Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls Goes Solo As Kristin Kontrol
If you think you know Kristin Welchez, think again.
Dee Dee of the goth-punk girl group the Dum Dum Girls has a new synth-influenced, sexy solo project called Kristin Kontrol. Her first album under Kristin Kontrol, titled X-Communicate, out May 27th, reintroduces us to Kristin Welchez as her very own artist.
We chatted with Kristin about the transition into this project and what we, as fans, can expect.
What was it that inspired you to make the change from Dum Dum Girls to Kristin Kontrol?
It doesn’t always make sense to try to fit all of your interests into one project. Dum Dum Girls was the first thing I did on my own. It started out really casually. I wasn’t even looking to sign to a label, so it was pretty surprising when this new label, Captured Tracks, which is now huge, was interested in me. It encouraged me to keep trying to write. You will notice that even between each Dum Dum Girls release there is a progression, whether it’s using real instruments or guitar riffs or even songwriting techniques. But within that span, I had kind of reached a point where it just felt like I was writing music that was a bit outside of the Dum Dum Girls box. I felt like I had lost control.
What made you feel that way?
I knew I was still being viewed as this retro, all girl, garage-rock image and it didn’t matter that I had stepped well beyond that in terms of songwriting and composition. Obviously, what I do in music isn’t dictated towards how it is received, but it still felt like something I had outgrown. I was 26 when I started and now I’m 33. For this new record I didn’t want anything to be off limits, whereas before I might’ve put out a song and thought, ‘oh this doesn’t really fit Dum Dum Girls,’ so I would use it for Haunted Hearts or I would file it into this folder of stuff that could maybe be used for someone else. This time, however, I knew I didn’t want to be one dimensional.
How is it different from what you were doing before?
I didn’t want this to be a Dum Dum Girls album because I didn’t want to alienate anyone who already had an expectation from the band. Instead of changing this thing that I love and that they love, I went for another option. What I love about this record is that it’s so different from song to song. I liked playing with so many different influences. It was interesting to choose the single from the album because we were trying to decide what would be most representative of the album—each song is honestly just so diverse.
Has it felt weird trying to stretch yourself in so many different directions?
I’m so excited! I feel very positive about it. It’s not that I’m starting from ground zero, but I do realize that it’s a risk. I was with Dum Dum Girls for 8 years, but it felt like I could breathe once the decision was finalized. I didn’t realize the constraint that I was putting on myself, and now it’s gone. But for the foreseeable future, this is what I am going to focus on. I don’t anticipate putting out another Dum Dum Girls record for a long time. I don’t feel stretched thin. I feel like I am finally able to stretch out.
The new album definitely sounds more modern
All of those influences are still there, but I knew for this new album that I also wanted to incorporate a lot of electronic music, namely drum and bass programming and lots of synth stuff. Basically, it’s all the stuff that I just didn’t know how to incorporate before. It’s been a learning experience for me.
Does it feel different to be doing a solo project now?
The funny thing about Dum Dum Girls is that on paper it actually was a solo project. I would write and record and then perform everything with the band, which is another reason why it felt like it made sense to just clearly be me. Everyone was advising me to just use my real name and then the Kontrol thing popped up because this was a name I had been using as my email address for 10 years. It just came together professionally.
If you have ever wanted to do anything artistic, don’t give up on yourself. I was a late bloomer, but I’ve still had 8 of the best years of my life because I never gave up. Go big or go home.