“The fact that Derek and I had no prior connections really made the fact that our situation ending up working out that much more serendipitous,” says Alexis Krauss, the other half of Sleigh Bells, a hard-hitting, two piece noise-rock band. In 2010, her and Derek Miller together released the debut album Treats and it gave one hell of a musical cock punch. Three years later, about to release their third album Bitter Rivals, they show no signs of slowing the fuck down, but why would you want them to?
Let’s back track to the summer of July 2008 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Krauss and her mother search for the perfect dinner spot and decide on Miss Favela, a Brazilian bistro. Mother and daughter sat at a table in Miller’s section, even though Krauss and Miller had no idea of each other’s existence at this time, the rest is history as they say. Miller moved to New York from Florida after spending almost eight years with the hardcore band Poison the Well. He was on the search for a female singer/song writer. Krauss grew up in New Jersey with a bright and colourful background full of theatre and time spent in the music industry. “I was involved in theatre at a young age and used to be the lead singer of an all-girl pop band from 12 to 16. We had a record deal that fell through,” laughs Krauss.
When Krauss’ mother began the seemingly endless list of questions for Miller, Krauss had no idea just what was in store for her. “At the time I was very committed to my teaching career and working full-time as an educator. The last thing on my mind was joining a band,” remembers Krauss, “but such is life.” Krauss and Miller eventually exchanged information, much to the happiness of Mother Krauss. They would meet up a few days later in a park, where Krauss would listen to Miller’s production through headphones. “It was just one of those bizarre things where you hear something and it gets you so excited,” remembers Krauss. “We got really lucky.”
There’s been years and the most traumatic of events between Treats and Bitter Rivals.
“Our process for working together has really changed since the beginning. When Derek and I met, he already had a lot of the material ready for Treats and he did the majority of the writing. Bitter Rivals was really the first time that we worked as true collaborators. We constantly got to challenge one another and we also got to surprise each other with ideas we hadn’t necessarily expected,” says Krauss.
Reign of Terror is the sophomore album from the duo that threw multiple wrenches in the machine that is Miller’s personal life. “Unfortunately Derek lost his father in a very sudden motorcycle accident and then his mother recently after was diagnosed with cancer. This record [Bitter Rivals] felt a lot different than Reign of Terror, it felt like a triumph.”
Krauss and Miller are about to embark on a two-month, 30+ city tour that kicks off in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. “I’m really excited about playing the title track ‘Bitter Rivals,’ I can’t wait for people to be shouting along to it and then heading into the melodic hook in the chorus that makes you feel like you can do anything; that will translate really well live,” talks Krauss.
If you were to meet Krauss in-person while waiting tables, you’d have no idea that her sugary-sweet voice would also be able to scream lyrics at audience members like the best of them, but then again, neither did Miller. Somewhere there is a musical Cupid with a smile on his face and he’s totally wearing a Sleigh Bells T-shirt.
By Camille Vega