THE K-HOLES: SLICK NEW VIDEO, ROUGH SXSW INTERVIEW
The K-Holes are one of the few bands from New York that brings something to the table that we just don’t make for ourselves in L.A. Don’t get me wrong: we have great bands in our burg by the truckload! But none of our bands have quite this take on vintage rock and roll guitar, or ethereal vocals sung quite this way, or quite such a noisy, almost dissonant sax sound. It’s familiar, yet completely unique, more so than most bands I use that line on. Plus, singer Vashti Windish is just… well, it would be confusing to attempt to describe her at all. I’ll just let her and the band speak for themselves.
Exhibit A: here’s a great new video, directed by Sebastian Mlynarsky, of the song “Window in the Wall” from their upcoming album, Dismania. It’s dark and moody and even a bit evil…
Exhibit B: And here’s the complete opposite of that. We actually caught up with a couple K-Holes serendipitously at the L.A. RECORD showcase in Austin for SXSW, where they were patrons of the Spits, Thee Oh Sees, Kid Congo Powers, and the Gories. Below is the little interview I badgered them into, right outside Emo’s East and a crowd of shiftless fans, homeless citizens, and taco truck patrons who didn’t really care whether I got a good interview or not. Normally I ask bands about their song lyrics, their place in music history, and their dreams; this time, the focus was all about buttholes.
Where’s your saxophone player tonight?
JULIE HINES (bass): At a metal show.
JULIE HINES: Whoooooo knows?
JACK HINES (guitar, vocals): Sarah the Sax Fifth Avenue is at a metal show, because she’s a metal head!
I’m a metal head, too, but I’m here at the Gories. What brought you here tonight?
JACK HINES: Honestly, the Spits, more than anything else, personally.
It’s my first time seeing them! Do they usually wear those giant Jack Chick robes?
VASHTI WINDISH (lead vocals): Ha ha, those Reagan masks? Yeah, they usually wear something. There’s always some fun theatrics involved. Their pyrotechnics are amazing.
JACK HINES: I’ve seen Ronald McDonald, which made me think I could be in the band, because I have the same hair as Ronald McDonald.
Do you have the same buns as Ronald?
JACK HINES: Mine are skinnier.
I love your first album, the name of which eludes me at the moment because I’m suffering from exhaustion…
VASHTI WINDISH: We put our title in too late, so it just became self-titled.
I just blogged about you a few days ago, from your performance at Scoot Inn. It’s hard to describe you guys! You guys have a saxophone, so all I could say was, like, it sounds roughly like the Stooges’ “Fun House.”
VASHTI WINDISH: That’s nice, instead of “No Wave,” which is what we’ve been getting this whole fucking trip, ha ha!
When you go “I sound like this!” in your head, what are you thinking about?
VASHTI WINDISH: Gravel.
Gravel? The substance, or the band?
JULIE HINES: Yeah.
JACK HINES: Steve Miller Band.
Like the early psychedelic stuff, or like the “Abracadabra” era?
JACK HINES: You know, “The Joker,” “Fly Like an Eagle.” Yeah.
JULIE HINES: HAAA HAAA HAAA HAAA! [She kind of loses it.]
If you could fly like an eagle, what would you fly into?
JACK HINES: The future! I suppose…
It’s been done. For instance, there’s a band called the Steve Miller Band, and they actually flew like an eagle into the future. And that was 40 years ago. So not only are you flying into a copy of someone else’s future, but you’re actually flying into the past.
JULIE HINES: I feel like we’re flying into a butthole.
Like a gaping butthole? One that’s been flown into a lot? Or like a new butthole?
JULIE HINES: We like all holes.
Courtney Love’s Hole?
JULIE HINES: We love Courtney Love’s Hole.
JACK HINES: I don’t love Courtney Love’s hole.
[Suddenly a man walks by who is clearly attempting to bum for change.]
VASHTI WINDISH: I don’t want to fly into Courtney Love’s hole. No Courtney Love hole for me. [She gestures to the change bummer] Maybe that guy’s hole.
Sir, do you want to fly into Courtney Love’s hole?
CHANGE BUMMER: I don’t understand the question. Who is Courtney?
She’s a singer.
CHANGE BUMMER: [Pause] I’m 50 years old and I don’t know her.
She was married to Kurt Cobain. He was the singer for Nirvana.
CHANGE BUMMER: Okay, “Nirvana” sounds familiar…
Look it up later, you’ll be like “oooh, those guys…” [CHANGE BUMMER leaves. I turn to VASHTI.] So, this may be a stupid question, or a rude one, but your very fair hair… it comes out of a bottle, right?
VASHTI WINDISH: Uh, yeah. I was born blonde but I didn’t stay blonde.
I’m a redhead, but barely. What was it like playing with Thee Oh Sees?
VASHTI WINDISH: Um, awesome. I love those guys! I used to play with them a lot. They’re fucking amazing, and they’re the best I’ve ever seen them with the two drummers.
That’s one of those things I thought would never work! Like, the Grateful Dead did that…
VASHTI WINDISH: I know! It was amazing… I was like, “I dunno, do you guys really need that?” But it really worked out great.
[Suddenly the interview is ambushed, when the band Ketamine meets the K-Holes and they have a little powwow about their similar names. I try desperately to continue the interview around the ever-spreading annoyance of their kindling friendship.]
Meeting Ketamine begs the question, how did you guys decide on the name “K-Holes?” Why not, like,“A-Holes?” “Maypoles?”
JULIE HINES: Our friend Jane was like a waitress, and when she’d fuck up at work, she’d be like, “Oh, sorry, I was in a K-hole!” And then, we were like, that’s really funny, because no one even talks about K-Holes! That’s like a… gone term. Does anyone even do K? And then our friends asked us to be a one-off month band, and they were like, “Just be something stupid!” And we were like, “We’ll be the fucking K-Holes! That’s really stupid.” And we did it, and then everybody liked it, and they asked if we wanted to play again, and we were like, “Okay …”
JACK HINES: We accidentally wrote some pretty decent songs for the one month band.
Yeah, not too shabby! And where was this?
VASHTI WINDISH: We’re live in New York. Actually we’re all from the south, except for the sax player. I’m from Florida, they’re from Atlanta…
I’m from Oklahoma, originally, but Los Angeles seemed like a sunnier clime. Why would you guys live in the frigid tundra of New York, when you could live in the beautiful, expansive, orange-scented valleys of Los Angeles?
JACK HINES: Well, me and Julie moved to New York because she got a job that she no longer has…
Were you guys dating?
JACK HINES: We’re married.
Married?!? Oh my god! Are you guys ever gonna have any little K-Holes?
JULIE HINES HINES: Maybe we’ll have little kiddie holes. But New York is like, New York …
JACK HINES: There’s like sewer gas, and pizza. It’s awesome!
Where’s the best place in the city to live?
VASHTI WINDISH: Probably the City [Manhattan, for you L.A. folks!], but we all live in Brooklyn because we can’t afford the City. Everything we can afford in the City is too small.
JACK HINES: I’d like to live on Charlie Place, and Thompson Square Park, and check out all the record stores.
JULIE HINES HINES: Yeah, I’d like to live on the West Side.
VASHTI WINDISH: That’d be nice. You know, curvy streets, not the grid system.
JULIE HINES HINES: You know, old, old, old, amazing, beautiful, amazing… where my favorite poets are from.
I’m glad you are clarifying, because my L.A. readers are going to be like, “What? ‘Pervy’ streets?”
JULIE HINES HINES: Yeah, there’s pervy and curvy streets.
VASHTI WINDISH: Very pervy, very curvy. That’s how we like it.
When are you coming to Los Angeles?
VASHTI WINDISH: Hopefully after our record comes out, May 1.
Good plug! Damn, I feel like this is a terrible interview. What’s something I didn’t ask about that you want our L.A. RECORD readers to know about you, or life in general?
JULIE HINES: God, that’s fucking hard! Deep thoughts…
VASHTI WINDISH: What’s been our quote throughout the whole thing? I forgot.
JULIE HINES: “Our hole’s your goal?”
VASHTI WINDISH: No no no no! We’re trying to keep everyone’s holes safe!
That’s important on the road. What’s the craziest road story you have, just getting here to Austin?
VASHTI WINDISH: Well, Jack got some really sweet food poisoning from some chicken livers.
JACK HINES: I ate chicken livers from a gas station, which I wouldn’t recommend to anybody. They were delicious!
Were they at least behind the counter? Or did you find them by the pumps?
JACK HINES: They were on a hot plate behind the counter. A dollar seventy-five.
Was this a sober decision?
JACK HINES: Yeah, it was pretty sober. The middle of the day.
JULIE HINES: Oh yeah, we pumped $90 at this same gas station, drove half an hour and realized that nobody had bothered to pump the gas. We had to go all the way back and get it! Luckily there’s no one else in Alabama who looks like us, so when we got back and walked in, the lady was like, “I thought y’all’d be back!”
-D. M. Collins