THIS Is The Kit, Kate Stables’ experimental folk quartet, return to York on Friday for a special show at The Citadel, the former Salvation Army HQ in Gillygate, York.
Rearranged from March by promoters by Please Please You, The Crescent and Brudenell Presents, this will be a standing gig with balcony seating above at the home of the York City Church .
At the heart of the gig will be This Is The Kit’s fifth album, October 2020’s Off Off On, and its June offshoot of offcuts, the seven-track Off Off Oddities EP.
For her follow-up to 2017’s Moonshine Freeze, Stables decided to work with producer Josh Kaufman, New York musician, Hold Steady collaborator and member of Bonny Light Horseman and Muzz. Stables had first met him when working with Anaïs Mitchell on a cover of Osibisa’s Woyaya, their paths later crossing at the People residencies in Berlin and Brooklyn.
“We were on the same page about a lot of musical ideas, as well as doing things I wouldn’t do musically,” says Kate. “It was a lovely mixture of ‘you’re exactly in my brain and exactly at the opposite end of my brain’.”
After the band – completed by Rozi Plain, bass/vocals, Neil Smith, guitar, Jesse D Vernon, guitar/keyboards, Jamie Whitby-Coles, drum/vox – reunited for cold-water rehearsals in Wales, they headed to Wiltshire’s Real World Studios, finishing just in time for everyone to head home for lockdown.
Kate explains the meaning behind the album’s stand-out song, This Is What You Did. “It’s a bit of a panic attack song. The negative voices of other people that are your own voice. Or are they? Hard to say when you’re in this kind of a place. How to get out of this place? Needing to get outside more,” she says.
“Cosmically topical, what with these recent days of being inside all the time. Knowing the things, you should do because they’re good for you and make you feel better but for some reason you still stay inside and fester in your own self-doubt and regret and self-loathing. Fun times!
“We all get into negative mind loops sometimes. Especially when you’re not getting the fresh air and outside time you need to stay healthy.”
Since 2008’s debut, Krulle Bol, This Is the Kit have unpicked emotional knots and woven intriguing stories, with Off Off On being a beautifully clear distillation of Stables’ song-writing gifts. By the end of 2018, This Is The Kit had finished touring Moonshine Freeze, but Stables’ natural impulse to start the next record was diverted when she was invited to join The National on tour in a continuation of the role she took on the Cincinnati band’s album I Am Easy To Find.
“I think it did me loads of good,” says Kate. “It was so brilliant when I was writing to be away from my songs and the responsibility of overseeing a band or a project – just to forget about that for a while and be a minion in someone else’s band was brilliant. I loved it. I think it really helped my writing and my getting through whatever I needed to get through.”
Off Off On ensued, followed this summer by Off Off Oddities, an EP on Rough Trade made up of Recommencer, featuring Mina Tindle; Was Magician (Live at L’Épicerie Moderne); Found Out (Horns Version); Coming To Get You Nowhere (Joe’s Garage Version) Keep Going (Desert Island Version); Slider (Lorenzo Saxophone Dub) and a cover of New York City supergroup Muzz’s Bad Feeling.
“In the making of an album, there are inevitably bits and bobs that don’t get used,” says Kate. “And sometimes you feel like sharing them with folks to kind of show a bit the story and geology and important people who played a part in the album’s making and releasing.”
Will even newer material feature in Friday’s concert? Wait and see.
This Is The Kit play The Citadel, York on Friday, supported by Nuala Honan and Pavey Ark; doors, 7pm. Box office: brudenellsocialclub.seetickets.com.
NEW Kind Of Neighbourhood, a new festival curated by and featuring This Is The Kit at Leeds Brudenell Social Club on Sunday, has sold out. Doors open at 3pm for a bill of The Brackish, The Magic Lantern, Masi Masi, Nuala Honan, Rachael Dadd, Rozi Plain, Yusuf Yellow and headliners This Is The Kit.