Feature: My 5 Biggest Influences – Kate Stables (This Is The Kit)

Photo Credit: Phillipe Lebruman

For our latest ‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ feature, we spoke to the wonderful Kate Stables of This Is The Kit and multiple other projects-fame. This Is The Kit are due to unveil their forthcoming album Off Off On, via Rough Trade Records on October 23rd 2020.

My 5 Biggest Influences’ is when we talk to some of our favourite upcoming and established artists, delving into their greatest influences and inspirations, to see how bands, records, tracks, friends & family, hobbies and even environments have impacted on their work and music.

More about the new This Is The Kit record and planned tour below, but first, here are Kate’s 5 Biggest Influences…

BEING ALONE

for me solitude is really key.
For mental health and also for writing and making.
I think it’s really important for us to slow down and stop and look and listen and to get bored.
That’s when ideas bubble to the surface.
When the noise of other activity and people is all around you, or even in the room next door, it’s hard to fully slow down and focus on making something new and growing.
That’s why I think it’s really great to take yourself off to lonely remote places sometimes.
Either to get things done or just to empty your mind and catch up on sleep and let yourself wake up slowly and remember your dreams.
To loose track of time and place a bit.
But even in day to day life and not just off on a solo retreat, I really love being on my own.
Things like going to the cinema on concerts are so nice when you’re on your own.
And just walking.
Solo walking is a great mind un-muddler and soul calmer.
Very good for untangling ideas and getting a bit of perspective on things.

BOOKS

I love language and I love seeing how different people use it.
words are a huge part of what I do and make, so for me books and other people’s writing have a huge influence on me.
I’m quite fussy about what books I’ll stick with.
If I don’t rate the writing then I can’t be doing with it.
And as a result of which I’m sometimes a bit lazy to seek out new unfamiliar stuff.
Plus I’m the type of person who loves rereading books and finding new things hidden in them or just new ways of interpreting things that I thought differently about before.
I also think it’s really important to read and hear books out loud sometimes.
Reading books to and with people is very underrated but super important I think.
Especially things like three men in a boat by Jerome k Jerome. So frickin hilarious. It’s a shame to keep it to yourself. makes me cry with laughter every time.
And I will never get bored of Ursula k leguin.
The body of work she left is so vast and rich and inspiring.
And I think the fact that she was also a poet meant that the way she wrote prose was incredibly enjoyable to read and to speak out loud.
Plus she had a real twinkle in her eye and I love writers who have that. A wisdom but also wit and love for humanity at the same time as seeing it’s flaws. People like Alan Bennett and Charles Portis, JD Salinger, Astrid Lindgren, Dylan Thomas, Michael Rosen, Tove Jansson…. Super inspiring.

TRAVEL

On the move is when I feel the most myself and grounded.
It’s a mode that lends itself well to thinking and writing and working things through.
There’s something about being in new places.
As well as returning to places you’ve been to before.
The roads and the landscapes.
The big bodies of water.
Rivers. Cities. The solitude. The noise.
The different people.
The train stations.
The bus stations.
The motorway service stations.
Ferries.
The flow of people passing through and living their lives.
I’ve always enjoyed travelling.
Definitely one of the reasons I like touring so much.
I like the idea of carrying everything you need with you.
Kind of in part where the name ‘thisisthekit’ comes from.
Travelling light but travelling ready.
Rucksacks.

ART

It might be a bit of an obvious one, but I think that learning about what other artists do is really important.
Looking at or listening to their work.
Whether it’s visual or musical or literary or conceptual or dance or anything…
It’s all expression and communication and as humans we need communication to be in different forms.
It shouldn’t all be spoken or written down in sentences.
We need to watch and interpret and observe and absorb.
Learning about other people and their art, and their lives, is how we learn about ourselves.
We’re all each others teachers.
It’s so great to find out about how things gets made and about how hard people work at their art.
I watched a documentary recently about the artist and teacher Corita Kent.
The documentary is called ‘we have no art’ and I highly recommend watching it to find out what she meant when she said that.
It made me so happy and hopeful to watch it and to see her attitude towards creating and making and living in the world.

HUMANS

Being with people. Seeing people. Working with people. Watching people.
the extreme and infinite contradictory nature of the human race.
so infuriating and despair inducing and stupid and at the same time so brilliant and awe and hope inspiring and extraordinary.
What a mind boggling thing to get your head around.
That there are so many of us out there getting on with living all day every day.
All different but similar.
I don’t know if there are any other species on the planet that are as varied and diverse as us. (anyone know?)
Anyway, the art the languages the engineering (from things like weaving and textiles and making fire to building things like buildings and sailing boats etc…) MAPS! Canals and locks.
The bravery and the beauty of human actions and solidarity. Socialism! The NHS. The postal service. Writing letters. People looking after each other. Rituals and habits and superstitions and lucky charms.
People speaking and singing and dancing in hundreds of different languages. Writing and alphabets. Folk tales, mythology, ancient civilisations and games. string games. Modern civilisations. Board games,card games, dice games. Our relationship with our environment. Land. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. Washing lines. Compost heaps. Families. Our relationship with “other people” the reality that there is no such thing. We all are other people.

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