Standish913.com has been blessed to do an exclusive interview with...
*NEW* Kai Kaldro - "POST COITAL, PRE MORTEM" (Official Music Video)
Kai Kaldro is a heavy metal singer and filmmaker from New York City.
Musically, he embodies a dark industrial sound with a sensuous shock rock presence and lyrics that demonically satirize classic film noir and Golden Age Hollywood, particularly Alfred Hitchcock’s films.
Kaldro’s debut single POST COITAL, PRE MORTEM just went live last month with an insatiable music video that can be seen on YouTube and is soon to be heard in the soundtrack of DESERT FIENDS. An all-star cast slasher film featuring Bai Ling, Eric Roberts, Scout Taylor Compton, Tom Arnold, Lorelei Linklater, Lisa Wilcox, Michael Pare, Spencer Breslin, William McNamara amongst many others. Directed by Shawn C Phillips, produced by Nicole Vegas.
Kaldro was mentored by his late great production sound mixer M Wolf Snyder (1985-2021), known for running sound on 2021 best picture winner NOMADLAND, starring Frances McDormand. Kaldro's dark sci-fi action short DISSOLVED GIRL was one of Wolf's final pictures, who was then honored by McDormand and director Chloe Zhao at the 2021 Oscars.
At age 19, Kaldro was solidified as one of, if not the youngest film director to have a best picture winning crew member enlisted on his own production.
Whilst recording his album and shooting music videos, a full-length upgrade of Kaldro's 2019 short SINNER’S LULLABY is now in production. Attached as composers are Kim & Kathryn Kluge, the master maestros behind Martin Scorsese's religious epic SILENCE, solidifying Kaldro's musically hellbent gothic neo-noir as his feature debut.
Kaldro also appears in the music video for iPAD The Chainsmokers.
Up next, Kaldro’s second single REDIAL FOR REMNANTS is set to hit streaming platforms come spooky season of 2023, in time for your Halloween party playlists.
STANDISH: Hey Kai, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this exclusive interview…
KAI: Howdy, great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Let's get into some questions...
STANDISH: What do you go by?
KAI: So Kai Kaldro is actually my real name, it’s not a stage name haha.
STANDISH: Where are you from? Age?
KAI: I’m 22 years old and live in New York City.
I was born in NYC, but grew up in a tiny shithole town in Southwest Virginia where my family moved, so when put in perspective, I deeply appreciate the opportunities and vast environment here. As a kid, I didn’t have many friends and lived in a crazy fucked up household that social services was constantly in and out of. I always felt come hell or high water, I would make it back to the city someday. I dropped out of school when I was 16, was emancipated, and moved back here right when I turned 18.
Ever since, I’ve been traversing the proverbial young pissing-in-their-ramen-cartons poor artist rite of passage… but given having only been here 4 years, the limited resources, and all while the covid-pandemic happened, I think I’m really lucky to have had a good run so far and have done some work I’m proud of.
STANDISH: Tell us a little about your overall mission, Kai -
KAI: While I strive to make music that is heavy and abrasive by nature, I don’t want that aura of obligatory forced rage, which repels me from a lot of newer metal. I mean dude, I get it. Life is hard and I empathize… but as opposed to making art that reflects reality, I always approach songwriting like screenwriting in terms of creating your own reality with your own rules. I’m most inspired by otherworldly concept albums like WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE by Alice Cooper, RISE & FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST by David Bowie, and most any Rob Zombie album. As opposed to the thrash metal bullshit where the drums sound like a typewriter and the guitar sounds like pulling a lawn mower chain, I aim for groove and danceable quality, musicality-wise.
Cinematically, I’m the same way; I’m a genre filmmaker and like to world-build. I’ve explored dark sci-fi “cyberpunk” and neo-noir. Right now, I’m focused on horror with hopefully gothic and film noir elements.
Fundamentally, I just want to make something atmospherically haunting that doesn’t resemble our current world. An almost period setting or alternate reality, where we aren’t cutting back to the character’s stupid iPhone screen or filling the negative space in their medium shot with superimposed text bubbles. I watch movies to get the hell away from my phone for a few hours.
I think the farther you detach your film from any semblance to reality and root it in a different world, the more that the components which make cinema what it is (costumes, makeup, production design, special fx) are more utilized, more alive, and there’s a true transformation. No matter how scant the resources, my spirituality as an artist is to chase that transformation and creatively find ways to rebel against whatever limitations.
As both a filmmaker and a musician, the goal is to blur the lines and really accentuate the relationship with one another. Part of the reason it felt so monumental for my music to get picked up for the DESERT FIENDS soundtrack was the casting of Bai Ling, who plays one of the villains in THE CROW, my favorite film... I discovered my favorite bands as a kid through that soundtrack like Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots, Pantera, Thrill Kill Kult, and Rage Against The Machine… so for my song to then end up in a film with her felt like coming full circle… but hopefully things have only just begun.
STANDISH: What exactly is it that you specialize in?
KAI: I’m a vocalist. My relationship with session musicians in studio is much like when I’m directing for film; where I provide a very delineated roadmap, but I always allocate room everyone’s own ideas, which often translate into reality better since they know their instrument best; much like how often on set, the DP intuitively favors an alternate setup and I just give the thumbs up because I trust they know their instrument (camera) best. For a long time, I pigeonholed myself into strictly being involved in film and behind the camera, but then I decided I had more to offer than just bossing people around.
There was always this writing on the wall that I had a photogenic and rockin’ music potential that I self-deprecatingly dismissed when anyone said so. A fun story is how I wound up appearing in the music video for The Chainsmokers’ iPAD. I was a camera assistant, until the director suddenly approached me and told me that I looked like I should be on film. Once I found my way into the very effusive horror world and started attending conventions… there was suddenly a lot of interest in my being on stage or on camera. That was a big push and support, which I’m eternally grateful for, in terms of me finally compounding my filmmaker life with a music one and even an acting one.
The new music video for POST COITAL, PRE MORTEM was a big artistic rebirth with cast & crew who were all unshockable horror hounds. Gone were the days of me worrying about my work being deemed “too violent” “too sexual”, or “politically incorrect”. It was a great open environment where we were allowed to create. SFX prodigy Sara Freericks (look out her work in FROM THE SHADOWS with Keith David & Bruce Davison), DP Lakota Ruby-Eck, and Larry Stephen Hines were a powerhouse.
STANDISH: What can we look forward to in the future from you?
KAI: In the near future, I’m excited to say my next single REDIAL FOR REMNANTS should be live come October in time for everyone’s Halloween party playlists.
POST COITAL, PRE MORTEM and REDIAL FOR REMNANTS are two of four tracks encapsulating my EP titled THE SHADY LADY VANISHES which we’ve been recording single by single this last year. Within the next 6 months, I think the two remaining songs will be out in the wild too before doing a physical release. There are music videos planned for the three remaining songs as well, hopefully depending on how soon we get those in the can, we can include a DVD/bluray combo with the vinyl and CD release.
After THE SHADY LADY VANISHES EP, we’ll be onto my first full LP; LACERATION LOUNGE which there’s already material written for. There are various talks with DESERT FIENDS director Shawn C Phillips and producer Nicole Vegas about their next productions. Be it on the soundtrack or on screen, they do seem keen to get me on board again, so definitely thankful and hopeful for that.
While I do run out of time and budget sometimes, I never run out of ideas, energy, or passion. So there will always be something to look forward to from crazy uncle Kai.
STANDISH: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
KAI: Hopefully I’ll have shot my debut feature which has been in an embryonic stage, sporadically progressing; SINNER’S LULLABY. A gothic neo-noir based on the eponymous short film I made when I was 18. Kim & Kathryn Kluge, composers of Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE, are attached to score it, which has been a surreal honor.
The film is set in Devil's Night and follows the frontwoman of a heavy metal band who moonlights as a private investigator and her girlfriend who's the polar opposite; a seemingly benign lounge singer. The two overcome their differences and band together both in combat and musically on stage when the criminal underworld plaguing their city is overthrown by an even greater threat; the ultimate psycho franken-stitched femme fatale. I’d describe it as if THE CROW had a Hitchockian bastard child.
STANDISH: Who are some of your mentors?
KAI: My late great production sound recordist M Wolf Snyder (1985-2021) was my first real mentor. The hardest part of my career has been losing him, just week before his 36th birthday, just as NOMADLAND was being nominated by the academy and he was being honored by Frances McDormand and Chloe Zhao, and just as my film DISSOLVED GIRL was nearing completion. Wolf was like an older brother, I’ll love him always.
Nicole Vegas, producer of DESERT FIENDS, has been a huge support this year who I’m eternally grateful for. It’s really kickass what lengths she’ll go to cutting whatever red tape to get people from all around the world together and utilize their different skills to their fullest potential. Nicole is very open, honest, caring, and I’ve learnt a lot from her. She’s someone who gets me back in the swing of things when I have shitty days. I think musically, she’s been my biggest support and advocate. Love her.
STANDISH: During COVID, we all faced struggles, what was one of your main struggles?
KAI: I was new in town, so it was a mindfuck that I just rolled with because “the show must go on”. I shot my dark sci-fi short DISSOLVED GIRL in November 2020 and our set was laden by all the covid protocols. Total pain in the ass, but we were all the better for it. But having just moved to NYC during a time when my work (under certain stipulations) was still possible, but opportunities to meet new people weren't… that was definitely the most confusing and difficult struggle for me personally.
Thankfully in the world’s reopening, I discovered the horror community and all its effusion through conventions and have met some good people in the last year. Professionally, personally, and spiritually; it’s been a big step in the right direction.
STANDISH: Where can fans find your work?
KAI: Both my music and films can be found on Spotify and YouTube, under my name.
STANDISH: Anything you'd like to include?
KAI: All I can say is that the best is yet to come. Stay tuned for REDIAL FOR REMNANTS.
STANDISH: What are your social links?
KAI: I’m mainly only active on Instagram, you can find me at on instagram @kaikaldro
STANDISH: How'd you hear about Standish913?
KAI: When you guys were doing interviews with the creative team behind the TERRIFIER films. Huge fan. Big hugs and lots of love to the TERRIFIER family.
Thanks so much for your time!!!
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