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Jesse Kivel Kisses and Tells

KISSES, kisses band, kisses interview, Jesse Kivel, Jesse Kivel interview, Zinzi Edmundson

Recently The Spec interviewed the electro-pop duo Kisses, comprised of Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson. These two create wistful, yet slightly disco-tinged music that is sure to cause moderate head movement.

The LA-stationed group will be performing at Crescent Ballroom on May 19 with locals Yellow Minute and Factories. It is in your best interest to attend and dance the night away.

Not convinced yet? Read on to hear what Kisses has to say about their beginnings, 80’s drum machines, and their love for Phoenicians.

The Spec: I’ve listened to Princeton before, a band I know you were in and I believe formed to some extent. The music between Princeton and Kisses is definitely different, and I assume must be quite different to perform live. Which style do you enjoy performing better and which do you feel comes more naturally to create?
Jesse Kivel: I think both styles were natural to me at different times. The sound of Princeton was something that came natural in my early 20s but I don’t think was ever a clear distillation of my songwriting. When I started mining the Kisses songwriting style, I definitely feel that I found my footing a bit more and live it is definitely fun to play! All in all though they have both been formative experiences that have shaped my songwriting today.

TS: What made you decide to begin Kisses?
JK: Just getting into dance music and wanting to make people move a bit more. Arthur Russell and disco were big turning points for me.

TS: What were some of the main inspirations for your new album Kids in LA?
JK: I would have to say the Art Laboe connection, 80’s drum machines from the freestyle era and classic LA iconography from parts of Beverly Hills and Bel Air.

TS: Which artists were the two of you listening to the most during the creation of this album?
JK: Probably Debbie Deb, Arthur Russell, Will Powers and Grace Jones.

TS: What would your ideal live set-up be?
JK: I think eventually we would like to add a live bass player and maybe someone who could play Wurlitzer or Rhodes to add some more rhythm. Also to bring our visuals to another level of style. ALSO we really want a full-time front of house guy!

TS: Is there anything you’d like your fans to know about the upcoming show here in Phoenix?
JK: We will be giving it our very best and we love them all deeply!

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