Dustin Kitsch on the inspiration behind the Kitsch Co UV Ball

We caught up with Dustin Kitsch ahead of the premiere performance of the Kitsch Co UV Ball, to find out what inspired him to take a flamboyant, colourful new approach to the Big Band tradition.

Hull Jazz Festival: The Kitsch Co UV Ball promises to be a big band like no other – what’s inspired you to shake things up?

Dustin Kitsch: Through lockdown, I was trapped in my flat, and really wanted to have a party, so I would put some music on and dance around the house.  Sadly, the vibe wasn’t really there because I was dancing round the house with a Basil Brush hand puppet and a plastic baby named Shane. I decided from here that after lockdown I was going to write music that I could dance to with my friends (the real friends, not Basil and Shane).

I chose big band as a medium because I had a couple of charts kicking around and wanted to do something that was completely different to the standard Glen Miller fare! I also watched a bit too much drag race through lockdown and thought it might be fun to get everyone dressed up and move away from the traditional look!

HJF: Tell us a bit about the musicians who’ll be performing in the band

Dustin: We have an amazing band who come from all corners of the globe (more specifically, the part of the globe called England). They all have huge CVs, so go follow them on social media, they’re amazing!

From Hull, we have Matt Smith, Peter Elsdon, Mike King, Isaac Draper, Suzie Pymm, and Alan Drever-Smith. From further afield we have Anna Chandler, Sam Johnson, Ellie Dabell, Lee Hallam, David Brocklesby, Rosie Nicholl, Tony Robertson, Karen Straw, Stu Wilson and Alex Blythe.

HJF: What can people expect on the night?

Dustin: Ultraviolet lights!

HJF: The Kitsch Co UV Ball has a very striking aesthetic. Who are some of the artists who’ve inspired the Kitsch Co sound and its look?

Dustin:  The look’s inspired by the likes of Leigh Bowery, Michael Alig, Mr Blobby, Kiss, Rupauls Drag Race and Robot Wars.

And the sound’s inspired by Artie Shaw, Sidney Bechet, Josh Mancell (the Crash Bandicoot composer), Chuck Berry, Gerry Mulligan, The Prodigy, Lord Shorty, Lovely Laura, Pendulum, Tshok.

HJF: If you could sum up the Kitsch Co UV Ball experience in three words, what would they be?

Dustin: Creative, ultraviolet, melodies!

Tickets for the Kitsch Co UV Ball at Social on Thursday 11th November are on sale now.

The Kitsch Co UV Ball was commissioned as part of our Kickstart Commissions series.