Considering Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson of Kisses have been a couple for several years, we're not surprised to hear that their music is influenced by "silly love songs." But the California duo's breezy, whimsical sound is spiked with an added dose of cool that's not usually found in these retro tunes. Their debut album, The Heart of the Nightlife, is filled with the type of songs you'd expect to hear on vacation- think easy, sing-a-long tracks that never get old. And with Jesse on vocals/ guitar and Zinzi on keyboard/ vocals, their sound is the perfect fusion of hazy pop with a new-wave edge. We talked with Zinzi and Jesse after their CMJ gig.
When you guys started playing music together, did you intend for it to become a professional thing?
Jesse: The record was made prior to actually being a band. My idea was just that it would be cool if people liked it, but we didn't know exactly what that would mean or where it would go.
Zinzi: We just wanted to play music and have people hear it, but didn't expect to be so well received. We're excited, though.
So you guys are both writers [Jesse used to be a travel writer and Zinzi has a blog]. Does that experience affect your song writing process at all?
Jesse: It may be on my mind in terms of different locations, being in different locations in the song, you know? But in terms of writing and honing your lyrics, I don't think it plays as much of a part.
Jesse, you're in another band, too [Princeton, with his twin brother, Matt]. How does this sound differ?
Jesse: Kisses is more dance-based; it's a little sillier and tongue-in-cheek. Princeton is me and my brother, so it's definitely a different feel.
In your ideal world, where would you imagine your songs being played?
Jesse: I usually think of late-night, after-the-club time.
Zinzi: It's definitely not prime of the night when everyone is going out, but there's more of a romantic, end-of-the-night type feel for it. Maybe when the sun's coming up.
Jesse: It's funny, because the title of our record is The Heart of the Nightlife. But actually we picture it to be a little later.