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Words from the Front-woman of Kill My Coquette
Natalie Denise Sperl is the front woman of Los Angeles-based quartet Kill My Coquette whose self-titled debut EP is due out on January 20th. Armed with attitude and boasting vital rock & punk with a twist of designer blues, Kill My Coquette is influenced by game-changing artists like Jack White, Lou Reed, Joan Jett and the New York Dolls, but they have a sound all their own. Written and arranged by Natalie, the 5-song EP was recorded at Evelyn Martin Recordings in Los Angeles with producer Danny McGough (Tom Waits, Social Distortion).
She generously shares with LFF about playing the sax in high school and picking up a guitar years later; her inspirations from Hunter S. Thompson to Anais Nin; the meaning behind the band name; how L.A. is for women in music and much more…
Where are you from? How did you get into music?
I’m from a tiny town in Minnesota called Ulm. Restless Catholic school girl. Music has been in my life as far back as I can remember. My Dad liked to blast music every morning before school. Classic stuff mostly. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen. My brother was into punk while my Mom liked Janis Joplin. It was an eclectic mix to say the least. I’m sure the neighbors loved us! My brother and I formed a band way back and he played drums while I sang. I don’t remember it lasting too long. Creative differences perhaps, lol. Anyway, I was in choir and eventually joined the school band. I chose the sax because Springsteen’s band had one. I eventually let that go in favor of acting in school plays and didn’t pick up an instrument again until years later. Two years ago in fact - when I plugged in an electric guitar. It’s true what they say about them. Epic moment. From that point on I learned the instrument and practiced as much as I could. I dusted off my notebooks and arranged and re-arranged lyrics to form the songs on my very first EP.
Tell me about your musical inspirations and process for your band Kill My Coquette.
My inspirations vary wildly from Hunter S. Thompson to Joan Jett. From Johnny Thunders to Edie Sedgwick. From Jack White to Anais Nin. I draw on the novels I’ve read, music I like, the innovators I admire. People like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Nico, Lee Krasner, Emma Goldman, Lou Reed, Love, Keith Richards, Hal Ashby, Iggy Pop, Wanda Gag. These revolutionists continue to inspire me. With my band Kill My Coquette, the music I’m writing is mostly rock and roll and punk rock with pretty melodic dark undertones. I draw from these artists all the while putting my own stamp on the songs. They come from my own unique experience in this world. I’ve moved in many circles. I lived in Europe doing runway modeling in London, Paris and Milan. I worked with and was photographed by some of the most talented and respected artists in that profession. I moved to Los Angeles to flirt with the silver screen, making many films and co-starring in hit television shows. Kill My Coquette is where I can write about these unique experiences.
How did you come up with the name Kill My Coquette, what does it mean?
Coquette is French for “flirt”. I like how it sounds. It’s a sixties term I like to use a lot. It’s also ambiguous. Is he the coquette? Am I??
Tell me about Kill My Coquette’s forthcoming debut EP due out January 20th, and why it is important to you.
I can’t wait for people to hear what I’ve been up to the last two years. I started writing these songs in my bedroom. Personal thoughts and feelings I had at the time. I think they portray what I was feeling at that moment. I think we caught some lightening in a bottle. Captured and recorded magic.
You currently live in Los Angeles. Would you say it’s a good city for women in music?
It’s good for anyone to be able to make music and put it out there. The trick is getting people to listen, or as I like to say “The Art of Getting People To Care.” Thats the arduous part, male or female. I think women have more of a challenge particularly in rock music. The only explanation I can think of is because it’s been dominated by boys who seem to think it’s no place for girls. I call B.S.
In addition to music, you also act and model. How tenacious do you have to be in order to be successful in your fields? How so?
I’m not going to sugarcoat here. It IS tough. You must have unyielding tenacity and courage to keep going even when no one seems to care about what you’re doing. I have always had the mindset of, ‘It’s better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.’ Applies to my art too. More noble to try and fail then never try at all or give up. There’s no lesson plan or blueprint as to “How To Make It In Show Business.” Yeah, there are many of those book though. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME READING THEM. It boils down to perseverance, talent, timing, and luck.
Does feminism play a role in your work?
Of course. It’s no coincidence I chose to front a rock and roll band. I like to think I’m making a bit of a statement. I remember all the bands I used to see with girls singing and playing guitar. It spoke volumes to me. Feminism gets a bad rap and I don’t know why. Feminism is about women having all the rights that men have. Period. Who wouldn’t support that??
What advice do you have for other aspiring female musicians?
Be bold. Be more daring than anyone else before you. Push the envelope. Always. And know your worth.
Thanks for having me! Please check us out at KillMyCoquette.com.
Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins. LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com, including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.
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