Kills Birds Keeps Grunge Alive

No birds were harmed in the making of Kills Birds.

These misfits have no interested in chirping. They make sinister sounds with walls of distortion and vocals that punch you in the face—but it’s all in the name of a good time. “We want to draw people into something dangerous, but exhilarating,” guitarist Jacob Leob tells BTRtoday.

Based in L.A., Ljeti got together with guitarist Jacob Loeb in 2017 to start Kills Birds. That same year they grew to include bassist Fielder Thomas and drummer Bosh Rothman. Quickly after, they met KRO Records founder Justin Raisen who immediately signed them and started producing their upcoming LP.

Their latest track “Worthy Girl” is threatening, yet inviting. Bursting with distortion and catchy riffs, the song was deemed “hot as fuck” by Sonic Youth bassist and grunge pioneer Kim Gordon. Their self-titled debut comes out Sept. 20 and contains nine tracks of chaotic melodies evoking emotions of fear and wonderment.

Listen to “Worthy Girl” and read the entire interview with Kills Birds below.

Kills Birds, “Worthy Girl”

BTR: You guys are very grungy, how did it feel to have one of the queens of grunge Kim Gordon compliment your music?

Nina Ljeti (NL): It was tight. Obviously, she has been a huge influence. We love and respect her and her career tremendously. Love that she just said, “hot as fuck” and nothing else.

BTRtoday (BTR): Kills Birds is an interesting name, where did that come from?

NL: The name is taken from the opening line of our song “Worthy Girl,” which is the first track in our upcoming debut album. It goes, “this flower kills birds, when she dies she rots like flesh.”

Jacob Loeb (JL): The meaning is open to interpretation and means different things to us, but the one thing it does not mean is that we intend our music to be harmful. Our music is ultimately about positivity.

BTR: How do you want people to feel or to think of when they hear that band name?

JL: The name is somewhat divisive and we chose it knowing that a lot of people might be off-put by it initially, and we’re ok with that, but the words are not meant to be taken literally. It evokes something sinister and violent and oppressive. We want to draw people into something dangerous but exhilarating, like when your mother tells you not to touch the burning stove when you’re a kid [and] you know you shouldn’t but your curiosity gets the better of you—you have to.

BTR: What’s your favorite part about being in this band?

NL: Playing live. That’s where our music is the most impactful. As much as we love writing and recording, we really feel most free on stage.

BTR: What does music writing do for you?

JL: It’s an emotional release and a way to work out thoughts feeling and problems in our life, but it’s also a way to connect. We write collaboratively starting with me and Nina and then expanding and deepening the arrangements with bosh and fielder. Writing is a dialogue that deepens our relationships and challenges us to be more vulnerable with each other.

BTR: How has your relationship evolved since being in this band together?

NL: We’ve been through a lot together. We have an impenetrable trust that strengthens our performances and inspires our writing.