Kill My Coquette @ The Three Clubs in Hollywood, CA - by Harriet Kaplan
Kill My Coquette is an incredibly tight and rock-solid band which features the taut, driving and muscular talents of Dave Stucken (lead guitar), Mike Evans (bass) and Kelly Hagerman (drums).
The visual focus point is the striking model/actress now singer/songwriter Natalie Denise Sperl. The tall, raven haired Sperl has unique look/style and her rough-hewn vocals fit the mode of Social Distortion and Hole (two bands she greatly admires and emulates in her sound). A recent preview listen of the L.A. based's debut EP strongly hinted at her burgeoning potential in the areas of storytelling and lyrics.
The material conveys what Sperl, clearly an industry insider, has seen and experienced running in those circles documenting the burnout and decadence of that scene which inform the bulk of the songs. Her vivid, steely-eyed recollections and observations recall the best work of Courtney Love. But to the uninitiated, who possibly experienced hearing and seeing the band live for the first time at recent show at The Three Clubs in Hollywood, CA, one would think other otherwise. There was a vagueness and undefined quality to the eight song-set that really didn't catch fire, or hit its stride, until the very end of the show. It was at that point, one saw Sperl, whose vocals were often muddled and somewhat buried in the mix, displayed some magic, passion, and yes, the star quality, that was sorely lacking throughout a lackluster set that was rather middling.
A good cover of Iggy and The Stooges "I Want To Be Your Dog", and the last original number of the night, "3rd & Bonnie Brae" was very memorable and stood out. The later is a great anthemic number poised to break this relatively new band to much larger audiences if they can continue to work on delivering a more compelling set to sustain the concertgoer's interest from beginning to the end. Based on this entire show, though, Kill My Coquette has so far demonstrated they deliver the goods more consistently in the studio than in a live setting.
Interview - Natalie Denise Sperl with Harriet Kaplan of Punch Records US
Punch Records US sat down with singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Natalie Denise Sperl of the L.A.-based rock band Kill My Coquette to talk about her group, which includes Dave Stucken (lead guitar), Mike Evans (bass) and Kelly Hagerman (drums), and discussed the formation of the unit, their sound, influences and much more. The band will release their first five-song EP on January 20, 2015 and have an upcoming show at The Three Clubs located at 1123 Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90038 on Dec. 20th. Kill My Coquette will go on at 11 p.m. and there is a $5 cover.
PR: How did you go from being an actress and model to becoming a singer/songwriter and forming a rock band?
Natalie: I always had an interest being in music. I just never got around to it. I never got around to getting a guitar and practicing for hours on end in my room. That's what you need to do. It kind of came about from being at a Social Distortion concert and I was in the audience that night. I talked to my friend about playing music and being a band. I said to her: 'I need to do this.' This was two years ago and then I picked up a guitar.
Natalie: My family is really musical. My brother is an accomplished keyboardist and toured. My dad is a huge music fan. Music was a part of my life every day before I went school growing up in Minnesota. I have a huge understanding of music from all generations from my brother listening to Metallica, Skinny Puppy and Anthrax to my mom listening to Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton. My dad was into Springsteen and Neil Young. He was also a big fan of Bob Dylan.
Natalie: I know I have a lot of experience racked up and I have something to say. It comes from all the adventures I have been on. I kind of don't hear that voice in rock right now.
PR: What do you bring to music that is different in your opinion? What is lacking out there and what void do you fill?
Natalie: It's definitely from the female point of view. A kind of unrest. Courtney Love touched on it and she was doing that in the 90s. But I also have the Hollywood background as well. It's not about being an outcast and I was unable to get in. I was in. But it wasn't what it's all cracked up to be, either. There is still a lot to be angry about and a lot to talk about.
PR: You don't look like you have been through the mill but you sound like you have based on your lyrics and the way you sing. It sounds authentic. I believe you.
Natalie: I definitely have seen a lot and I was in the scene. I saw a lot of people fall by the wayside. I still feel that rebelliousness. I'm not a pop singer and I don't want to be. If it's not something that needs to be said, then I'm not writing about it.
PR: Is there anything about the music business that scares you because there are a lot of casualties?
Natalie: Yeah there is a lot of self destruction and maybe I'm walking into another minefield! (Laughs)
PR: Have you always journaled and wrote down your impressions for song ideas/inspiration?
You mentioned in an interview that some songs are autobiographical and with others you take more creative license. Can you tell me more about your songwriting process?
Natalie: Some of the songs are written in a different character. But I think all of the songs have a part of me written in them. If it's she or her, I'm in there.
PR: So again, as you were saying, you were at The Social Distortion concert, and wanted to work on getting into a music situation or a band. so you just picked up a guitar for the first time two years ago? What about singing? Did you always sing around the house?
Natalie: Yeah, I always sang around the house. I didn't want to be a pop singer and I didn't know if I had the right voice. Would it work? So, I thought ok, I'm going to try emulate my heroes and people I listen to and see if there is something there. I got a guitar and I taught myself how to play. I was always musical. My brother and I had a band when we were younger. He played the drums and I was the singer when we were kids. I also played saxophone. This was going on until high school and then I let it go for the fashion thing.
PR: But you never played out right? With Kill My Coquette, this is your first time performing?
Natalie: Yeah, it's the first time.
PR: What was it like putting a band together? Here you are a singer with no real experience and now you want to form a band.
Natalie: Oh wow! (laughs). First, I had to do the work. At the end of the day, I have to bring something to the table. I had to learn the guitar well enough to write chord progressions and lyrics. I had to put that all together. Do all that work and get it all recorded on GarageBand. I needed to get something together to submit to potential musicians. I did all the work and sat in my bedroom worked the songs and reworked them.
PR: Who did you reach out to? New musicians or did you get new referrals?
Natalie: I meet a guy that had a band. I said: 'hey do you know anyone that plays the drums?'. It was just friends I've known in L.A. that were into music.
PR: Did you audition any musicians or have to? Did they have to hear you sing, too?
Natalie: I auditioned all the band members. They heard my stuff, so I'm assuming they got it and dug it.
PR: So Kill My Coquette has been together two years as well now?
Natalie: We started playing and practicing about a year ago.
PR: You're writing all the songs?
Natalie: Yeah so far but I'm open to collaborating. I have so many songs that are specific and need to be recorded that way and then we can collaborate past that point.
PR: So the EP that will be the band's first recorded effort but you've put out a few songs here and there.
Natalie: Yeah this is the first solid EP. It's because of money. Otherwise, we'd release a full album. But nobody makes a full album anymore. It's kind of a singles or EP market. I'm learning about these kind of things, it's different now. We thought that was the best strategy. I got many more tracks we will be recording. So this is the debut EP.
PR: Would you like to tell me about this producer you have. There is something special about him?
Natalie: Danny McGough is so awesome. He was a referral from my manager and he used to manage Social Distortion. When he came on board, he was the one who referred me to Danny. He also toured with Social D. He has worked with Tom Waits and Shivaree. So he is a musician and a producer. He got our sound right away. He said our band has a Velvet Underground and Hole vibe to it. He felt our music was an interesting mix of styles. When he got our references, I thought cool! He likes weird music, too.
PR: Can you tell me about the band name Kill My Coquette? I read an interview you said it had something to do with sex symbols of the 1960s?
Natalie: I thought coquette was a cute sort of name. I'm obsessed with the 60s. The media talked about Brigitte Bardot being a coquette. I like the word.
PR: What was it like playing the clubs the first time?
Natalie: It was really scary. Interestingly, I was focused, though. I was used to crowds. That doesn't freak me out. But what freaked me out was I have to play and sing at the same time. Can I see? Is it too dark to see? My lead guitarist can be asleep (laughs) plays his guitar up and down the neck. I'm like the eager student watching him.
PR: So you're learning a lot playing with the band?
Natalie: You learn so much playing with the pros. Though I work my ass off, too. When I'm at rehearsals, I'm practicing and playing. I'm practicing for rehearsals so it's not like I'm taking anything for granted. I get nervous even rehearsing! (laughs). I have to be on, these guys are so good. I don't want to look like an asshole.
PR: So is the goal for the band to play gigs around L.A.?
Natalie: I want to tour. I want to keep singing. It's the best ultimate high.
PR: Do you want to get on the road with another band that has national prominence?
Natalie: I would love to.
PR: Do you have any bands in mind?
Natalie: I would love to tour with Joan Jett, The Black Keys or Jack White. Do Coachella. Do Reading. Cross off the bucket list type places.
PR: Are you doing more acting gigs?
Natalie: Yes in some independent films but music is more where my heart is now.
PR: How are you promoting the band?
Natalie: Through social media which is the fast way to get to people and get a fan base going. As soon as the EP is released, we can post all the tracks and share it that way. To get a legitimate fan that doesn't know me from my music, they need to come to my show first. Then they will get it and hopefully bring their friends. It's a grassroots thing.
- by Harriet Kaplan