Kiss Bang’s Debut EP ‘Horrors of Your Hometown’ Transcends the Boundaries of Pop Music

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In an industry where artists are often pressured to fit within the confines of their genre, LA-based duo Kiss Bang is here to break down the barriers and smudge the cleanliness of what has become of modern pop music. Creating songs that are timeless yet a relevant cure for today’s music scene, Kiss Bang, consisting of Kaya Stewart (vocals) and Max Mercier (guitars) holds an artistic expression that breathes in everything marvelous about pop music and conveys it as something new, rebellious and mysterious.

Kiss Bang currently celebrates the end of their first ever showcase at SXSW with the March 15 release of their debut EP Horrors of Your Hometown. The title track, dropped on March 1, marked an electric and exciting introduction for the band. Released alongside a music video decorated in neon and carefree debauchery, Kiss Bang already seems to have created their own universe within the realm of their artistry.

The band originally began when Stewart and Mercier ran into one another by chance at a bar in 2023. Right away the two say the connection was instant, and it wasn’t long before they realized they had to create music together. Both sharing the same views on music production and the industry itself, the two say they didn’t even have to discuss a potential sound for Kiss Bang before getting down to writing music. While Stewart and Mercier both had their own solo projects going before Kiss Bang, they admit that Kiss Bang was the perfect outlet that they both needed to create the music they were striving for.

“The whole reason that this project is even a thing is because I originally was producing a record for Kaya for her solo project,” Mercier says. “Both of us had contributed so equally to it that we decided to turn it into our project and create [Kiss Bang].”

The band’s debut single, “Horrors of Your Hometown,” was written by Mercier long before meeting Stewart. Inspired by a friend of his who dreamed of living in LA but longed for her hometown once she moved there, the song paints a picture of both the ghosts of one’s past and romanticized excess. Once believing the song to be too pop for his solo work, he put the track on hold until he could find somebody to complete it.

I had the choruses and the melodies worked out for the verses, but then Kaya filled in the lyrics with just the craziest, most wonderful, trailer-trash lyrics I have ever heard in my life that just paint a picture of a beautiful disaster of a person, and the song took on a whole new meaning,” Mercier says.

The song’s music video, taking place in a neon-lit bathroom (surprisingly hard to come by for a decent price according to the band), is further electrified by the track’s opening fuzzy guitars, synthesizers and Stewart’s untouchable vocals. As the production conveys themes of heartbreak and lust over an energetic tune, the entire work resembles a deleted scene from Less Than Zero (1987).

“Every single piece of that video…was me and Max,” Stewart says, “I think we did with this project too we built something from literally nothing and then watched it come to life, which was really cool.”

“Horrors of Your Hometown” served as the single from Kiss Bang’s inaugural musical effort. Through this project, Kiss Bang hopes to show listeners that they don’t plan on conforming to any music industry standards, according to Stewart.

“These four songs showcase many different sides of us as as people, and there are so many different themes in the EP,” Mercier says. “There are songs that have very different vibes to them all throughout. It’s a range of emotions and it’s up and down, but that’s kind of similar to me and Kaya as people.”

Combining influences of 1980s synth pop, iconic female vocalists, and classic rock songwriting, Kiss Bang’s Horrors of Your Hometown portrays everything powerful from music. If Blondie produced a Def Leppard record, the result would be Kiss Bang’s debut release. Experimenting with a range of influences, Kiss Bang aims to break down the barriers that pop music has built for artists.

I think everything is so clean and boring in pop music,” Mercier says. “Music is emotion turned into art. Whether it’s happiness, sadness, anger, I think it’s safe to say that emotions aren’t felt clean…I just feel like the most popular music around should be more relatable and sound more human.”

“I think we’re just trying to find our place in this industry, but I think the coolest way to do that is not try and fit into anything at all,” Stewart adds. “I think that’s something that me and Max have talked about forever. I feel like so many bands are trying to find a group or a mold they can fit in where it will work, which is something that we made a point from jump not to do.”

As a project that is so fairly new, Kiss Bang wants the world to know that they’re here to stay – and they’re going to make a lot of noise in the process.

“I want people to know that we are going to make rock music exciting again,” Mercier says, “and we’re going to reignite the loudness war.”

“For me and Max, I think we created a world that we feel like we’re totally accepted in and is totally us,” Stewart says. “I think it’s so different from anything else…we don’t really fit in any box, and I feel like both of us grew up feeling that way. I think this project is kind of a place for people who also feel that way.”

Stream Horrors of Your Hometown, the debut EP from Kiss Bang, on Spotify or Apple Music.

Upcoming Kiss Bang Shows:
March 19 Nashville, TN – The Basement – New Faces Night
April 18 Venice, CA – Winston House
April 28 Los Angeles, CA – Gold Diggers
May 16 Brooklyn, NY – Sultan Room

Stay up to date with Kiss Bang: Instagram // Spotify // YouTube // Apple Music

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