The Kills’ Jamie Hince Gives the Stories Behind the Shots

Photo: Kenneth Cappello

“It just seems kind of weird to me now that we managed to do all that” says Kills guitar man Jamie Hince, looking back on everything 2012 has brought his band so far. Their packed year began when Hince and his partner-in-rock Alison Mosshart embarked on a milestone tour in February, marking a decade of live performances. “We’d just gone out on our 10th anniversary shows,” says Hince. “So at lot the interviews, we were talking about ‘Did you ever think you’d still be doing this in 10 years?’” And a lot of the conversations would be about how far we’d come from the start, so it’s been on my mind. Shortly after that, we did the book.”

Their upcoming book, Dream and Drive a collection of photos that documents the Kills’ entire journey, from the duo’s earliest days together through every phase of their evolution. It includes images that capture Hince and Mosshart onstage, backstage, out and about – a comprehensive compendium of Kills photographs. But it’s not some random grab-bag of pictures pulled from whichever shutterbugs happened to be on hand; it’s an auteurist statement in and of itself, as seen through the eyes of photographer Kenneth Cappello.

“I guess it was like 2002. We were fiercely documenting everything; we’d film everything, take pictures of everything, I think we just thought it was gonna be over in a flash so we wanted to remember it all,” Hince remembers. “We did a little film of us in a basement in Paris playing some songs. Ken knew someone that was holding the Super 8 camera and we just ran into him in the street, and he came in and took some pictures with this plastic toy camera and spent the day with us. Apart from getting on with him as a friend, soon after that he showed us the pictures, and that was it, really. We loved the shots he’d done. There was no real decision…you know how a friendship develops, but it developed with a camera in his hand. He came away on a tour and then that was it, we had an absolute blast, so he would come away on every tour.”

More than anything, the moments Cappello catches in Dream and Drive show that Hince and Mosshart have a hell of a lot of fun together. “I don’t know how other bands operate, but that’s absolutely the essential part of it for us, really, is having a laugh,” Hince confirms. “We have a blast together, definitely. I think that’s what helps in keeping the hunger for it and keeping going. Particularly around photographs — it’s a really awkward situation most of the time doing photo shoots. It’s certainly not what I signed up in a band for. So we usually wind each other up and make each other crack up when we’re doing photo shoots.”

“I just wanted to try it; it was a dare, really. It’s like a fucking guillotine for your eyelids. I can’t really remember doing it.”

Photo: Kenneth Cappello

Hince: After we met Kenneth in Paris we came over to New York, and that was the first session we did with him. We went out that night … there wasn’t any standing ‘round posing, we were just absolutely on a high, running ‘round town, and those ended up being the shots we used. That was pretty much the first proper shoot that we ever did with Kenneth. It’s a bar in the Lower East Side that our friends had opened. They had a little blackboard area where you could write whatever you wanted, and that happened to be what we were in front of. I think it was just a pathetic attempt to stop people graffitiing on the walls.

Photo: Kenneth Cappello

Hince: Those things are monstrous, those eyelash curlers. Allison spends all this time doing her makeup before we play … her preparation for the show is like an hour, and my preparation is like 15 minutes. So I often watched her doing her doing her makeup ritual and putting out all these torture instruments to do her makeup — eyelash curlers and various things like that. I just wanted to try it; it was a dare, really. It’s like a fucking guillotine for your eyelids. I can’t really remember doing it. This shot that came out looks like I’m really engrossed in doing it properly, but it was more just trying to see how it worked.

Photo: Kenneth Cappello

Hince: That’s Coney Island. Our record company wanted us to do some promo shots. Kenneth said “Coney Island, that’s quite a quirky place to do it.” We went out there and then ended up not really using any of the funfair part of it, we just sat on the beach and took some shots before the light went.

Photo: Kenneth Cappello

Hince: To be honest I can’t remember Kenneth being there — I think that’s a gig we did on a boat on the Thames. I’ll never do that again! We were stuck on a boat for five hours, with nothing to do except drink!

Dream and Drive is out September 4 on Red Meat Heart

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