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Lady Kier interview: How do you say... groove

Author: Guido Farnell
Monday, March 6, 2006
She funkafied the world as part of Deee-Lite, now Lady Kier is coming back with a swag of new tunes done with George Clinton and hitting Melbourne as part of the Good Vibrations tour.

It is just on 16 years ago that Deee-Lite helped kick-start the '90s with their album World Clique, which spawned the worldwide club hit Groove Is In The Heart that hit up nightclub dancefloors with an irresistible groove. While Towa Tei and DJ Dmitry produced the grooves it was Deee-Lite's flamboyant vocalist Lady Kier (aka Kieren Kirby) who grabbed the spotlight and captured the imagination of adoring fans with her fashion sense that was/is largely inspired by New York's drag queens.

"Ooooh, I am naturally gravitate to anything sparkly and shiny," laughs Kier vivaciously on the phone from New York. "I think they are the most beautiful creatures. Drag queens. Living a double life is mysterious to me and I think that's the attraction. The drag clubs turned me out. I think the gay population in New York is really different to those in other cities. I don't know, I can't generalise but in the club scene every one gravitates to the gay clubs - at least they did in the '80s. The have the best sound systems, the best door policies and a whole lot of love. Look at the straight guys who shave their chests and wear leather vests with a nipple ring. Come on. How gay is that- Maybe that is a generalisation but you have to admit that it is happening."

It's been 10 years since Deee-Lite broke up and while Towa Tei has been relatively successful in forging a solo career with his quirky brand of synth pop, Kier has released almost nothing. "The time seems to have flown by and it's been years since the whole Deee-Lite thing came to an end. I have just returned to New York after living in London for almost 10 years. I moved to London because the music scene there was really inspiring. I have really enjoyed being around behind the scenes so to speak. For a long time I really didn't feel like getting out and singing but I think I am ready for it now."

"Basically I was always writing melodies with my voice and singing basslines. After Deee-Lite broke up I had a strong desire to become a more accomplished musician and be able to actually play those melodies that were circulating in my head. So I went back and have been studying music for the past few years. I think if you are doing the programming and producing you have the most control over the music. You can go back and scrap something if you don't like it or go back and rearrange things that are not sounding quite right."

"I never stopped writing, a lot of it is crap but I never stopped writing. I now have a few songs that I am excited to perform and so far they have been going down good with the audiences. In February I am launching online music download distribution on my website. I am starting my own label called Pluto Moon and you know, I am going to be running the fucker myself. I am going to release a few things independently through digital download. I think in March or so I will start pressing vinyl but for now I just want to experiment with digital downloading. I think it really is the best and most efficient way to get the music out to people. Personally as a DJ I don't like carrying heavy vinyl around to gigs. I would rather bring my entire record collection in my pocket. To be honest the crowd does not seem to be able to tell the difference between vinyl and an MP3. I know a sound engineer will say, "No! No! No!" but if the sound system is good I think most engineers would not be able to tell the difference either. There are a lot of tracks that you can only get on vinyl so I do about half my sets using vinyl but I also use CDs and I burn a lot of MP3s on CD as well."

Interestingly Kier seems unafraid of music downloading and any bad effects it may have on record sales and artists generally. Rather she believes it has opened people's minds to new music. "I don't know how<