead of being back?
I like that Deer Shed comes up on a regular basis. It is a good one where we can have a nice time with the audience and communicate with them. We know that festivals are sometimes challenging, but it feels quite intimate and that we’re safe in the audience’s hands there.
Does your preparation between festivals and headline shows change?
I guess when preparing ourselves mentally for a festival we have to remember there won't be a soundcheck and it will be rush. People that work at festivals are great and they do such good job, but there's no way it's ever going to be the same as a headline show where we’ve loaded in three hours before. The important thing for us playing festivals is to have a great time with the people that are in the audience.
You featured in the video for The National’s ‘New Order T-Shirt’ and have worked with them in the past – is there anything you learnt from being in their company?
It is always interesting to work with different people and listen to what influences them. Working and travelling around with them gives an insight into how they deal with different situations, how they look after themselves and systems they put in place. Seeing a band every night gives you the chance to study their music and lyrics, which is always inspiring.
Fellow The National-alumni Eve Owen is also in the video, and you worked with her sister on your own video for ‘Inside Outside’ – what was it like working with Hannah?
They’re both so lovely and brilliant. Hannah brought some brand-new ideas that were completely crazy and it was a total pleasure to work with her. I hope we get to collaborate again!
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