Interview: Natalie Denise Sperl of Kill My Coquette!

Underneath This had a nice opportunity to interview Natalie Denise Sperl. Please read more about Natalie before checking out the subsequent interview.

Natalie is the front woman of Los Angeles-based quartet Kill My Coquette whose self-titled debut EP just came out on January 20th.  Armed with attitude and boasting vital rock & punk with a twist of designer blues, Kill My Coquette is influenced by game-changing artists like Jack White, Lou Reed, Joan Jett and the New York Dolls, but they have a sound all their own.  Written and arranged by Natalie, the 5-song EP was recorded at Evelyn Martin Recordings in Los Angeles with producer Danny McGough (Tom Waits, Social Distortion). The first single is “3rd & Bonnie Brae.”

photographer:  Brandise Danesewich

photographer: Brandise Danesewich

You have been involved in several creative paths  – modeling, acting in film and television and more recently, music. What are the differences among these types of formats? What is unique about music?

With music, I have more control creatively. Acting and modeling I’m part of someone else’s vision. I can say whatever I want with my songs. It’s scary but more thrilling at the same time. Music soothes me.

Which moment or series of moments prompted you to pursue music?

I was getting bored of waiting around on film sets and all the down time between jobs, so I decided to try to write and play music, see where it took me. I started a band and started writing. I HAVE TO keep re-inventing.

How does a sense of geographic place, including being from the Midwest, affect your music?

I knew from early on I wanted to get out of there, see the world. I read so much about Hollywood and New York I knew it would be one or the other.  I’m glad I had those beginnings though, for being so far removed form the rest of the world. Wouldn’t have worked so hard, fought so hard otherwise, ya know? I would have been comfortable and complacent, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

You have described your influences as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and especially Social Distortion. What about Social Distortion was so impactful?

Yes I talk about them a lot. I just really dig their music. Plain and simple.

I also hear female influences – Joan Jett and Hole (Courtney Love) seemingly most prominently. Have female musicians been influential? If so, who?

Yes both those women are huge for me. It’s not about loving every song they ever did either. It’s what they STAND for. The idea. THAT spoke volumes to me. Unapologetic. Aggressive. I have utmost respect for Brody Dalle, Janis Joplin, Chrissy Hynde, Patti Smith and even Madonna. All doing it on their own terms.

Do you consider your music feminist? Why or why not?

I’m not writing music because I have a feminist message I want to convey. I just happen to like a lot of bands with front women so I’m sure their influence can be heard in my music. Does that make my music feminist? You decide.

What stereotypes are still prevalent for women in pop and rock?

I’m not really aware of any. Pop music in general gets flack for all the auto tuning but that’s for anyone. Other than that I don’t know of any.

There seems to be a dearth of women in mainstream rock? What do you make of that lacking?

It’s hard. It’s dirty. It’s not for everyone. It would be much easier if I played solo with an acoustic guitar but I love the big sound you get with a full rock and roll band. Plus it’s all about electronic stuff now. People wanna feel good and dance. I get that but with my band I want to bring back the feel of music from back in the day when it was played because you had a point to make, felt restless, or just wanted to hear guitars cranked on ten.

How do you feel about the Sleater Kinney reunion?

I think it’s great all these bands from back in the day are touring again. It’s super cool to see they didn’t fall apart. I love seeing bands play live. Looking forward to their show.

Your music has been described as riot grrrl, rock, punk, and even “dirty pop.” How do you perceive these designations?

Better than “clean pop” I guess. The EP is a mix. A sampler. I have tons more songs. We decided on those tracks because it made sense and sounds cohesive. I’d love to write only punk rock, but other melodies are coming out, so there you have it. Just don’t call it “model rock,” lol.

How did the name, “Kill My Coquette” originate?

Kill My Ex was already taken I think. Coquette is euphonious. It sounds good.

photographer:  Brandise Danesewich

photographer: Brandise Danesewich

How are you feeling about the band’s EP?

I’m super excited to release it. All the work coming to fruition. It’s just fun to play rock and roll! It’s a good cruising soundtrack too.

I absolutely love the song “Festival Boy” (including the Journey sample!) What is the story behind that song?

A dreamy melodic tale of meeting someone new. We met at Coachella. Stormy..turbulent..beautiful..all at the same time. I had to write a song about it.

The vocals on “Close to Me” sound particularly passionate. What was it like making this track?

It was a song that came out of an improv kinda jam session. I had the chorus from the beginning, verses changed a bit. Vocally it was tough to get the right vibe but I think we got it.

“Post Teenage Angst” seems the most punk on the album. What is the “post” referencing?

It literally means after your teenage rage, don’t get soft.

What is next for Kill My Coquette?

We’re busy promoting the EP. I’d love to get on a bill with another band and do some shows. Maybe do a Southern California tour up and down the coast. I’d love to get to NYC and the UK too, or Germany. That’d be fun.

What insights do you have for aspiring musicians?

See as many shows as possible. Study the greats.

Thanks so much!
Check out http://www.killmycoquette.com for all the latest news and tour dates.

-Sem

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