Photo Credit: Bobby Vu (@kingvuddha)
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // November 3, 2020
Halloween may be over, but ARI’s keeping the spooky season alive with some vastly dark tunes. The independent alternative pop talent has unleashed her haunting new EP, Kiss Me, Kill Me, and we’re absolutely living for it. As ARI dives into her experiences with lust and heartbreak, Kiss Me, Kill Me perfectly showcases the Toronto native’s undeniable versatility.
On Kiss Me, Kill Me, ARI reflected,
“I’ve been so excited for this EP ever since the idea was conceived. I’m a huge Halloween fanatic, so finally releasing this is a perfectly splendid nightmare. I love all things creepy and sinister, and I wanted to experiment with music that allowed me to escape into a dark fantasy world. This EP is for the little Halloween-obsessed ARI who dreamed of having her very own spooky songs out in the world. I think she would be proud.”
To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with ARI about Halloween classics, drive-in concerts, and of course, Kiss Me, Kill Me.
HH: When we listen to your mature lyricism, it’s hard to believe you’re only 21. How long have you been writing your own music?
A: First of all, thank you! I guess I’ve always been told I seem to have an old soul. I take it as a huge compliment. Don’t get me wrong though, I can definitely have some childish moments. I started writing music not too long ago in the grand scheme of things – about two and a half years ago. I started writing with a lot of co-writes and tried to learn from them. I would say I really got comfortable with the process and came into my own as a writer this past year.
HH: How does it feel to have Kiss Me, Kill Me out in the world?!
A: Honestly, amazing. Kiss Me, Kill Me is a project I’ve been excited about since we decided to do it. The song itself kind of snuck up on me and became one of my underdog favorites. I also still can’t believe I got the rights to cover a classic like “I Put a Spell on You.” My first recollection of that song is from Hocus Pocus – I didn’t stop singing it for weeks when I first became obsessed. I’m proud to have been able to put my own spin on it for the EP.
HH: Overall, what inspired you to create a Halloween-themed EP?
A: I’m a huge Halloween fanatic and I’ve always loved everything about the holiday. I first wrote “Murderer” back in April and when we were deciding on the title, I jokingly suggested that we should release it for Halloween. My manager loved the idea so we decided to run with it and go all out with a full EP. The production and lyrics are a lot darker than my previous releases, so I’m excited to see how my fans will react.
HH: You do a bit of acting in the teaser video for “Murderer.” What’s your favorite memory from filming?
A: Just having fun with my team. I’ve been so fortunate to have found the most amazing little team in Toronto. Not only are they extremely talented and help me bring my visions to life, but they are just all around wonderful people that I love creating with. “Murderer” was a very emotional song for me and they made me feel so comfortable on set to do what I needed to do.
HH: For anyone who hasn’t dabbled much in Halloween films, which ones would you recommend?
A: Well, you’ve got your Disney favorites such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Halloweentown, etc. Then you have the classics like Ghostbusters and The Craft. There’s just too many to choose from!
HH: What was it like performing at Together Toronto’s drive-in concert this summer?
A: Quite scary. Your first real performance is always scary. I was nervous as hell, but also really grateful that I got the opportunity to play a show during these crazy times. I’m a perfectionist, so all I want to do is practice, practice, practice to get better each time I perform. I can’t wait until the world opens up again and I can tour the music I’ve released this year.
HH: If you could have anyone in the music industry as a mentor, who would it be?
A: I’d most definitely pick Halsey. Her talent and artistry as a whole are beautiful and inspiring to what I’d like to accomplish in my career. Everything from her lyrics, to her production visuals, and her music video storytelling are all so perfectly thought out. She’s the whole package. If I could have anyone to teach me vocal control, I would die to have Christina Aguilera by my side.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
A: FLETCHER – “Bitter”
DeathbyRomy – “Fiending For A Lover”
WHIPPED CREAM – “I Won’t Let You Fall” feat. Finn Askew