CITY: New York City
I hung out with singer Kim Talon one pleasantly hungover Saturday afternoon. I met her at The Bowery Hotel, where she sipped on chamomile tea or something healthy while I downed vodka tonics to combat my hangover. Her icy blue eyes exuded a warmth that helped melt my hangover blues.
Kim is a solo bird now, after departing from Los Angeles band Eagle and Talon. When I asked her about her newfound creative freedom, her phone rang; it was Alice, her former band-mate. “She was like a spouse,” Kim confessed to me. “And now I’m like a single person in terms of not having that [musical] family. It’s sad and lonely but I do get to make all the creative decisions. I get to be more impulsive in terms of my creative decisions. I make every single choice alone. If it sucks then it’s on my shoulders.”
But her choices sure don’t seem to suck. Her debut single, “Work For The City” is clever and catchy. The folky vocals mixed with the pseudo punk sounds make me think of 90’s band Veruca Salt.
For the record, she worked with producer John Goodmanson; it was the first time she had worked with a professional producer. She had always self-produced in the past. She found Goodmanson quiet at first and worried that perhaps the lack of verbal communication would translate into a musical miscommunication. “I was like, is this okay that we haven’t had a conversation? Are we really gonna approach his record in a mystical psychic way?” But, Goodmanson was merely soaking it all in. “I think he might be [a genius.] He knew exactly what I wanted.”
Kim grew up in Winnipeg. “I was surrounded by white for most of the year; I grew up in one of the coldest cities in the world.” Her exposure to a cold atmosphere stuck to her like freezer burn, and its effects can be heard through much of her music. “It definitely had a big influence on my creativity and in terms of my writing.” The warmth of her parents contrasted the cold; they pushed her to begin piano lessons at the ripe old age of two. She stated that her environment had more influence on her musically than any musician or artist.
She and her family still appear to be close. Practically everything that Kim was wearing came from her mom; she joked that her mom was her personal stylist. She pointed to the vintage kimono she was wearing. “My mom gave it to me. She has amazing taste. She just buys me vintage stuff, because she wants to vintage shop, but can’t wear this stuff in Winnepeg.”
Despite looking fly, Kim claimed she is not tapped into the fashion world at all. Before the interview, I had researched Kim and came across a lot of articles discussing her fashion; many of the write-ups referred to her clothing style as racy. Kim stated, “You lose street cred for [dressing that way] in the indie world; I wasn’t raised in an environment where I was taught that being comfortable with your body was a bad thing.”
Unfortunately, our environment as a whole makes it hard for ladies to be comfortable being comfortable. And if you are comfortable, or are deemed attractive by society, you are not allowed to suffer. Kim, who feels herself to be an outsider, has found a lot of backlash when she expresses her outcast nature. “They think there is no reason for me to feel that way. It’s this response that I’m getting like, ‘what kind of problems could you possibly have?’ Being an artist means that you are inherently an outsider. If you’re an artist doing your own thing, you’re in a constant fight. I fight every single day.”
A lot of Kim’s previous music had a cold isolated feel to it, perhaps influenced by her Canadian youth. Her debut album, however, is warmer. “It’s also maybe a little more melancholy, more personal, less gritty; it’s more transparent,” she stated without hesitation. She also doesn’t hesitate to be badass with a side of detachment when she puts on a show. “People are scared of me when I perform,” she admitted. “I’m just trying to translate what the music is about, and I think that that manifests itself into a way where I seem kind of cold. I’m not putting on a show where people feel like they could hug each other. It’s [the performance] that is disturbing; the whole thing is just disturbing.”
If you want to be pleasantly disturbed, check her out at one of her performances. She begins mid-July in Los Angeles and she will be in Europe starting mid-August. Her album will be available across the pond on July 1st.
JAN is a musician who lives in New York City and has just released her first self-titled album available now.
Interview by Gina Tron