The first thing that may attract you to Taleen Kali may not be Kali herself, but the fact that her EP was produced by Kristin Kontrol. Don’t be fooled. Kali’s Soul Songs may be one of the best releases this year. It is a clash of experimental and synth with a raw edge as demonstrated by “Half Lie”
Kali comes the band TULIPS. Miles Marsico from TULIPS plays bass on Soul Songs, and Rhys Hastings from Gothic Tropic is on drums. The EP can be ordered at and comes out June 22, 2018:
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Soul Songs?
TK: Soul Songs had more instruments and overdubs than any other project I’ve recorded. I started hearing more arrangements with the guitars, as well as working with synths and sound healing instruments for the first time. It was an interesting experiment to see what guitar overdubs would work, or which to scrap. Sometimes a synth did a better job of defining a motif than a certain guitar part I had written for so long, so it took a lot of trust, trust in the team and trust in the new instruments I was becoming infatuated with. I learned how to allow the different instruments to serve the music in new and mind-expanding ways.
FEMMUSIC: How was making Soul Songs different from your other albums? What were your goals with the album?
TK: The goal with Soul Songs was to marry together the concept of a true blue punk record with complex arrangements in psych-pop music. How would we be able to achieve both, without compromising the other? It was an amazing challenge to bring a feeling of darkness while having ethereal, transcendent vibes.
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Lolipop Records. This is the same label you worked with TÜLIPS. How are they to work with that you returned to them with the new project?
TK: Lolipop is such an amazing supportive label that when I decided to go solo, Wyatt Blair is the first person I called.
FEMMUSIC: How was it to work with Kristin Kontrol? How did you meet her and what did she bring to the project?
TK: Kristin and I had been in each others’ creative orbits since 2010. When I decided to go solo, I was talking to a few different femme producers in L.A. and couldn’t find the right fit. Then all of a sudden I read on Pitchfork that she was moving back to L.A. to work on a film score, so I thought she might be interested in producing bands. It made perfect sense.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
TK: I always hear the words and sounds in my head first. Depending on the vibe and my mood that day, I either take it to a vocal voice memo, bass riff, or guitar chord jams. Sometimes I hear certain lyrics or musical parts indisputably loud and clear and make sure to notate those before free jams. Once I have an idea of what I’ve heard, I spend some time jamming on it with guitar and scat some words. The song tells me what it’s about thematically at that stage, and I’ll usually draw in some inspiration from a poetry book and rhymes to help it find its form.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
TK: Madonna’s “Ray Of Light” was the North Star of this album. It’s the perfect psych song!
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
TK: I experience discrimination, misogyny, and prejudice as a queer femme woman of color in every waking hour. I am learning how to turn that fire into creativity and becoming more skilled at it every day. I am learning how to accept the setbacks with a certain irreverence or grace. We are all learning.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with?
TK: Iggy Pop!!!! I feel very connected to him like he is my musical father.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?