Text by Ali Millington
hen Kill J released Phoenix online last summer, music’s buzz machine went into overdrive. Who was the blonde with the spacewoman haircut, singing this heavenly song that sounded a bit like Massive Attack after a particularly trippy visit to India?
But Kill J – Copenhagen duo Julie Aagaard and Lennart Rasmussen – didn’t tell anyone much, and have kept up the mystery and suspense, even as Aagaard speaks to us ahead of their appearance at the by:Larm music festival in Oslo at the end of the month.
“I’ve never tried to be a secret,” claims Aagaard, 32. “That being said, I liked that people were paying attention to the music instead of concluding something about my physicality.”
Fine but, you know… that hair? “I wanted to look like my music,” Aagaard says. “It incorporates fragile and feminine elements with masculine, violent ones. It could be a blonde, angelic Roman statue, but it also reminds you a little bit of a boxer before he gets into a fight.”
As for the band’s name, “I liked the idea of killing myself off. Some musicians or artists have alter egos; this may be the opposite of that. I like the idea of removing my private self before I get on stage.”
Aagaard was destined to be a classical singer before she and Rasmussen formed previous group Leap Over Light. She’s a fan of Kate Bush and Annie Lennox, while Rasmussen loves 1990s R&B. All these elements come together in Phoenix – with a touch of Scandipop that may surprise many listeners. “When people ask me what sort of music we do, I say we do pop,” Aagaard says. “I don’t think pop is a crime.”
The big question is what now – and still Aagaard is somewhat cryptic. “I wish I could tell you,” she laughs. “But there will be new gigs and new music, and it will be exciting.” The secret might just be about to get out.
The by:Larm festival runs from 26 Feb-1 Mar in Oslo