Abi Makes Music meets... HK119


Written by Abigail Balfe
15 Monday 15th December 2008

So... you write electro-pop songs on contemporary themes such as celebrity culture, space travel and mind control. I also write electro-pop songs on contemporary themes, such as butch dykes, prostitution and shit awful jobs. Have you ever had any shit awful jobs?

[Laughing] Oh my God... yes - PACKING MEAT. And I worked with a lady who kept saying that the tongue we were packing felt exactly like a penis...

Are you a vegetarian now?

[Laughing] No - not anymore...

Ah - so you enjoyed meat after that... Have you ever been a prostitute?

No, but I was considering working in a topless bar, but I didn’t even have enough money to buy the fancy costumes that the girls were supposed to wear. Another dire job was that my mother said if I shut up for an hour she’d give me £10, but that was actually really good pay for those times...

Have you had any jobs that haven’t been shit and awful?

I’ve had some nice gigs in nice venues where everything has run really smoothly. [Pause] That mostly happens in other countries...

True. I’ve had some really awful gigs - once two people pissed themselves at one of my gigs.

One time I was really drunk and was trying to unlock my front door, but I couldn’t work the key in the lock and I needed the toilet really badly, so I pissed on the doorstep and my housemate went out the next day and discovered it. 

HK119 live at Goldsmith's

Terrible. I wrote a song about my housemate because she wouldn’t take the bins out... You’ve made costumes out of bin liners haven’t you? What are your favourite household objects to make things with?

Silver foil is a wonderful material to work with, but it tears easily. At the moment I’m really into paper. And foam board is a fantastic material, but it’s not cheap unfortunately. 

Have you ever made anything out of faeces?

No but I have songs about faeces. I’ve written songs about faeces coming down from the sky and covering all the machines, but I haven’t made costumes out of faeces. I also made a video using chocolate that was meant to be faeces and my character’s name was Shithead. [Pause] What’s your fascination with faeces?

I can ask normal questions too. Here’s one: You studied Visual Arts at university didn’t you? Do you enjoy working somewhere between art and music? Blurred boundaries and all that stuff?

Yes - That’s my world. I can’t help it. I love making music, I love singing and I love making songs, but I have this whole vision – and that’s how it has to look. I can’t separate the two. I see myself as an artist who does many projects – for example this album I’ve just done is a project. That might involve the video and background visuals, then I might do some painting and that might become the background or that might inspire me to do posters or lyrics about the painting – or whatever.

Once my friend and I videoed some girls from our class that we didn’t like and used it as background visuals for a dance where we wore strap-ons, but we were banned from the dance show because of it. How do you feel about collaborations? 

I enjoyed working with I Monster immensely. There are benefits to working alone, but it’s nice to bounce ideas off other people and to be in company. When I’m on my own it’s not as jokey and fun.

HK119 accosting a male at Goldsmith's

Your second album is called Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Sounds like a girl I know. She was banned from my house after she had sex with my housemate’s 16 year-old brother on our kitchen floor. I wrote a song about it actually...

What was it called?

Rosie. It’s on one of my Myspace pages. Do you prefer concepts rather than people? To write songs about I mean...

I suppose, yeah – if you mean in an “I miss my boyfriend and my heart is breaking” way...

That’s boring.

Exactly, but if I’m writing about a concept I might create a character. Who knows – my third album might have a couple of people in it.

My friend showed me this yesterday - If you text 118 188 and ask them a question they tell you the answer. If you ask them “Who is HK119?” the answer is “She is the creation of Finnish artist Heidi Kilpelainen. HK119 is under One Little Indian Records. Thx!”

You texted that number and it told you this?  Isn’t that scary...

And just so you know... If you text 118 188 and ask them “Who is Abi Makes Music?” the answer is “Abi Makes Music is an artist from London. Visit http://myspace.com/abimakesmusic for more info. Thx!”

Good advice...

Lead illustration by non other than Abi herself.

To hear more of HK119 visit www.hk119.co.uk

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