The new HorrorPops album, Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, finds the Danish group going Hollywood by using some colorful and creative artwork for the CD packaging that finds the band members depicted as stars of bigger-than-life movies.
The theme seemingly extends to several songs given titles like "Thelma & Louise," "Hitchcock Starlet," "Highway 55" and "HorrorBeach Pt. II."
But HorrorPops singer/bassist Patricia Day says it's a mistake to think the new album was at all theme-driven.
"The whole idea for the noir, the movie theme, that came when we had all the tracks and had recorded them and we kind of let it sit for a little while," Day says. "There are referrals to the whole movie thing, but it was not an intention when we started it at all."
The fact that some of the song titles and lyrics just by chance suggested a theme for Kiss Kiss Kill Kill seems fitting for a band that isn't much for calculation in the first place.
"The thing with HorrorPops is we never really have planned for anything, and that is what makes HorrorPops HorrorPops, and what makes a HorrorPops show a HorrorPops show," Day says. "Nothing is planned, nothing is scheduled."
The spontaneous approach is especially evident in the band's concerts.
While the group certainly intends to entertain — which helps explain the presence of two female "cheerleaders," whose function is to get concertgoers into the spirit of the evening — a lot is left to chance. Day says the band doesn't even prepare a set list.
"It is pretty common for us to go with what the audience wants to hear," she says. "We don't have a set list when we walk on stage. We just play in the direction we feel the audience wants us to go."
As far as Day's goals for what she wants to achieve on stage, the only plan is to have fun.
"That's all I really think about, is having a good time because I know if I'm having a good time, then everybody else will also pick up on that vibe," Day says.
"A couple shots of Jaegermeister here and there doesn't hurt," she adds, laughing.
Formed in 1996 in Copenhagen, Denmark, after Day's former group opened a show for Nekromantix — the Psychobilly band led by guitarist (and Day's future husband) Kim Nekroman — HorrorPops' initial ambition just involved playing live shows. In fact, the group didn't release its first album, Hell Yeah, until early 2004. By that time the group (which also includes drummer Niedermeier) had started to realize that making albums could further their career as a touring band.
"It took us a lot of years before we realized we probably would get more shows if we had an album out," Day says.
And when HorrorPops signed to Hellcat Records, the label owned by Rancid's Tim Armstrong, the band (which has relocated to Los Angeles) knew making CDs would be a regular and important part of being a band.
Kiss Kiss Kill Kill shows that Day and her bandmates are serious about writing good music and making strong albums. The band's members, who readily and justifiably object to being called Rockabilly or Psychobilly, nevertheless use 'Billy beats in many of their songs, while Day's use of standup bass also ties the band to that genre. But there's much more to HorrorPops music, beginning with a strong Pop influence. The band also touches on a variety of other styles throughout Kiss Kiss, including Ska (on "MissFit"), Metal ("Boot 2 Boot") and Punk (in different degrees on most every song). The album also takes the band back to more of the Gothic-flavored sound that characterized Hell Yeah. The band's second album, Bring It On!, went in more of a Rock direction.
Again, Day says there was nothing calculated about the return to the band's Gothic (or New Wave, as it was originally known to Day and her bandmates) roots. That music is simply the one piece of stylistic common ground the three share.
"It's hard for us to agree on something musically, a style that we like," Day says. "But when we get together and we start playing, New Wave is what comes out, and that's one thing that we all really like.
"So saying we've gone back in time is again something we said after the fact, not because that was our intention," she says. "But when we're asked that question we can see that's what happened."
HORRORPOPS plays Bogart's on Tuesday. Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.