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  • Writer's pictureEryk The Strange

Interview with Kiss Is Kill

Q: Introduce yourself to the readers

Hey Moon Burn readers!! My name is James Chapple, and as my "day job" I write music for some of the biggest animated shows on TV - if you have kids you’ve definitely been serenaded by my kid-centric songs and scores. My “night job” is that I make heavy industrial rock music under the name Kiss Is Kill, where I really get to explore musical territory my day job doesn’t allow. 

Q: How do you go from making music from kids programming to making music for Kiss Is Kill? Explain the mindset shift what the difference in writing processes looks like.

Writing music for TV is really fun and rewarding, but at the end of the day the episode I’m scoring dictates all of my musical decisions. I’m often switching between genres, hitting multiple jokes, and highlighting the emotional beats all in a 30 second span. It’s usually a demanding musical problem to solve, and ultimately I’m there to serve the creative vision of the writer/director. When it comes to Kiss Is Kill, I’m the final say. This gives me much more freedom to cut loose and explore musical ideas that TV shows don’t always allow. It also gives me a venue to express more mature thoughts and concepts, so I find it to be a nice counter balance to working in the domain of children’s television. That’s really why I decided to start this project - it was a fun way for me to balance myself musically and have an outlet for me to make music I like!  All of the stylistic differences aside, I feel like my experience writing songs for shows has taught me some important lessons about songwriting in general, and allowed me to practice the craft over the last ten years. My understanding of structure and the importance of a good hook is a good example. I don’t think Kiss Is Kill would be the same if it weren’t for the practice I get from my day job. 

Q: How long did "Anatomy of Fear" take to make from start to finish?

I started work on the album right after the release of my previous record “Imposter Syndrome”, so sometime in late 2014. The final mastering was done in mid 2023, so roughly 9 years of working on these songs, which is admittedly way too long to work on an album. There were a number of setbacks throughout the process, most notably a global pandemic, otherwise I think I could have had this done in about half the time. The other reason it took so long, and the true struggle I face when doing Kiss Is Kill, is that my day job takes up all of my musical energy. The last thing I want to do after working on music all day is to work on even more music! It was very difficult to carve out the personal time and energy needed to work on this album. 

Q: Who did the cover art? Explain what inspired it?

The cover art was done by my good friend and regular collaborator Pete Crossman. Pete not only did the artwork but contributed production/co-writing/remix work as well. He also did my previous album’s artwork and designed the KIK logo, so it felt like a natural fit to have him work on this record too. Visually, I think the artwork reflects the concept of “Anatomy of Fear” really well: it is a circuit board featuring the elements that create fear.  There are also a few Easter eggs in the CD version like an MRI scan of my head, and a hidden maple leaf as a nod to my Canadian roots. Pete has always been good at hiding little personal touches in his artwork, and I love that. 

Q:Explain the concept behind the song "Left Is Right”.

The overall theme of the song is a reflection on the duality of good/bad we all have inside of us. That very human balance of positive and negative that we navigate every day, sort of surfing the waves of life’s ups and downs. This song is about how we’re all the same in that way, with these opposing forces pulling us in different directions.  I always liked the idea of having multiple meanings and layers in my lyrics, so this song (like the rest of the album) is really about a few different things. I don’t want to say too much more as the songs come from a personal place, but more importantly I always like the listener to interpret them in their own unique ways.


Q: What inspired you to write “IDGAF"?

Usually when I’m working on a song, especially the lyrics, it is a bit of a battle to come up with the right ideas, or the right way to say them. In the case of IDGAF it was one of those moments where it just popped in my head. I was on vacation, riding on a boat out in the ocean, and BOOM, It just hit me and that was that. I wish every song revealed itself to me with that kind of ease, but I guess that’s just the magic and mystery of music. Lyrically the song is about getting older and concerning myself less with what other people think. Sonically this was my “dumb”, “silly”, “novelty” song I tried to write after reading KLF’s “The Manual”, so I tried to keep the song elements very basic, almost comically so. It is probably my least favorite song on the record, but ironically it seems to be the track people respond to the most. This just goes to show that you can work in the music business for 25 years and STILL not know what people will want or like.

Q: Explain the spelling of “Childe”

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t like to talk too much about what each song is really about, but I will say among other things this song is about becoming a father. I think many artists eventually try to smuggle in a song about their kid once they become a parent, and this one’s mine. Initially I was going to just be blunt and call the song “Child”, and not even try to hide what it’s about. My wife thought that was a little too on the nose, and I think she was right. I settled on “Childe” instead, as it’s a term from the Middle Ages meaning “young lord”. The song is also about a favorite book series of mine, and the word “childe” plays into that as well. 

Q:Who would you say are some of your biggest musical influences?

It’s super trite to say, but Nine Inch Nails and Tool have been massive influences on me since I was a teenager. As far as other influences on this album, I’ve been listening to a lot of Cubanate, Stabbing Westward, Ministry, Be My Enemy, Pig, Crying Vessel, Prick, Empirion, KMFDM, Chrome Corpse, Filter. Honestly I could sit here all day, the list goes on and on…

I also find myself inspired by material that isn’t industrial. Because of my day job, I need to be familiar with a wide variety of genres, so my personal playlists are really all over the map. It’s actually really fun to try and find ways to incorporate some of these various influences back into my music. Kiss Is Kill is really a melting pot of my entire musical diet.    

Q: What does "Kiss Is Kill" mean to you?

I find films and TV shows to be really inspiring. My music is chock full of references to my favorite stories, characters and lines of dialogue. In the case of the band name, I got it from a Canadian zombie movie I absolutely adore called “Pontypool”.  Spoiler alert: it’s about a zombie virus that is transmitted through the English language, and in order to survive the plague, the characters must learn to change the meaning of words. Hence the line: “Kiss Is Kill”.  As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of dual meanings, and “Kiss Is Kill” really seems to sum up that concept in a simple way.

Q:What would you say is your biggest struggle as a musician?

The toughest challenge I seem to face is finding the creative fuel to work on Kiss Is Kill after I’ve spent the day working on music for TV.  When I’m spending most of my time in the studio, it’s the last place I want to be when I have free time.  Obviously having a stable career in the music business is a real gift, and I absolutely love working on these shows, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for personal creative opportunities.  Also I’m finding as I’m getting older, it’s harder to maintain that excited, motivated, jazzed-up feeling of working on music I used to have when I was younger.  I find KIK is a good venue for me to reignite those feelings by keeping things fun, letting go a bit, and trying to reconnect with the magic of music I felt in my youth. 

Q: Where can people find your music and socials?

“Anatomy Of Fear” is available for FREE on my bandcamp page: 

The album is also available on Spotify, Amazon, Apple and all the other major streaming platforms. 

As for the rest of my socials, you can find KIK at the links below:

Q:What do you have to say to your fans?

THANK YOU!! Maybe it sounds a little cheesy, but all the fans, DJs, interviewers (such as yourself) that have supported this project over the years are the real reason I’m continuing to make Kiss Is Kill.  All of your kindness and support have really kept the creative fire alive for me, so a massive shout out to everyone who has helped pump my tires. I appreciate you all more than I can express. 

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