Girlschool 2018: Kristin Kontrol and the Kids

The Former Dum Dum Girls frontwoman will be hitting the Girlschool stage… and joining her are a few special guests.

By Aimee O’Loughlin

Photos by Maria Jose Govea

Kristin Welchez shed her former image as Dee Dee, the front singer of the Dum Dum Girls last year, choosing to take the risky plunge as a solo singer under a new identity; Kristin Kontrol. The Northern California-based artist’s previous music had built a reputation for dreamy indie-garage pop and girl band harmonies, which, as awesome as it is, limited Kirstin’s musical abilities and ambitions going further. Her debut album X-Communicate was released last May, and she revealed to the world an unafraid, bold collection of songs that took her music to another level of kick ass. Nodding to the 80s and early 90s dance-pop, the album is a mesmerizing mix of saxophones, shimmering synths, pulsing beats, vintage electronic textures, as well as powerful vocals, and captivating lyrics. Set to grace Echo Park’s Bootleg stage Friday 2/2 for the all-women Girlschool music fest, we catch up with the singer-songwriter to discuss her transition away from Dee Dee, her Bowie style aesthetic, and her upcoming performance leading a kid band (!!).

How stoked are you about the Girlschool Festival?

I’m really happy to be a part of it, especially in the capacity I chose to participate, i.e. leading a kid band.

What can we expect from your performance with the kid band?

I’m nearly a fly on the wall. The kids have learned a set of covers; we shift around who sings what. A few even picked up a new instrument.

Do you have a favorite song to play live?

 I was just waxing nostalgic last night about Dum Dum Girls, recalling how I loved to play “Mine Tonight” and our Pale Saints cover “Sight of You.” In Kristin Kontrol, I love to do my last single, “Concrete Love.”

 

Tell us about your musical transition from Dee Dee and the Dum Dum Girls to your new music under the name Kristin Kontrol.

 I just reached a point of completion with DDG. I put out nearly ten releases in as many years and just felt I’d finished that sound, that aesthetic, that chapter of my life. Re-establishing myself as Kristin Kontrol was just an attempt to dig myself out from under any expectation or schtick associated with my career up until that point. I want to move freely in whatever it is I do.

Where did the inspiration for the new name come from?

Well, Kristin is my name and that’s been my email address for probably 11 years now.

What was it like when you first performed and revealed yourself as Kristin Kontrol? Did you feel liberated or was it terrifying?

I loved it. I didn’t realize how much weight I’d been carrying around trying to sustain DDG–on a self-indulgent/creative tip.

How would you describe your sound?

Weirdo pop?

Is your creative process entirely different from how it was back when you were with the Dum Dum Girls?

I definitely do much fuller production now. I finally graduated from very lo-fi Garageband demos to proper Ableton sessions. I owe a lot of that to my producer and writing partner of sorts, Andrew Miller.

Style-wise—I read somewhere that Bowie as The Thin White Duke is a big inspiration for you (as well as his music). Is his aesthetic the general look you strive for?

I was really on a kick for that era Bowie when I was prepping KK, but ultimately, my love for him is more holistic. He made incredible music all while evolving. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, ever forward.

What’s your proudest moment so far?

Starting my own project as DDG was very validating. Working relentlessly for a decade to build that band and then deciding to walk away from it… that was equally big.

What have you got going on next?

I’m finishing some new music as well as working more in sound design and composition.

For more info on Girlschool performers, stay tuned, and to grab tickets, head here.