meet kim house, the enigmatic new leading lady of la punk
The unstoppable force behind one of Hedi Slimane's favorite lo-fi LA outfits, Kim and the Created, is bringing her provocative performance style on the road with The Kills.
Earlier this year, Hedi Slimane debuted what's now been confirmed as his final ready-to-wear collection for the house of Saint Laurent with a serious rebel yell — a fully fledged rock extravaganza staged at legendary LA venue The Palladium. After Justin Bieber and Pam Anderson eyed Slimane's shrunken jackets and sexy 70s shapes (a nod to the 50th anniversary of Yves Saint Laurent's eternally cool Rive Gauche collection), the runway gave way to the mosh pit, as Beck and Joan Jett performed raucous sets in celebration of fashion's most rock 'n' roll designer. These living legends were also joined by a few fresh faces culled straight from LA's dynamic DIY scene, some recognizable from Slimane's campaigns: Cherry Glazerr, Bleached, and No Parents. Among them towered a catsuit-clad Kim House, the enigmatic frontwoman of snarling garage meets acidic glam outfit Kim and the Created.
Hedi and House first teased the band's involvement in the Palladium celebration with a series of lo-fi mini music videos that have since been removed from Saint Laurent's YouTube page (perhaps following the brand's recent Instagram purge). For many people, that 30-second clip was the first window into Kim's wild world of powerful punk performance; her limbs thrashed akimbo and her facial expressions contorted with impulsive energy and sublime control — much as they did at the Desert Daze Festival, where Slimane first found Kim performing only in black pants, pasties, and body paint.
In some sense, The Created's sound is a bass-heavy inheritor of The Cramps' psychobilly structures and spooked-out riffs; but Kim herself seems far more a descendant of the cult band's uninhibited and provocative approach to performance enshrined by its iconic frontman, the late Lux Interior. As House hits the road as the opening act on The Kills' recently ignited national tour, we pick her brain about style and self-expression.
Tell us about yourself — where you're from, your interests growing up.
I'm from Gainesville, Florida and I've lived in the LA area for almost 10 years. Growing up, I was a band and theater "geek." I mostly did theater, as that was really my dream. I got into music after I moved to LA and accidentally started booking bands; I said to myself, "I can do that."
I'm sure you get a lot of comparisons, but The Cramps seems most apt to me. What's helped shape your sound?
I get a lot of comparisons to The Cramps, which is funny since I never knew about them, but I love them now. I grew up on classic rock and doo-wop. Led Zeppelin was everything to me for a long time. My sound comes from my emotions — just getting them out. The sound is how I feel.
How did Kim and The Created come together?
I started playing drums and singing and just asked friends of friends' bands to help me make the band live. I kept playing with random bands as my backing band for short periods of time and now it's been almost 40 people in three years! I wrote all the songs on the top string of my bass — the only way I could. I recorded it and showed it to my friend at KXLU college radio; when he played it, people called in and I should play live. So two weeks after I wrote my first song, I played my first live show — and never stopped.
How do you get inspired and what inspires you?
My feelings, honestly — needing to express myself. If I don't play live for a couple weeks, I literally get depressed and anxious. Just the desire to get it out. It is amazing to be able to do that and be appreciated for it. Can't imagine anything better than this.
Your stage costumes are amazing and I read you sew some of them yourself. What are your sources of inspiration when it comes to clothing?
I think the bodysuits came from being a dancer for so long; I took ballet, tap, and jazz for almost 20 years, so being in costume helps me let go and get into another world. My costumes help give me power.
Speaking of fashion, how did you first meet Hedi Slimane and come to work with Saint Laurent?
Hedi found me, actually. I played at Desert Daze and he came up to me after and told me how much he loved it and never saw anything like what I was doing. A few months later, we started shooting together. I love how he shoots, the honesty he captures in photos, and most importantly, his genuine love of everything he's involved in.
The Palladium show celebrated Hedi's connections to rock and roll. What do you think makes LA's music scene so special and important?
I think it comes from everyone's drive; I think we all just want it really badly. I know I just have to do this — can't do anything else, just can't. I think people can feel that.
You're now touring with The Kills. What do you most enjoy most about being on the road?
I have listened to The Kills for a long time and if you'd told me years ago that I'd be playing with them, I wouldn't have believed you. It's amazing. I love sharing the stage with a band like them, and hopefully reaching a new group of people who dig us.
What advice would you give people who want to express themselves as openly and creatively as you do?
DO IT! Just fucking do it. You are the only one holding yourself back. The only difference between me and anyone wishing they were in my shoes is determination. If you want to do it, do it — you can.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Alex Aristei