“It’s a shame that being an all-girl band is still seen as a gimmick,” says Maha, lead singer and guitarist of all female trio The Kut; “There’s always a lot of focus put on it, but we are all serious musicians. We love female fronted acts, but for us the main focus has always been the music.” Self-styled as “basement rock,” The Kut present a sonic collage that evokes everything that made the 1990s alternative rock scene such a beautifully broken beast: thick slabs of fuzzy guitar, drawn from the core of grunge’s bitter heart, to ethereal passages of twinkling atmospherics that pay homage to the likes of My Vitriol and early Radiohead. Ahead of the release of Make Up via Criminal Records on the 18th August, vocalist Maha guides us through its making, track by track…
The Make Up EP is in many ways a transition record, but mostly it’s a statement: we are still alive. The first three tracks are newer material that we recorded with producer James LeRock Loughrey, but due to release issues we also put on 2 previous tracks on to complete the EP. The last two had never made it on to a full record despite being singles, so it felt right to get them in there as well. We still play them out live and although “DMA” is somewhat an outsider track, we hope it shows where we are at right now.
1. “No Trace”
“No Trace” is the newest out of the tracks. I’d written the song a while ago, but wanted the arrangement to be right and that meant it was shelved for a while. We’d never played it live before we recorded it in the studio. Once the drums came together, it became what it is in this incarnation. Alison came up with the bass on the spot for the record, and that gave it the edge it needed. It’s not only the newest track, but also a wild card in some ways, which made it a great way to reintroduce ourselves, something that no-one had heard at the shows- for us it made it more exciting to see what everyone would think.
2. “Make Up”
“Make Up” is an emotional track, partly commenting on depression and the way that people aren’t always as genuine from the words they say, as you’d hope they are. I guess sometimes people aren’t good with words, but when they are and they tell you nothing but lies, it’s much worse. The message is that I’d rather hear nothing at all than be sold a facade. The riff is pretty grungy and we love playing it live. I normally notice a few raised eyebrows when I sing over the solo [laughs], Ali loves that solo.
“Mario” is usually the first track in our set. Personally, I’ve always felt that it represents our sound as a band, purely because we aren’t commercial or pop, we never sold out. I’d like to think there are still bands who can write tracks that aren’t all major chords with lyrics that are sung by smiley happy faces, that are still great tracks. I guess it’s our most ‘Jane’s Addiction’ style track we have and I love that band. When we wrote it I was just messing around playing the Super Mario theme tune… all of a sudden it was a freestyle jam, loads of ideas were getting thrown in the mix. By the end of rehearsal it was a song and the first one we’d written together as a band!
“Closure” is a track that we released as a video after it was a B-side to “DMA.” We never thought of it as a B-side as in many ways it was better than the A, but the recording is really different to how it sounds live. It would be great to re-record it one day with James, especially since it’s a lot heavier live. Someone told me they were ‘talking about the past’ with someone, after a huge argument – it totally struck me that so much anger and aggression could come back from something that was essentially long gone, a ghost. It reminded me of how closure isn’t something that can be achieved from the outside world, in the sense that you don’t need a person to tell you the right words or wait for something to happen for you to be able to move on. You just need to make a decision, because closure is something that is inside you, hence the lyrics “Closure’s from within”
“DMA” was previously released as “Doesn’t Matter Anyway,” and over time became “DMA.” We love playing this live, although I’ve got some scars that say otherwise. I usually always cut my hand at gigs playing “DMA” and am usually pouring blood by the end! We used to have a lot more ska influence in our tracks, so this was in some ways a cross over track, still with the ska riffs and sixteenth disco beats, but also with the grungy guitars.