How To Sound Like…The Kills!

Ok…let’s leave some classic players on the side, today, to write about one of the coolest new bands to emerge in recent years: The Kills, with their dirty garage blues thing. After the sometimes disappointing second album No Wow, they managed to return with a fantastic collection of songs, and “Midnight Boom” is one of the best albums of the year so far.

Jamie Hince, a.k.a. Hotel, is better known in some parts as “The Kate Moss Boyfriend” but he’s a really cool and creative guitarist. When I last saw them in Liverpool, the guitar sounded great – powerful and dirty, and also quite unique.

Live, both Hince and lead singer Alison Mosshart played old Hofner guitars. His was a slim solid body, hers a semi-acoustic.

Hince’s setup was pretty interesting: a Divided By Thirteen head amp into a Fender Twin Reverb. The Fender had its controls covered by masking tape, so he was using it just as a cab, apparently.

There was a Vox amp between them, maybe the one Hince says he also runs his guitar through, to get bassier sounds?

I didn’t see the ’60s Burns Orbit 3 amp (which appears on the photo above).

His pedalboard consisted of two Electro-Harmonix POG pedals and two Boss digital delay pedals, probably the classic DD3. One of his favourite sounds is to have a delay pedal with the delay time set really short, but with quite a bit of feedback time, set at least 10 o’clock or so.

Hince uses the POG to get those lower octave sounds that make up for the fact they don’t use a bass guitar.

He also had a Fender Mini Twin mysteriously placed onstage…one must wonder why…

Their drum-machine is a vintage Akai MPC60.

For more info about The Kills, we found two really good interviews:

Remix Mag on “Midnight Boom”

Guitar Player on “No Wow” 

Getting That Sound:

Wanna sound like them? Apart from the gear listed in the article above, here’s some other suggestions.

- Try a Micro POG instead of the POG, if you don’t want to spend too much.

- Behringer makes loads of cheap Delay Pedals, which could be a good option. Or keep up-to-date with Boss and get yourself the new Boss DD-7, which’s amazing!

- Fender Blues Junior. Will serve for the job…

Now…you’ll have to look on Ebay for some old cool vintage guitar! Hofner or otherwise…as long as it’s single coil.

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5 Responses to “How To Sound Like…The Kills!”

  1. [...] I saw The Kills on stage a few weeks ago and really enjoyed what Jamie Hince does with his vintage Hofner… So that’s the kind of sound I expect from this [...]

  2. 2 Boss DD3s and 2 Pogs. one DD3 is set to full effect level and full feedback probably with 50ms delay. The other DD3 is is 12 o’clock on effect level and feedback and looks like maybe 800ms delay time. The pogs are 1 set to full sub bass and zero dry signal and the other full dry sound with a bit of sub bass. Hey has both pogs rigged to big external foot switches, not sure if they are also wired to the DD3s or not. If you want to see the setup go to youtube find the Levi’s Pioneer Sessions: The Kills and look at 1:30. There is a perfect overhead shot of his pedal board and he even has masking tape on the pedals showing the knob settings. Hope this helps.

  3. Wow I am loving the gear they have. I have something almost up to par with them but I switch them out so much, I don’t have time to get used to them.

  4. Long time listener of the Kills. I’m constantly amazed by how they manage to be so musical and continue to evolve within their instrumental confines. It’s inspiring.

  5. Bullet Cable Coil Cable. It is that curly thing sticking out of his guitar. It conducts the signal from point a to b. You will hear edgy mids, bright highs and spikes in the delivery, but the full range is always present.

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