Menu Close

Sheila and The Kit: ‘We use and abuse the past’

‘Fresh’, catchy’ and ‘irresistible’ is the standard reaction to Sheila and the Kit’s music. And all this while the music clearly refers to the electropop from the nineteen eighties and nineties. But the group sees an opportunity to make something that is completely contemporary.

Sheila and the Kit was founded in 2013 by Suzanne Kipping and Bo Koek, with the intention of making music they would like to dance to themselves. Soon, songs emerged that owe to the cheerful electro pop from the 1980s and 1990s, the years in which they grew up themselves. Especially the playful and ironic work of artists like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper is an inspiration.

And why be deadly serious? “Since we had a great childhood, we don’t write songs about misery and failures, but about the things that used to keep us busy. Infatuation, discomfort, clothing, books, hobbies, skating, and 7-UP,” Suzanne once said in an interview. Moreover, Sheila and the Kit is intended as a project rather than as an outlet for personal revelations. Both Sheila and Bo have a background as theatre-makers. As Sheila and the Kit, they play a role.

Real bond

That is to say, Sheila is Suzanne’s alter ego. So, ‘The Kit’ must be Bo’s? Not quite. Although Suzanne and Bo take care of the publicity together and present themselves as a duo à la The Eurythmics of Roxette, the group now also consists of Chris Doyle and Ralf Pouw.

“Bo and I soon found out that we couldn’t perform our music live together, or only with canned backing tracks running along. And that’s what we wanted to avoid at all costs, as music from laptops is much less infectious than live music. That’s why we quickly invited Chris and Ralf to join us. Their input has grown over time; These days, all four of us write. We’ve become a real band.”

What’s remarkable about Sheila and the Kit’s songs is that although they wink at music from the 1980s and 1990s, they still sound very contemporary – ‘fresh’, catchy’ and ‘irresistible’ is the standard reaction to the group’s music.

Completely contemporary

How is it that Sheila and The Kit don’t sound dated or invested, but completely contemporary? “Maybe because you can hear that the music isn’t really from a bygone era. We just use and abuse the music from the past. But our modern synthesizers sound different from the old ones. And I use my voice in a different way than was popular back then. For example, I use less power than someone like Whitney Houston, although she is also an example to us.”

So far, Sheila and the Kit have already released several singles, often accompanied by video clips Bo shot (such as the irresistible Homeschool Sweethearts from 2017). They are all catchy songs, which can easily be stretched out and transformed into dance songs that can continue all night. Exactly as Suzanne and Bo had imagined when they created Sheila and The Kit.

Factsheet Sheila and the Kit

Albums, EP's & singlesSingles: Homeschool Sweethearts (2017), Next 2 U (2017), Time Again (2018), Yoko Ono (2018), Ruffhouse (2019), Good Love Stories (2019), Tell Me Now (2020), My Boyfriend Sucks (2020).
YEAH! (EP) met de nummers Mike, Ruffhouse en Liar Liar.
SpotifyPlaylist Sheila and the Kit
YouTubePlaylist Sheila and the Kit