Sleigh Bells


Written by Johny Chhetri
16 Monday 16th August 2010

Sleigh Bells hit London recently and if you didn’t know already, they’re pretty fucking hot property. The duo have been making waves since mid-2009 and have recently released a seductively brutal album, the aptly titled Treats, which has some pretty cool artwork if I do say so myself.

Their sound is pretty unique, fusing hip-hop influenced drum beats with some heavy riffs that apply to a certain demographic of those who are in love with meaty sounds from all sides.
Don’t Panic paid a visit to the balcony of the hotel they were staying at and had a sit down with Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller on a sunny Monday morning to talk awkward situations, life in general and what actually went on with that album artwork!
When you formed, am I right in saying you were in quite an awkward situation?
AK: It would seem that it was an awkward situation but it was probably the least awkward situation! (giggles)
DM: Her mum was like the mediator, she was like an ice-breaker, really friendly so I think the debate started because you guys were trying to figure out whether I was Brazilian (I was working at a Brazilian restaurant).
AK: We had a little bet going on.
DM: Did she ask me if I was Brazilian?
AK: Yeah she did! Then you were like, “Err no, I’m from Florida.
DM: She was from Florida as well.
AK: She was like “Me too!!!” and then they started talking about things.
I’ve been called an Inca lovechild before when I had hair down to my shoulders, I didn’t understand at first, but a google search helped me. I didn’t know whether I should have felt flattered or abused.
DM: That’s awesome!
AK: Nice.
Would you say moving to Florida was a blessing in disguise?
DM: Not sure if it was in disguise.
AK: Well he straight-up just moved to where we met to realise exactly that moment!
DM: I was pretty much just psyched, I couldn’t believe it. I had been looking for so long for somebody to make records with. When it happened I was just like, “Holy shit it actually happened!” For me it was just a light at the end of a tunnel that I would never reach. It’s a nice idea but what are the chances that someone likes what I’m doing and has talent and gets along with me.
AK: For me it was certainly the last thing I expected to do at that point. As we progressed and realised that we had all the bases covered in terms of personalities and working together.
Any high/low points of the tour so far?
AK: Our first headline tour in the US was pretty cool.
DM: It was amazing.
AK: I was like, “Wow, people actually bought tickets to see us!” (giggles)
DM: That was a blast.
AK: Low points? Yeah, we had shows that we’re frustrated by every now and again. But then we just freshen off and try to make the next one better.
You guys have a pretty hard and seductive sound, Treats is quite a prime example of this. Would you say that’s the direction you’d want to move in?
DM: Tell ‘Em and Riot Rhythm are the newest songs and they’re probably indicative of where we’re going musically, a little more of a metal influence on the guitars but then maybe sweeter vocals.
You have different musical backgrounds, how does that help influence the sound?
AK: As a vocalist I’m really interested in harmonies, arrangements and melodies and he’s obsessed with rhythm and production. I don’t know... our musical backgrounds, especially for me, can’t really be plugged into Sleigh Bells directly.
DM: It is what it is.
Who did your album artwork?
DM: Will Hubbard and I did it. Will’s a friend of mine, the picture is from my mother’s old yearbook from 1971. She lives in Florida and I was down there visiting her and I was thinking, “As soon as I get there I’m gonna go to the garage and go through all the yearbooks and find a photo of a vintage photo of cheerleaders and it was weird because it was the first picture I saw. I was like ‘whoop, there it is!’ Perfect.” Was really weird.
Future plans?
AK: Sure! (laughs)
DM: No, I’m gonna jump after!
AK: We’re gonna stay on the road and after that we’re gonna make another record, hopefully!
Well, you could take the money and run...
DM: I wouldn’t be able to buy lunch tomorrow! (laughs)
Any wise words for the readers?
AK: We’re not very wise!
DM: I am not the person you should getting advice from! Don’t listen to me, that’s great advice!
No to drugs?
DM: Don’t do drugs unless you want to.
AK: Wise words?
DM: An apple a day.
Teach a man to fish...
AK: Brush your teeth! Mother knows best.
DM: Don’t share needles!


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