“Nothing but pop music” is the refreshingly simple assessment from Kitty Cowell aka KC when asked to sum up electro-rave-rap duo Binary Kids. It also perfectly encapsulates the fact that right now in 2009, popular, cool, underground and mainstream can all be the same thing. We’re speaking the week that Dizzee Rascal has just triumphed at Glastonbury, whipping up a frenzy with his two No.1s. Understandably then, Dizzee is cited by KC and partner-in-rhyme JLD as their biggest influence. “Watching him at Glastonbury was amazing,” says KC. “We’ve been huge fans since he was an underground hero, but to see how he’s developed as an artist is a real inspiration to us.”
Having recently toured with NDubz and Lady Sovereign (the latter of whom they say, “we were fans first so seeing her six times was they best thing about it!”), it’s hard to believe it’s only six months since Binary Kids’ conception. How did it happen? Rewind a few years and both KC and JLD were leading parallel musical lives in different parts of the UK. They both started out entering MC battles, usually against men and more often than not showing them a thing or two. They hooked up in Newport in late 2008 when JLD joined KC on stage at her solo EP release party. “We’d known about each other for a while and that we were doing similar music but once we did that show it all came together really quickly.”
That almost seems like an understatement. Within months they had met manager Semothy Jones (producer for Little Boots, Plan B and Lady Sovereign) and pretty soon after that they were in the studio with Basement Jaxx for a guest spot on new track ‘Twerk’ and an as yet unnamed album track. “Working with them was amazing, they are both really different but it works. Simon is the thinker and Felix is the mad one who makes you want to open up and perform. He had us singing opera style and all kinds of stuff.”
Like the Jaxx, the Binary Kids have a strong DIY visual aesthetic: a retro-futurist mix of new rave, punk rock and 8-bit psychedelia. “It’s not something we think about,” says KC. “We just wear our normal clothes. I suppose there’s a bit of rave, a bit of rock, a few tattoos. We like looking like geeks because we are geeks.” Or as JLD adds, laughing, “like geeky goths.” Now they’re off tour its back to the studio. “We’ve got loads of ideas and people who want to work with us so we’re looking forward to working hard to make the best music we can.” Expect energetic electro party tunes with abstract lyrics on everything from Kit Kats to the binary code delivered in a pop-grime style not a million miles from Sov herself. If this is pop music 2009-style, we say yes please.
Binary Kids take a break from the studio to perform live at our Dummy party this Friday.
Want more next level grime? Check out our interview with Tempa T.