Kinky Love, “Affair”

Sjimon Gompers

Kinky Love

From Chicago with love, it's Kinky Love's Xoe Wise and Dan Zima. (photo courtesy of the artists)

Through the endless winter cold, Chicago's Kinky Love brings some heat to melt the frigid ice, with the premiere of “Affair”. The duo of vocalist Xoe Wise and producer Dan Zima take what begins like a love letter to throwback house tracks, for an ambiguous atmosphere that feels like modern times exist as an extension of that 80s shining light chic. With their debut EP Promise available April 22, Kinky Love takes you by the hand into the chemistry and ways of their electronic seduction by synthesizers.

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Xoe steals the song from the opening lyrical coo of, “my world is falling down, you're the best way for me to drown”, sweetly sung over Dan's red rose bouquet of keys. “Affair” is Kinky Love's flagship song from Promise, where the cold layers of ice and snow and melt away for candid and shared moments between lovers. Zima's arrangement and sequencing propels Wise's romantic propositions and requests through the cold corridors and into the warmer places to leave the wintry world they both know only too well. With signs of spring still frozen, Kinky Love sets the thermostat to the temperature of a summer tryst to remember, as alluded to in the following chorus caresses of; “Standing in the hallway, breathing in the cold, put your hands around my body baby, get real close, if I'm evil how are you going to live with yourself at all, tonight?”

Kinky Love's Dan Zima and Xoe Wise talked to us a bit about their creative chemistry, working with Neal Ostrovsky, their upcoming show at Chicago's Double Door, and more.

Having taken your name from a Nancy Sinatra song, do you two see yourselves as a new age Nancy & Lee kind of duo?

Xoe: I do like to think at heart, I'm a rocker girl, so yeah!

Dan: I took another listen to “Summer Wine” on YouTube, and I definitely can't sing like that. But I also saw some sweet Nancy Sinatra outfits that could work for Xoe, so maybe?

Take us into the multiple night stand electro affair that is “Affair.” What inspired this sleek, sexy, and disarming invitation?

Dan: I started out trying to make a piano house track, and as we were working on the vocal Xoe was sounding kinda wicked, saying things like, 'If I'm evil,' so we went with it.

Xoe: An affair is merely a personal concern. We can add scandal and sex to that definition and find ourselves in the most empathetic pool imaginable. The amount of times I've felt like I was in an affair…even with the economy!

How do you both handle and manage the duties and responsibilities that are inherent to what you have described before as your, 'collaborative poetry?'

Xoe: Dan and I are still getting to know each other. I have my solo project, and so prioritizing our relationship differently than I do with my own band has been inspiring. Dan pushes me to trust in more simplistic melodies and I hope to push him with some crazy lyrics in the future.

Dan: I like to try to capture Xoe's immediate ideas for these songs, since they usually feel the most vibrant. I obsess about things before they get to Xoe, but her melodies always come quickly.

Tell us about recording the EP with Neal Ostrovsky and others.

Xoe: Neal was great, and one thing I've truly enjoyed about working with Dan is the organization he brings to the table. I feel very driven and have enjoyed his similar energy.

Dan: Neal helped us sound more credible. I think I brought good sounds to the recording process, and he beat them up and made them sound less perfect, in a really good way.

What was that recording experience like, and what other things are you two working on?

Dan: The songs start with me at home, and I try to bring something pretty fleshed out to Xoe, something with a real emotion to it, so that she can react. There wasn't much writing done in the studio, though a few vocal parts came from Xoe improvising and all of us piecing things together. And we're always writing, so I think we'll have another release this year.

Challenges of writing, intimate electronic music in 2014?

Dan: My biggest challenge is finding which instruments I really love, and learning to use them to their full potential.

Xoe: There are so many great musicians. It can be inspiring, confusing, and overwhelming. I personally experimented with more electronic sounds a year ago and felt too anxious to keep experimenting because of the industry at the moment. Dan helps me have an outlet for these melodies without over thinking that aspect. I want to have fun and make music. Ideally the music is more timeless than timely and so I try to remain critical to that aspect.

Give us the report from the scenes of Chicago.

Xoe: First show is at Double Door in May!

Dan: It'll change everything. But seriously, I've been stuck indoors all winter working on this record, so I feel kind of disconnected from what's going on. It seems like we're getting some good new music venues though, which is always nice.

Who are some of the best, 'don't miss' Chi-town acts right now?

Dan: We're big fans of My Gold Mask, to the point that I asked their guitarist to play on one of our tunes. There's also Xoe Wise, who's really great, but was kind of a jerk to me when I met her. But I like her music so much that I asked her to sing on all of our tunes.

Kinky Love's debut EP Promise will be available April 22 with a release show in Chicago May 15 at Double Door with Parallels.

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