Khillah Kills: 80s Reign Supreme In Dream Rock Duo’s Synth-Driven Fantasy

Sebastian Buzzalino

There’s a new band in Calgary marching to the beat of their own drum machine. Splintering off from lush dream pop luminaries, Lashes, Khyla Floen and Katie Hillson shed their analog instruments for a stack of synths and a darker New Wave sound, complete with full 80s regalia. Khillah Khills prowl Calgary like a glammed up, street-walkin’ cheetah, bringing a delirious dance club groove to a scene traditionally invested in indie and psych garage jams.

“I was writing songs that didn’t fit with so much with Lashes,” says Floen. “A lot more dancey. I usually play bass [in Lashes] and I write on my synth or piano. It felt right for Khillah Khills.”

“I really love writing on synths,” agrees Hillson. “But within the dream rock genre, I wanted to go further with the synth, with the dream and electronic elements.”

Khillah Khills dive deep into the 80s vibe, bringing a nostalgia for a relatively recent past to the forefront of their music. Introduced in part to their inspirations via their parents’ music, the duo connected over their love for the maximalist aesthetics and synth-driven dreamscapes.

“I really like that there’s lots of synchronized dance moves, lots of outfits, and lots of thought put into the whole aesthetics,” says Floen.

“The 80s are over the top and we want to be over the top,” laughs Hillson. “We definitely came together over wanting to do something different. Calgary has an incredible music scene, but we’d love to see the scene expand into more genres, become more of an inclusive, queer space, more of a creative space.”

Khillah Khills’ debut single, “Toxigenic,” was released in August in anticipation of a full-length out in November. Recorded in collaboration with Calgary’s resident fitness-core disco daddy, Mark Mills, it’s a dark, dystopian tune that joins the ranks of peers Melted Mirror in raising the pulse of glammed up dance floors across the city.

Khillah Khills perform with Louise Burns at Broken City on November 3.