"..just the right amount of on Avant Garde Art vibe.."
Misfit Mod Bio:
At the crossroads of art, music, and DIY culture, you’ll find Misfit Mod, the moniker of London-based Sarah Kelleher. With icy electronic beats, wet synths, and a hypnotic voice (one that veteran BBC host Tom Robinson said gave him goosebumps), Kelleher’s music radiates a technicolor fantasy full of understated strength and late-night whispers. Growing up in New Zealand—a country famous for its idyllic landscapes as much as its dreary working-class conservatism—Kelleher spent most of her time as a child absorbing whatever caught her interest. Hanging out with her brothers and friends, riding around on her highlighter orange BMX, and singing along to her father’s records was as much a part of shaping her imagination as were da Vinci and Giotto, TLC and Boys II Men. Part aversion to tribes, part artistic manifesto, Kelleher resisted taking instrument lessons or studying music theory, allowing her instead to cultivate a refined and cultured naivety that expresses her sense of musical purity and artistic individualism. Not interested in replicating what’s already been done, Kelleher combines her intuitive take on melody and vocal layering with a technological approach to the production of sound: in addition to being a serial autodidact, she is also one of New Zealand’s few certified female audio engineers. Kelleher’s aesthetic is built on the juxtaposition of art and sound. A former gallery curator and art history graduate, Misfit Mod’s music and attitudes reflect this philosophy: teaming up with Swedish fashion designer Josefin Arnell, Kelleher created the live score for a fashion, music and performance-art hybrid; and at a recent show in London, Kelleher worked with mixologists to invent a cocktail that mimicked the feel and taste of her music (crushed lavender, violets liquor, sweet cherries). In 2007, still in New Zealand, and following a string of shitty events that Kelleher would rather not talk about, Sarah began spending most of her nights in a makeshift studio in a small corner room of an apparel factory. For 6 to 8 hours every day, Kelleher would go to her office and record, eventually laying the foundation for Islands & Islands, a record she would continue obsessing over for years. Escaping New Zealand in 2008, Sarah would spend the next couple of years traveling across Northern Europe, tweaking beats in Oxford and Amsterdam, writing and rewriting her lyrics in Paris, polishing her vocal melodies in Berlin. Sharp and precise, Misfit Mod has built a collection of songs that cut straight to her aesthetic core. From the rich and chocolatey ‘Sugar C’ and mantra-like ‘Cars’, to the unearthly “Ghost Me’ and sun-blurred ‘Valleys’, Islands & Islands is an album of subtle variety and aching beauty. For all of those who are misfits too, Islands & Islands forms not the vanguard of some new tribe, but the spear tip of one artist’s journey into a raw, eclectic, and vivid interior world.
Hello, how are you?
Hi. Good thanks.
What are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to a lot of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Mykki Blanco, Lauryn Hill, Jib Kidder, The Knife and the new Kurt Vile record.
When did this project come about and whom were your biggest influences for said project?
Oh it came about over quite a long period of time. I hadn’t really thought too much about actually releasing the album but my friend Mark and a few other people who I had shared it with were like ‘Sarah! What are you doing with these songs?!’ Mark asked me if I would like to release it through his record label Stars And Letters and I said, yes. I always like to work with my friends on projects and creative things so it seemed like the natural thing to do. I wasn’t inspired too much by anyone in particular. I actually stopped listening to most music while I was writing a lot of this record. I really wanted it to feel of it’s own, I didn’t want to be too inspired by others. At this point it was more about finding my own way of doing things.
Care to tell us a little bit about your latest release 'Islands And Islands'?’
Yeah, sure. It’s a very minimal record. I think it feels quite insular and underwater-y. I’m addicted to melody and harmony so that’s a really big focus for me. A lot of the songs were written while I was traveling around which meant I didn’t have a huge amount of access to gear. I think that partly attributes to the minimal feel of the album. It’s very bare bones.
Any plans to tour for said release?
Yip, there are a few things in the pipeline. I’m working on a live set at the moment. It would be great to go over and hang out with my label in New York and do a few shows. That’s the idea but nothing is super firmed up yet. So keep an ear out for news!
If you could choose any artist(s) to remix your work, whom would you choose and why?
Fatima Al Qadiri would be cool. Though I don’t know if she’d be into it. Haha. Her music is kind of like the opposite of mine. I think that’s why I’m attracted her work. It could be an interesting combination. It would either be a total disaster or completely amazing. I like the idea of that.
Got any other projects we should know about?
I’m working on few interesting collaborations that I’m really excited about and can’t wait to share. And I'm hoping to release an E.P a little later in the year as well.
What movie would work best on mute while listening to you music?
I’m sure the perfect match exists but I’m not sure I’ve seen it yet.
You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
Wow, hard question! Maybe, Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours'. Stevie Nicks is the best!
Are you living your dream?
Sure. I have rad friends, making music I love and doing things I love. I feel like that’s pretty dreamy.
Thanx Sarah and Matthew!
Misfit Mod released her impressive debut LP this year, I strongly recommend you give it a listen...