KK: What is your writing process like?
TK: The strategies for arranging things always changes and is usually determined by simple and practical factors - who's available and feels like being in a band and how much time do we all have, what instruments do these people play. Riffs and phrases are written a little bit each day and recorded and then when a surplus builds up then I do a lot of sorting through things. Once the bulk is whittled down that usually prompts more focused re-writing before bringing it to the group and then once we start in on it as a group the whole thing changes dramatically according to the simple factors I mentioned at first.
KK: What are you most influenced by, whether it’s other artists, films, books, life in general?
TK: I guess the influence wouldn't be life in general, but how life in general gets expressed by different people through different means, whatever discipline. When I am doing my best, my sense of wonder swells and everything I see seems like a potential song. But you know, life in general is obviously inexpressible. So the challenge is then how to funnel this sense through the inherited forms and the expressive-quality of any particular song is probably most often the tension between the experience itself and the restrictions of the inherited forms. That said, to be clear, I am very rarely doing my best. Inspiration exists mostly as discipline or habit for me. Some songs might be re-worked for a year and get thrown away and others, maybe twice a year, arrive complete all at once as if they were just floating in the air and waiting for me to walk up and find them. I don't know which of those experiences would more appropriately be termed "inspiration." But I assume the question of influence is really about inspiration, since the things that influence me most greatly are most likely things I resent - the alienation of post-industrial consumer capitalism, environmental devastation, etc. and these things most often squash my sense of inspiration. Mostly though, these days, I have certain opportunities I know I want to pursue and then an absurdly restricting schedule I know to stick to and then the circumstances of that specific opportunity inspire me that day. So maybe it's a matter of investment? I guess in that case I should just say "life in general." I got a weird life.
KK: Joan of Arc has released over a dozen albums, a couple EPs, and a smattering of splits and singles. How would you describe the evolution of Joan of Arc?
TK: Like any natural evolution I guess it could be characterized as lacking in a certain self-awareness. There are definitely conscious and intentional turning points. But it's really mostly a matter of sustained engagement. When a certain approach gets exhausted, we move on. But then we also often circle back and reconsider particular approaches. So I don't know. One can't see one's evolution from inside of it. To me it just feels like I do the same thing every day because it is what I do.
KK: You and other Joan of Arc members have had numerous other projects, yet Joan of Arc seems to be the one that keeps coming back together in some form and continuing to produce new material. Is there a different drive or chemistry about this band that continues to keep it alive?
TK: It's really a matter of practical distinctions in approach. Owls songs started with Victor's riffs. Make Believe songs started with Sam's riffs. Joan of arc songs most often, but not always, start with my prompts - riffs or other. Some of the other bands, Make Believe for example, had very clear ideas of what we could and could not do. Joan of arc's identity is more expansive or pliable, so it's easier to keep returning to, because we have no expectations regarding what it should or should not sound like. The next record is equally likely to rip off Leonard Cohen or Led Zeppelin or Merzbow and I can't say which yet because we aren't there yet. But wherever we end up we will be comfortable with it being the correct place to be at that time.
KK: Since there is such an interconnected web of projects that revolve around you, and many Joan of Arc fans are also fans of Cap’n Jazz, Make Believe, Owls, etc. Have you found that for live shows the on-stage vibe and crowd reactions for the different projects have many similarities, or is it always a different mind set?
TK: We certainly each have different roles that we are aware of in each band. I'd say Owls morphed into Make Believe in a lot of ways, similar intentions and energies. Joan of arc is distinct though, less tiring, probably less of a put-on than the other bands in that I feel most like myself on stage with Joan of arc compared to certain personas adopted for other bands or past versions of joan of arc.
KK: What new bands are you really into right now?
TK: I don't know. I'm 36 years old. I mostly struggle to wrap my head around the records that I've returned to for years. I rarely hear new bands. I like William Onyeabor a lot the last couple years, but those records are old. The new Swans record melts my mind. I've become fixated on particular Vic Chesnutt and Billy Childish songs in the last few months. I think Wildbirds and Peacedrums are really great. I'm surprised to have grown up and become a fan of the Chili Peppers' guitarist's solo records, didn't see that coming!
Joan of Arc will play at the Mercury Lounge on February 1st, and I think it’s safe to say that for their longtime fans, we will be comfortable with that being the correct place to be at that time.