It was late 2012 when we last spoke to Kyla La Grange. DMTV described her as “a girl with model beauty, spectacular hair, and an eloquent, humble charm.” Check, check and check. Yet, two years down the line, Kyla’s image and her music are barely recognisable. Now 27, the Cambridge philosophy grad has gone through a total artistic rebirth. Gone is her gothy attire and dirty blonde hair in favour of a fresh, vibrant, 90s style. And she has collaborated with coveted producer and DJ Jakwob on her new material, taking her folk rock roots and spinning them over achingly cool electro beats. Kyla’s new single ‘Cut Your Teeth’ is taken from her forthcoming album, due for release via Sony in late Spring.
District MTV: Your last album was released in 2012. How does it feel to be back?
Kyla La Grange: It feels like it’s been a while so it’s really nice to get the music out there that I’ve been sitting on for a while.
DMTV: Your sound has undergone quite a transformation. How would you describe it now?
Kyla: I’m terrible at describing my own music! I suppose the most obvious change is that it’s a lot more electronic now, and the music is not all written about heartbreak. This time around, it’s more of a mixture of programmed and live sounds, whereas previously it was much more of a folk-rock band set up.
DMTV: To actively change your sound is quite a bold move to make – were you nervous about changing your direction?
Kyla: No – to be honest I didn’t really think about it, as to be honest I didn’t think I’d get to put out a second album. I was pretty convinced that I’d get dropped by my record label. I was just writing songs for me.
Then I met James (Jakwob), played him the demo of ‘Cut Your Teeth’ and asked if he would you be up for producing it. He ended up producing the whole album. I never thought, wham, I’m going to come in with a new sound. When the label really liked it, that was pretty great.
DMTV: What is your favourite song on the album?
Kyla: It’s a song called ‘Cannibals’ which was the last song we recorded. It seems like a good bridge between the old album and the new as it’s very electronic but also has the rocky elements from before.
DMTV: Tell me about the ‘Cut Your Teeth, video?
Kyla: A lot of the album is written about stories from growing up – childhood, teenhood and young adulthood – so I really wanted my visuals to have a sense of childhood and dress up. In the video, a kid wakes up at night and she goes downstairs to her garage and there’s a magical little world in there, where I’m dancing around in UV lighting. I really wanted it to make you feel nostalgic – that feeling that magic is still possible.
DMTV: What inspired your new look?
Kyla: A sense of the fun of childhood dressing up. That’s why I wanted to have the colourful hair! I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair as a kid so I get to do it now. I want to be more playful, colourful and fun.
DMTV: Last time you said Natasha Khan was your style icon. Anyone else you’re taking style inspiration from?
Kyla: It’s pretty much still her. She’s incredible and I like the way she wears things that shouldn’t go together but do. I always try to do that as well. I’m very bad at picking style icons, I’ll probably have the same one for thirty years.
DMTV: How easy was it to get your new rainbow hair?
Kyla: I have to do it every two weeks, but it’s quite easy. I just buy cheap hair dye, put orange at the top, then some pink, and then purple at the bottom and squish it all together. Very unglamorous! But it’s a lot of fun.
DMTV: What are your most looking forward to about 2014?
Kyla: I’m most looking forward to the album being released. I just can’t wait for people to be able to hear the whole thing. And hopefully festival season should be busy which would be great.
Original interview for District MTV