Art book

Alison Mosshart on CARMA Spoken Word Album & Car Love Art Book – WWD

Alison Mosshart just drove across the country in her father’s Dodge Challenger SRT8 from Nashville – where she spent about four months in her quarantine home – in Los Angeles, and she’s still on top.

“It’s not a cross country car, but damn it, that’s the way to do it. I’m going to tell you, I mean, there’s nothing more fun than what I just did in that car, ”she said on the phone from the LA house where she settled down. “I mean, it was really irresponsible of me to put so many miles on a car like that. It’s something I could do once in that car. But it was like real freedom, control. and a speed – it was like a dream. For me, it was the greatest thing I have done in all this time. If it was up to me, I would have carried on forever.

Mosshart, half of rock duo The Kills, loves cars. A lot. They are at the center of her latest project both literally and in an abstract way: on August 7, she released a “spoken word” type album and a book, called “CARMA” (Cars, Art, Romance, Music, Attraction – for more details) in which she explores her long-standing love for cars and what they have become for her, as well as various other artistic expressions that she can harness in a different way than through music.

“CARMA” started a few years ago as a mission for Dover Street Market – the exact initial idea remains a bit confused. She was asked to assemble something related to the car for a fanzine in which several artists were participating, and found herself a little carried away (somewhere along the way, the prompt also changed, unbeknownst to her).

“I started working on it and I researched and it was 112 pages and I was like, ‘I don’t think this is the project, but something else.’ I was like, ‘I think I wrote a book, guys,’ ”she says.

She made the decision to publish it properly and publish it, and part of her editing process was reading clips aloud to herself, recording them, and listening to them again. (The book is a mix of written verses, photos, paintings, newspaper clippings, and more.)

“CARMA” by Alison Mosshart

“I think it’s me who comes from music: that’s a bit how I edited it myself. Just doing it gave me so much information, ”she says.

This gave her the idea of ​​recording an accompanying disc to accompany the book: what one might commonly call a spoken word album that she had loosely referred to as a “sound sculpture”.

“When I was in college I did a lot of cut ups and stuff on four track tapes. And you can hear in the first two records of The Kills, there’s a bunch of interludes seeping in and out of the songs. And it’s all done the same way I did it, ”she says. “I have always liked to do it. It’s a feeling – it’s not meant to make sense. It’s not literal, it’s very experimental. It’s very weird. It’s something I really enjoyed doing when I was younger and hadn’t done it in a long time, so it was really liberating.

Mosshart’s love of cars started young: her father is a used car dealer, and she grew up going to the dealership with her father on weekends. In Vero Beach, Florida, where there wasn’t much for the kids to do, a fun Saturday would be time spent at the dealership, where there were hot dogs, monster trucks, and balloons – and cars.

“I really liked fast cars from a young age. I really liked it when people were driving fast in a car and I was in it. And I have always loved driving. I feel like for me it was like ultimate independence, ”she says. “I like noisy cars. I like cars that smell like gasoline. They turn me on, they turn me on. I love them. And when I was doing this book, I would go through all my art, all my archives and photographs and find things from age 10 and college stuff, and I still draw the same stuff. I photographed cars. I drew cars. I was like, ‘Well, this is going to be the easiest book in the world to put together.’ “

Alison Mosshart on CARMA, Spoken Word

“CARMA” by Alison Mosshart

As a touring musician, being on the road has become second nature to her and has become an even greater representation of freedom over the course of her career.

“My relationship to cars is similar to my relationship to movement: always headed somewhere,” she says. “I’m a person who enjoys being in a different city every day and waking up to a different place every day. It causes a lot of people a lot of anxiety and for some reason it causes me a lot of calm, a lot of curiosity and a lot of excitement. I love it. Movement has always been something that really allows my brain to open up and feel good.

It’s hard to ignore the juxtaposition of discussing his tribute to movement, travel and life on the road as the country remains in various states of lockdown. The irony is not lost on her.

“Yeah, it’s been really interesting for me,” she said, “being in one place.”

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