You may recog­nise her as ¼ of the badass and per­petu­ally black-clad band, Dum Dum Girls, but Kristin (formerly known as Dee Dee) has now struck out on her own, with a brand new sound and style. X-Com­mu­nic­ate, Kirstin Kontrol’s debut solo record, is about as far removed from Dum Dum Girls’ trade­mark indie/pop/rock sound as you can ima­gine, instead har­ness­ing a vibe that encom­passes her genre-hop­ping range of music­al influ­ences. And we genu­inely love it so we caught up with her to chat more about her new album, the magic of col­lab­or­a­tion and finally being allowed to wear col­our again.

A lot of artists rein­vent them­selves. Before, you were “Dee Dee”, now you’re “Kristin Kon­trol”. How do the two of these per­so­nas dif­fer?

—“Dee Dee” was the per­sona, the alter ego that for a long time empowered me to per­form. Eight years in, with the arche­type of Dum Dum Girls so con­crete, it star­ted to feel too one dimen­sion­al. Some­times you have to unbe­come what you’ve built up because it stops serving your art. “Kristin Kon­trol” is simply the monik­er for myself.

X-Com­mu­nic­ate as an album, car­ries so many dif­fer­ent themes, from 80s synths and new wave to R&B. It’s clear you had a wide range of ref­er­ences; what musi­cians or songs inspired you through­out the con­cep­tion of the album?

—So many, and it was a lot of fun to bring them all in. I’ve always listened to a mixed bag. I tried to broaden the sound of Dum Dum Girls but there just wasn’t room. The con­text in which people viewed us added this weird concept of “appro­pri­ate­ness”. X-Com­mu­nic­ate in a sense made up for years of lost time. Sure, there’s still The Cure obses­sion, but now there’s also Janet Jack­son, Dur­utti Column, Hubert Kah, Michael Roth­er, Aaliyah, Kate Bush, TLC, The Cov­er Girls, Robyn, Kylie Minogue… Noth­ing is off lim­its if it moves me.

This album is so dif­fer­ent from the sound pro­duced by the Dum Dum Girls; was it a bit of an exper­i­ment­al sound as you ven­tured for­ward under your new monik­er?

—I worked with new pro­du­cers to ensure this: Kurt Feld­man and Andrew Miller, the lat­ter of whom is my music­al dir­ect­or and plays in the new group. They’re very dif­fer­ent but I had faith that was exactly what I needed. To do some­thing new, to move for­ward, I needed to change my approach. Col­lab­or­at­ing with them was reward­ing and highly enter­tain­ing.

(Don’t) Wan­nabe” is one of our per­son­al favour­ites from the album. What’s yours and why?

—Same. It’s maybe my favour­ite song I’ve writ­ten to date. It felt hon­est writ­ing it and it feels hon­est per­form­ing it. We kept the mild krautrock under­tone and soar­ing gui­tar solos of my demo, but Kurt infused it with this gentle and heart­break­ing tone that I still don’t fully under­stand. A per­fect example of the magic of col­lab­or­a­tion.

With the Dum Dum Girls, your style was almost as not­able as the music, with you all kit­ted out in black on black. Does this trans­ition allow you to exper­i­ment with style as well as music­al genre?

—Yes. No black!

Since “Kristin Kon­trol” is your new pro­fes­sion­al monik­er, what would be your super­hero (or vil­lain) alter-ego?

—I think the point is that I don’t need to be any­one oth­er than myself these days.