Kendra Frost, Ayse Hassan and a drum machine called Alan
When I reach Shoreditch’s Kamio it looks as though the venue has been taken apart and is being hastily reconstructed around Kendra Frost. As amps, lighting and spools of cable are busily stacked and wheeled towards the stage, she is waiting quietly for Kite Base’s other half, Ayse Hassan, amid the bustle. Having just returned from a 25-date European tour, Frost would be forgiven for being a little jaded, but there’s no hint of that. “I’m grateful every day for this opportunity,” she later tells me with the calm wisdom of someone who has been working hard a music for over a decade. “I’m going to make the most of it.”
Suitcase in hand and band merch in tow, she has come prepared, and when an out-of-breath Hassan arrives, she declares that she herself has spent the morning working on a playlist for the night’s show. Their enthusiasm and back-to-basics determination is a reminder of why musicians do this, and, for that matter, why music journalists do this.
“One of the main starting points found in origami, a Kite Base is an opening move made with simple folds to generate a firm and fertile foundation for creativity.” So reads the helpful explanation on Kite Base’s website. But for all the geometric order of their origamic logo, Kite Base are not as neat a prospect as they may seem. With both members playing bass, their music sits defiantly at the lower end of pop music’s frequencies. And yet ‘dark’ and ‘brooding’ – descriptors that have been casually applied to them since they formed almost two years ago – do not do their sound justice. Likewise, the lazy comparisons that have been thrown around to date (Warpaint, I’ve even read Florence and the Machine) rely on gender rather than sonic resemblance. Really, this is energetic, electronic post-punk in the spirit of Killing Joke, PiL, Magazine and, yes, Siouxsie and the Banshees. If you’re looking for more modern comparisons, opt for Preoccupations and Liars.
If their sound is a fascinating one, it is also one born out of necessity. With only two sets of hands, they are restricted in what they can do in a live setting. And while they do admit to having an occasional third member – their impeccably-behaved drum machine, Alan – they are loath to rely too heavily upon laptops and pre-recorded samples. “You’re allowed to be a lot more creative because you’re not bombarded with options,” explains Frost. “You have to make things from what you have.”