Ménage à Pop
Kill Miss Pretty. If the name alone doesn't get you, the band just might. The Boynton Beach-based act is a soul-stealing threesome comprised of pixie-throated singer Alicia Olink and Ouija board-wielding ax men Russell Rogers and Martin Davis. And thanks to its out-there style and tunes, the band could very well be the reason our region once again becomes known for something other than booty music.
Take KMP's debut LP, Permission for Strange, which came out last August. A subtly rousing affair that managed to be both über-cool and illicitly heated, it showed a band hell-bent on forging its own place in the pop pantheon with a spectacular set of tools. Led by the slithery single "Drawing Pictures of Haunted Houses With You," the album hinges on machine-gun beats, gutter-drenched riffs, and the voice of an angel who seems to have just crawled up from under your skin. In other words, Strange is the kind of deep, dark amalgam of electro-punk, glam, and power pop that makes you want to put on loud colors and lurk at a full moon. Imagine skipping along to a nightmare and you'll get the bright idea.
Mostly, though, KMP's secret weapon is its stage show, which is as keenly thought-out as it is sublimely over-the-top. The band's style is a visual mix of myth, legend, and whimsy — the trio once appeared dressed as Alice and her Wonderland after a mad dose of Nabakov. It's also hit the stage as race-car driver and pit crew, cop and muggers, yaoi boys (just Google it — trust us), ninjas, and ringleader with evil circus clowns.
But Kill Miss Pretty is not just the latest craze to hit South Florida's stages; it's our state's great glam hope. New Times hit KMP with ten pertinent questions. Here's how the trio hit back.
New Times: First, where'd you get the name?
Olink: It was a song title, but Russ thought it would make a nice name. It was supposed to mean kill your ego, but I think people see it as meaning something darker.
What's with the crazy fixation with Alice in Wonderland?
Olink: I've always loved the movie and book. I really like the way the illustrations in the book are creepy and happy at the same time.
Are you fixated on any other fables?
Olink: I'm fixated on all sorts of things. I'm a sucker for anything that has a message of love. Or anything that explains to me that I am connected to all things, like Discovery Channel shows about the universe. Things that make me smile, bugs, strawberries, thrift-store objects, shoes, rainbows. If it's shiny, brightly colored, or animal print, I surely love it.
Permission for Strange by Kill Miss Pretty:
How are you with nursery rhymes?
Olink: Russ and I make up one at least once a week.
You've said Permission for Strange "is like you've got permission to be different," but does it also allude to "strange" as in having sex with someone outside the primary relationship?
Olink: Yes, permission for it. Being given total freedom to do, feel, and be whatever you want and in that freedom realizing that what you have is what you want. Just to be clear, we are not swingers.
Whose idea was it for the Ouija board guitars, and where did it come from?
Olink: Martin, our bassist, and Scott Putesky [a local musician and friend of the band] have matching guitars built by Bo Diddly's luthier. It seemed appropriate when we did the "Haunted Houses" video to use them, so we asked Scott to borrow his guitar, and in turn he did a cameo in the beginning of the video.
Kill Miss Pretty seems to have a catalog of cool influences. Can you name a few that are most influential on your sound?
Olink: Fugazi, PJ Harvey, and the Beatles.
Davis: Romeo Void, Faster Pussycat, Slayer, Bad Brains, and Sinatra.
Rogers: Fugazi, NIN, Prince, and Nirvana.
What else, other than music, influences you?
Olink: People. I know some of the most amazing people. Strangers involved in random acts of kindness inspire me.
If you could tour the world with any band at all — current or past — which would you choose and why?
Olink: Past: Beatles, and present: PJ Harvey, because I like the music.
Rogers: Past: Prince on the Purple Rain tour, because he was so bad! Present: Does It Offend You, Yeah?, the Klaxons, and Kill Miss Pretty would make a pretty good bill; also maybe Mindless Self Indulgence.
Do you think South Florida will ever be taken seriously for music other than hip-hop?
Rogers: There are plenty of talented bands down here, so there's no reason that South Florida shouldn't be taken seriously.
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