A few weeks ago I wrote a review of Girl K’s newest album “For Now,” and this weekend I was able to sit down with them on the night of their first tour stop in Urbana. The band made up of Kathy Patino, Ajay Raghuraman, Kevin Sheppard, and Alex Pieczynski, talked with me about their history as a band, their proudest accomplishments, musical influences, and what we can expect in the future from Girl K, the Chicago-based indie rock outfit.
E: I know Girl K started out much differently than it is today- when did you guys come together as the band you are currently?
Kathy: I had different members before these guys. Ajay, Kevin, and Alex came in the Fall of 2018 when I was looking for new bandmates. They have their own band called Books; Girl K played a show with them, and they had listened to us before. After that, Kevin and Ajay individually messaged me about playing…
Ajay: And we knew that you needed a bassist, so we were like ‘Okay, I guess we’re a package deal with Alex!’
E: You guys seem very down to earth, but what is your proudest accomplishment as a band- the best thing you all have done together, in your opinion?
Ajay: Putting the album out for sure. That’s a thing that I didn’t think we would do so soon. I didn’t think that would be something I would have accomplished at this point in my life.
Kevin: The album was awesome. Ajay, Alex and I have recorded before, but that was two pieces and not really a full-length album. So that was cool. Starting the year was really cool because our first show was with TNK fest, and we played at Lincoln Hall in Chicago and opened for this band, Charlie Bliss, who is really awesome.
Alex: For me there’s no specific moment, but something that’s been happening at the last couple shows we played- people sing along to the songs…that is the coolest thing.
Kathy: Yeah, I think accumulating a following is the biggest accomplishment, and just getting to meet people and sort of see like, Woah, the music is impacting them. That’s all you could really want. That’s why I do it because music did that for me.
E: What would you all say is your favorite song off of “For Now”?
Kathy: My favorite is the title track. I just think it’s super fun, and honestly, I think its the best song I’ve ever written.
Ajay: My favorite song is “Just Kids,” the last song, because we sort of put it together as a band.
Kevin: Definitely “Wish You Were Right.”
Alex: Favorite one to perform is definitely “Wish You Were Right.” Ajay and I start the song off at the same time and we have a moment together.
E: So, what are your musical influences, when you’re writing, performing, anything?
Kathy: Grouplove, in terms of everything. I really like the happy/sad aspect of their songs and I feel like I try to do that with my own music. Also artistic vision-wise, I really connect with their style and stage presence. Another influence would be Varsity and 80s artists like Blondie and Madonna.
Ajay: As a drummer, I am really inspired by drummers that try to add their own lyricism to a song, and who try to play from a creative background. With Stewart Copeland from The Police and just a lot of classically trained musicians, you can hear that coming through the pop and rock songs honestly. They give the music a really interesting and engaging rhythmic layer that makes a song more interesting.
Kevin: I took guitar lessons when I was younger- I started out with classical training then moved to more rock training, but with that, I started getting into jazz, and I liked it. I listened to a lot of The Beatles growing up and when we started our band, Ajay made me listen to a lot of The Smiths to sort of get that Johnny Marr sound down. I have heard that I play like Johnny Marr now.
Alex: I don’t know who I really pull from, but the only comparison I’ve really thought about in terms of my bass tone is the moment in “Just Kids”, where one of the notes sounds like the bass tone from Pink Flag’s Wire album, and that is definitely how I play. Any bassist that uses a very present tone, I would say inspires me.
E: What can fans expect from Girl K in the future?
Ajay: New music, for sure.
Kathy: And maybe some music videos. Right now we’re on tour and just trying to relax because after this album, another so soon would be too much- gotta give “For Now” some time to be in the world for a while.
Girl K’s tour continues from Urbana this week, with stops in Michigan, Tennessee, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.