Photo by Philip Nikoulin
Kate Wax had a job once. She sold sports shoes in a shop in Geneva but hated it. "I dropped it after one month," she says. You can't blame her. What kind of bullshit job is that when you're obviously destined to be the next electro-pop superstar heroine? They should've paid her triple just to stand there looking beautiful in her Gucci shades, enticing shoppers inside on the off-chance she might deign to serve them and brighten their sorry little lives for a few minutes. And what about playing Kate's incredible music on a loop in the shop all day long? Did they not think of that? Were they scared of making money or something?
Me? If I lived in Geneva, I'd've bought a pair of trainers, football boots, running spikes, flip-flops, whatever each day Kate worked there just so I could hang out with her and pretend she was my friend. But Kate, 23, quit and went to art college instead. Then she got to know the Mental Groove crew and immersed herself in Geneva's fertile electronics scene. Now Kate, who's half Tibetan, quarter Swiss and quarter German, has the post-electroclash world, where anything goes, at her feet. She worked with Felix Da Housecat when he hung out in Geneva last year making his delightful new album and ended up co-producing and singing on the record's best song, "Let Your Mind Be Your Bed", which loops the beats from some Italo classic.
Better than that is Kate's amazing "Black Sheep" EP, seven hot-to-trot lo-fi disco bomblets that reduce you to tears one minute (the sweetly dolorous "Angel Blues"), the next you're headbanging like it's AC/DC's final encore at their last ever concert ("Girl Force", "Bad Girls"). Kate reckons she's the missing link between Front 242, Mazzy Star, Fad Gadget, P.J. Harvey, Suicide, Tori Amos, Mike Ink and The Flying Lizards. We think she's spot-on.
VICE: Being attractive helps you get what you want, no?
Kate: Yes and no. It helps to catch the attention, especially on stage, but people rapidly go further because my music and my voice are the main attraction. I'm not hiding, but I'm playing with the cliché of the pretty girl. What about when you play live and people think someone else—a guy—made your music for you?
That's still based on the cliché that girls know nothing about technology, cables and software. And that they are just the "faire valoir" of an ugly man who's producing the music from his shadowy position. I am both, the ugly man and the "faire valoir". What's the worst job in the world?
The one you didn't choose.
The Black Sheep EP is out now on Viking Music. www.kate-wax.com