CRA: You have a new album due to come out called ‘One’. Which one song on the album should everyone listen to?
K: Love Song. It’s a bittersweet song about love that I’m sure will crack a smile for the lovers, and remind the bad boys and girls to keep on their toes!
CRA: Have any of your songs been played on the radio? Which one do you think would stand out and attract new fans best?
K: So far a demo version of ‘Radio’ has been played, as well as ‘Live Sex On Stage!’ Probably one of my least radio friendly, which the lovely outspoken Garry Bushell didn’t hesitate to play on the Independent Total Rock Radio show. Difficult one for me to answer because the songs are all quite different in style and substance, but probably ‘Radio’ at the moment, because people who feel as disillusioned as I do about the current state of the mainstream charts may feel inspired by it….and that’s what I aim to do with my songs!
CRA: When was the last time you listened to the radio and what feeling did it invoke in you?
K: Unfortunately for me it was a mainstream radio show, in my last (thankfully infrequent) trip to a supermarket. I try to use local shops as often as humanly possible, so I found the mixture of trawling the aisles and being force-fed Simon Cowell-esque tinny Pop ballads an altogether draining experience. I went from frustrated to angry to hurt to feeling like my head was about to explode in the space of about 20 minutes. Not pleasant!
CRA: If you could have your own radio show, what song would you open it with?
K: This week, I would open it with 'Angelina' by The Neurotic Outsiders, because that’s what I’m listening to right now. It’s fast, energetic and has a great melody, good for getting one out of the boudoir, although I doubt I’d ever likely have a morning show on the radio!
CRA: ‘Live Sex On Stage’ features Mike Strutter (aka Paul Kaye). What was it like working with someone who can pull comedy out of the bag the way he does?
K: Thrilling! He’s a genius. Paul Kaye is a hugely inspiring, immediately infectious and talented character, and every second in his company feeds honey to my soul. Working with him is not remotely like having to “work”, it’s all just tremendous fun, as his Punk Rock Spirit which oozes from every single pore is infectious.
CRA: What inspired you to write ‘Live Sex On Stage’?
K: At the time it was a frustration borne of the Amy Winehouse/Britney Spears sagas, the Media and Record Industry’s exploitation of those people’s problems/lifestyles. The whole distressing debacles were covered in the press for months, and it became hugely depressing to the point I didn’t read any music fanzines/press. The music world has become so NOT ABOUT THE MUSIC, everyone is searching for an angle to abuse all the time, rather than celebrating their enjoyment of the actual Music, which HAS to be the number one priority! I wrote that song to vent a bit of fury at the manipulation of a subject I love, and to feel I was doing something about it, in my own way.
CRA: You have a song called ‘Crazy’, what’s the craziest thing you’ve done on stage?
K: It has to be one of many crazy experiences I have had in the Mike Strutter Group! I performed with Strutter dressed as a Rubber Nun in a Working Mens Club, and managed to survive (not unscathed – I still have scars!) a pile up of about 15 members of the decidedly art scene type audience members who proceeded to join us in our writhing around on the floor. It’s always the ones you least expect that get loose with us, which is wonderful!
CRA: You’ve taken a different approach with ‘And Another Thing’ which has a more reggae feel to it. Where did that come from?
K: When I was a kid, reggae meant a lot to me, the message was always very strong, and sweet, it makes me happy to listen to it, sing along to, and play on my instruments. I have always liked to experiment with Musical styles, and Reggae is one thing I will be experimenting more with.
CRA: A line in the song is ‘I’ll dance all day with you’. Do you have a favourite dance, and/or song to dance to?
K: OOooh! ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ ALWAYS gets me off my ass! But my Morrissey dance is not dissimilar to that of a drunken windmill so I’d hate to have to do it in public. I’m crazy about Jive Dancing, I’d just love to learn to do it, I keep window shopping courses but can’t find a willing partner as yet... Any offers seriously welcome!
CRA: One of your songs is called ‘Jelly Baby’. Although Haribo are vegan jelly babies, many sweets contain gelatine thus are not suitable for vegans. Being vegan, what are some of your favourite vegan sweets and are there any sweets that you can’t eat that you wish you could?
K: Funny you say that, as although I compared something to a Jelly Baby for that track, I can’t actually stand the smell of them as I don’t really have a sweet tooth! I do buy vegan Jelly Bears, but I often give them away for that reason. The odd vegan carrot or chocolate cake (made by Naomi Watts recently for my stall at a gig) will tempt me, but I’ve always been more likely to crave savoury foods.
CRA: Were you a vegetarian before becoming vegan? What inspired your move to full vegan?
K: Yes! I was a vegetarian for as long as I can remember. Much to the dismay of my mother, who had to feed six of us on no money! Difficult little sod! When I was a little kid, I always hated the feeling/grim experience of 'chewing flesh'. I found it disconcerting and un-natural. In our animal crazy household, I loved our dogs so much, I could never differentiate eating a dog, or a cat, or a cow. They are all living, breathing animals and I don’t feel comfortable with killing anything.
CRA: Do you enjoy cooking? What would be your perfect dinner party menu?
K: Love cooking! And growing the ingredients to do it with! Up until around ten years ago, when I first switched to a full vegan diet I saw it as an unnecessary evil, and it was when I started travelling a lot and found it difficult to eat well and consistently, I lost an unhealthy amount of weight. That was when I realised I had to pull my socks up and get serious if I was going to be happy and healthy, and provide my body with the sufficient fuel, nutrients and fats it needed to function smoothly. The more I travelled around experiencing different foods and spices, the more I experimented with different styles and got the cooking bug! For a dinner party I would provide a watercress and potato soup as an appetiser, followed by a (home grown) chicory and walnut salad with a mustard dressing as a starter. I would then serve a puy lentil ginger/garlic and home grown herb curry served with my made up recipe for a dish, (not dissimilar to a Nasi Goreng style rice dish), using camargue red rice. I would serve a fresh fruit salad served with toasted brown sugar crusted syrupy almonds, of course accompanied by copious amounts of alcoholic beverage…. You did say party, right?
CRA: Where are your favourite cruelty free places to shop and eat in London?
K: Wholefoods in Portobello Road, Inspiral Lounge in Camden High Street is great, and Space NK has absolutely no animal testing on any of their beauty products, but is expensive and you have to watch ingredients! I try and make my own beauty products from natural oils and herbs to avoid complications/unnecessary chemicals.
CRA: Have you ever got involved in any campaigns?
K: I have signed many petitions in my time, but personally try to promote awareness by keeping up to date with various companies who give good advice and informing people when I can about what I learn, rather than any type of direct campaigning, unless it’s just too much for me to bear and I feel I have to shout about it! Education is the best form of change and understanding in people, but they have to want to learn. I don’t approve of pushing things on people unless they display an interest; some people are too wrapped up in their own lives to thing about the lives of animals. I do my best to promote a positive outlook and self awareness to everybody I come into contact with, but always gently, with a smile!
CRA: Have you managed to convert friends and family to vegetarian/veganism? What do you say to persuade them?
K: I cook ‘em a great slap up meal with no meat that tastes better! I defy anybody to stay in my house and miss meat.
CRA: Have you written any songs about being a vegan and/or animal cruelty (other than the occasional lyric such as'don't wanna live like a battery hen' in 'Radio')?
K: I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to top Meat Is Murder by The Smiths, but seeing as most of my subjects are about cruelty of one sort or another, I’m absolutely sure my furry friends will get their moment in my list of songs I want to write!
CRA: ‘Make Up’ is one of the songs on your album. What item of make up could you not live without and what are your thoughts of vegan/cruelty-free make-up compared to those that aren’t. Don’t you wish every brand of cosmetics was suitable for vegans and not tested on animals?
K: Parabens, unnecessary cruelty, why? Who wants to cover their skin in this junk if they don’t absolutely have to?! Luckily, as people, and therefore companies, are becoming much more aware, and are cottoning on to the fact that they need to cater and care for people who care, products are improving and ranges are widening all the time. I am relieved, as I gotta have a bit of glamour. I’m a flouncy girl, I love lipstick, and I’d really rather not have it tinted by the shells of crushed bugs!
CRA: You’re developing your own range of cruelty-free skincare and beauty products. Tell us a bit more about the range and what your motivation is behind the idea.
K: This came from my frustration at finding out more and more things that they use in cosmetics that are extremely bad for you, bad for animals that are abused for the privilege, are expensive, and don’t often work! My mother has never used chemicals on her skin, she flat refuses, and she has wonderful skin, so there’s the best advert for keeping natural! I decided to use natural, plant based products because, after experimenting with the likes of oats, nuts, herbs, essential oils and delights like jojoba, or Rose Hip seed oil, I just didn’t want to go back to using chemical/preservative ridden things that my skin and body does not actually need, nor want! So far I have only made things up for friends, and they are thrilled with the results. Ok, so a small jar of my oils won’t last on the shelf for 2 years, but if you use and like it like you will, it won’t get the chance to!
CRA: Being in the entertainment industry do you feel like you have to keep 'looking young'? Many celebs feel pressurised to have Botox, plastic surgery etc. How do you feel about that?
K: Bollocks to them all, I say! Weaklings! I’m happy with my muffin tops, nobody is perfect, and hey, Queen of The Screen Bette Davis was the best advert for wrinkles I ever saw!!
CRA: Finally, on your last single was a song called ‘Fussy Girl’ where you sing the line ‘I’m not one of those fussy, fussy girls’. If you were to be fussy about anything, what would it be?
K: PEOPLE! People can all be so very flawed…. Ahem, me included! I rarely connect with people, and if I don’t feel an underlying connection or kind of shared emotional intelligence, then I’m out of there! Gimme a pussycat or an elephant to play with any day of the week, they win hands down! I’ve done my time being soft and mixing with riff raff, but time is short, I got places to be and people I’d really rather not see!
Check Kiria out at www.myspace.com/kiriaspace