Kaki King – “2 O’Clock”

Guitarist extraordinaire, Drive XV participant (with Sara Quin), and Golden Globe-nominated Into The Wild soundtracker Kaki King returns with her fourth album Dreaming Of Revenge in March. The follow-up to 2006’s …Until We Felt Red finds King continuing to expand her range, moving beyond tapping the fretboard (and everywhere else on the six-stringer) to increasingly assured vocals and multi-instrumentation. On this week’s Drop track, Dreaming standout “2 O’Clock,” she even handles the drums. “They sound rough and chaotic to me and I love them that way,” she says. Here’s King on what else went into the song.

“2 O’Clock” is used to set the time in the narrative, but is there any personal meaning to that particular hour?
Creating “2 O’Clock” was by far the most interesting process inside the studio environment. I wrote the outline of the piece on guitar one of my first nights that I was there, but I hadn’t created a definitive structure. When I told Malcolm Burn, the producer, that I had written something brand new he immediately put a mic up and hit record. I improvised the structure and changes of the song in one single take, and by the end of it I was so drained that I had tears running down my face. We tried to recreate some of the guitar and drum parts, but after a few failed attempts, Malcolm said, “look, you just can’t hear the tears like you can in the original track.” So that was our map to work from.

What’s the story behind the lyrics?
The song is written about me, from the perspective of my ex-girlfriend. I went through a long difficult phase when I would stay up really late, eventually sleep and have vivid and terrifying dreams, and when I finally woke up in the afternoon I would be sick from all the acid that had built up in my stomach. It was an awful time. She would cook me breakfast most mornings and half the time I wouldn’t be able to eat a bite. It was a terrible time for me and must have been just as bad for her. Writing these lyrics was a way of acknowledging how fucked up our situation was and for me to take the blame for it.

The song starts hushed (with these whispered backup vocals, etc) as if you’re trying not to wake up the person sleeping, but then it explodes. What’s the significance of that shift?
Relating back to how the song was created, I had no idea at the time that the ‘chorus’ would be such an explosion of emotion, nor that I would have an extended freaked out guitar/drum experience towards the
end. We were just building the song around the improvised structure that came out the first time I recorded it, which itself was built around a lot of pent up emotion.

How do “2 O’Clock”‘s lyrics, their sort of defiance, fit with the album title, Dreaming Of Revenge?
Since it’s written about me from the perspective of another person, I can imagine that there were some vengeful thoughts, considering that we weren’t able to reconcile and I perhaps I put her through a lot of
unnecessary pain.

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Dreaming Of Revenge is out 3/4 on Velour Music.

Tags: Kaki King