When I first saw KilliT’s video clip Waiting for the Day I was thrilled. Their line-up (Gaz Twist on vocals, Niro Knox on lead guitar, Claire Genoud on rhythm guitar, Ben Smart on Bass & Pete Jean on drums) presented an all-male band with a female guitarist. Cool enough to explore the gender angle & what it’s like for Claire to be on the road with the guys… or so I thought.
Well, when we sat down for a pre-interview-warm-up chat I did drop the question & this was the answer I got from Claire (topped by an amused laugh): “You know… that’s actually the question I get asked most and I always answer the same thing… It’s like being in an all-male band. There’s just more boobs!”
So… Claire had killed my angle even before we started & I immediately liked her for it. Why? Because she showed me that there was no need to even consider it. I was talking to a confident woman whose value isn’t measured by gender, but by the way she plays that guitar. And she rocks!
KilliT started in December 2014 with a different line-up. They released their first album Shut it Down in May, 2016. Ben Smart joined the band replacing bassist Geos Letona & Claire Genoud replaced Byron Marr on rhythm guitar.
They have been working on their second album, having released the first track Waiting For The Day not long ago (September 5, 2018). And if you listen closely, you might just find a woman’s touch…
Crow Xp: Hi, Claire. Thanks for killing my interview in one sentence. That was a nice unexpected move.
Claire: Ahah! Sorry for that! Hope you’re good!
Crow Xp: Yeah, no worries. Since we’re on the topic… What is the iT that’s supposed to be killed in KilliT?
Claire: I guess it’s the same iT as in “Smash it”! Not really to designate something in particular, just some kind of attitude. The first name that Niro and Pete chose was “Loud As Fuck”… which could have worked too, but the second choice sounds better I guess!
Crow Xp: I quite enjoyed the video clip for Crash and Burn from KilliT’s first album… Tell us a bit more about it & the topics you deal with in your lyrics.
Claire: Gaz (singer) writes 99% of the lyrics so he’s probably the best person to answer your question. I know he likes writing about personal subjects but also wider, external issues like the current political landscape with lots of policies he doesn’t agree with. For example, the lyrics of the new single ‘Waiting for the Day’ are about letting go of small issues in life when there’s so many bigger things to take care of, which can be related to ‘Crash And Burn’ I guess, as it deals with topics like homelessness, as seen in the music video. In any case, his lyrics are always open to other kinds of interpretations.
Crow Xp: I really like the way your band fits the ‘global’ concept in Global Music Club… Though London-based, KilliT really does cross borders in a sense…
Claire: Yes, something cool about KilliT is that we’ve got members from all over the world (Israel, Hungary, Switzerland and Britain).
Crow Xp: So, how did you all meet & what does each member bring to the table, so to speak, considering the different cultural backgrounds & influences?
Claire: So Niro (guitarist) and Pete (drummer) knew each other before and when the original singer left the band in 2016, Gaz heard they were looking for a singer, and that’s the way they met. The funny thing is he lives 3 minutes away from Pete and Niro’s place, but they never met before that! A few months later, I heard from Geos, bassist at the time that I had met a few months before at a gig in London, that the band was looking for a new second guitarist. So I auditioned for them and joined 3 days later. Soon after that, Ben replaced Geos on bass, and the current lineup was complete. Although we are from different countries, I think we grew up listening to similar kinds of music, and have loads of common influences. Also, Pete and Niro have been living in London for more than 13 years already, and I moved here 4 years ago. I guess different cultural backgrounds are not directly audible in our music, but definitely influence our personalities, which in the end does influence the music!
Crow Xp: Tell me more about the kind of music KilliT plays…
Claire: We’ve been compared to bands like Shinedown, Alter Bridge or Guns N’ Roses. I guess you could describe our sound as modern edged classic/hard rock. One of the first things I liked when I heard KilliT for the first time is the combination of this pure hard rock sounds with heavy, groovy and fast riffs and the modern touch brought by Gaz’s vocals.
Crow Xp: We often hear that a woman has to work twice as hard to have the same opportunities as men… have you had that experience? And what’s your personal take on that? (I knew I’d throw in the gender issue somewhere haha)
Claire: I’d say yes and no. I would say that as a woman in rock, if you’re good at what you do, you actually get more opportunities than men, as people tend to notice you and remember you more easily (for instrumentalists, less true for singers). I guess the ‘work twice as hard’ part happens if you want people to actually take you seriously, and not part from some kind of sub-category such as ‘female guitarist’. That’s my personal experience anyway.
Crow Xp: How about a sneak peek on the new album… like the name & official release date?
Claire: We are currently still in the process of writing and recording, so no official date for now! But hopefully 2019. We have a music video for our new single “Love is the Chemical” coming out in the next few weeks though!
Crow Xp: Looking forward to that one! KilliT has quite a good number of gigs coming up… How does it feel when you’re on the road?
Claire: We’re just back from our UK tour with Diamond Head, and it was an awesome experience. We’ve played many cities in England and also Wales and Scotland. Hard work, but very positive outcome. Great venues and great crowds most of the time! It was interesting for us to experience the feeling of being stuck together for 2 weeks. No one died, so I guess it’s a good sign that we can leave for a bit longer next time!
Crow Xp: I’m sure you’ve collected some interesting tales along the way… care to share some?
Claire: A few, but most of them I can’t tell you! ;) Personally, the wildest thing I’ve done was also probably the most painful one. We were opening the main stage at Giants Of Rock in Minehad last January and we were reaching the last song of the set. As I’m starting the song, I thought it would be a really good idea to play the intro in the pit, to be closer to the audience. Unfortunately, it was really dark and I underestimated the height of the stage and also where it physically ended. So I jumped off stage, tripped on the edge and smashed myself and the guitar against the metal barrier. My PRS broke in half instantly but fortunately protected me from the impact. Really scary at the time but we’re just laughing about it today! And last on this UK tour, Niro’s Les Paul also ended up broken. Someone tripped on the strap and the guitar fell off the stand. We basically break a lot of things!
Crow Xp: Thank you very much for this lovely chat, Claire!
Claire: My pleasure! You’re welcome!