Swedish artist and producer Kat Knix knew the elements of her sound before she was able to translate it into music. Her new remix of The Knife’s Without You My Life Would Be Boring is featured on the mini-album Shaken Up-Versions. We asked the electro rock newcomer about first gig-excitement and her raw approach to dance music.
Before Kat Knix became a producer and started fiddling with strings of dance beats on her computer, she had a clear idea of the sound she wanted to make her own. It was abstract, closer to desire than a structured plan, but it forced her into the studio. With a rock singer background, she filters clean electro beats through a layer of roughed-up vocals and heavy reverb. Her recent remix of The Knife’s Without You My Life Would Be Boring is given the same treatment. It brings the somewhat conflicting elements of her world together; clear-cut beats disclose the darker undertones of the original track. When we meet one spring evening, sharing stories and a bottle of wine, Kat Knix tells me about feminist role models and what it’s like to enter the “tunnel” of creative flow.
What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
Released and free. You’re not thinking. It takes over your body. And without using any substances – the music is your drug.
In the past you’ve mentioned female vocalists and producers and how they inspire you. Can you tell me more about Kathleen Hanna and what she means to you?
Kathleen Hanna and PJ Harvey are my biggest girl crushes. When I was 16 I discovered Le Tigre. I was curious about feminism, stumbled across Kathleen Hanna and thought she was amazing. The whole summer of 2006 I listened to their albums. It became the soundtrack of that time. She contributed so much to feminism back in the 90’s. All her lyrics were about women’s rights and equality between men and women. For me, that’s so important. She has achieved so much. There’s a long way to go, but we’re getting there!
I think there are similarities between you and her even though Le Tigre is not dance music. There’s a rawness to your sound.
Very rough, very raw.
Is that what you want a dance floor to be like?
No matter if you’ve had a rough day or your feet hurts because you’ve got heels on or you’re too drunk or too sober, the music should fill you up. You forget about everything else. You don’t care about yesterday, you don’t care about tomorrow.
You lose yourself. The rules disappear.
You’re just having fun. I don’t go out to get laid or meet cute guys. I don’t care about wearing “sexy” clothes. I wear whatever is comfortable enough to dance in.
What was your first gig like?
My first gig was in Berlin. I was very excited about it and had loads of rum and coke around my friend’s house beforehand. It was fun, but I was super excited and danced a bit too much. I lost my breath, which messed with my vocals. That gig was like losing your virginity. Afterwards I knew what I had to improve until next time. My second gig was in Hackney, Netil House, and it was a big art and music event with DJs playing. Again, I was very excited, but I didn’t have as much rum and coke. I was wearing my favourite clothes; a huge fringe vest with a cow print. It was life. All my Swedish wives were there along with other friends and strangers. You could see that people were enjoying themselves. They were dancing!
The contrast between working alone in a studio and performing in front of a crowd of dancing people is interesting. Do you find it strange?
It’s perfect. When I’m producing I’m such a lone wolf. I sit in my room, where I have my mini studio, or I’m in my friend’s studio mixing or mastering. I love the combination of being isolated and then going out to play. Just because I like being alone doesn’t mean I’m a complete recluse. I’m still a social person. Being on stage feels like home and I love meeting new people. I get a bit of two worlds; being a geek in the studio or with my laptop and out and about with people, performing and going fucking crazy.
What’s it like when you create music?
When I get the flow I lose track of time. I think it’s common when you do something creative. You consume either a huge amount of coffee and snus or a bit of wine or gin and tonic, and I can finish a track within a couple of hours. Sometimes I don’t get enough sleep. You’re so involved with the track and you don’t see what’s happening around you. It’s like a tunnel. I love it.
This interview was originally published on the website Radar Magazine.