Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Redemption Songs: Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter’s Baker’s Dozen

As she releases new album Saved!, Reverend Kristin Hayter ministers to Jared Dix on the power of song, sharing inspirations for her new record and the versatility of the human voice through thirteen favourite records

Photo by Rev. Herschel B. Rutherford

Kristin Hayter is kind enough to speak with tQ on the eve of a tumultuous month. Profound changes in her life and art over the past couple of years are about to fully manifest themselves. Two London shows not long after our chat are to be the final performances of the intense and remarkable body of work she has released as Lingua Ignota. Both the music and the name are subsequently retired, and the following week she releases a new album SAVED! as Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter.

It’s a bold move but Hayter is nothing if not fearless. The music of Lingua Ignota fused industrial, classical, and experimental approaches into an extraordinarily fierce exploration of abuse and its aftershocks. Violent revenge fantasies raged through her ‘survivor anthems’, her voice frequently contorting into something deep and bestial. Inventive and multilayered, often overwhelming, it is music drenched in pain.

"I think with Lingua I was always pretty honest that I would continue to do the project as long it felt urgent to do so and it stopped feeling that way. It became a little bit too painful and I just wanted to explore different ideas. It’s interesting because it’s not like ‘the band broke up’ necessarily, it’s just me, but I just decided there were certain themes that I no longer wanted to work with because it was working against my personal growth as a human being"

While the transformation seems dramatic it follows a clear path from her previous work. In the video for ‘All Of My Friends Are Going To Hell’, the first track released from Saved! Hayter heads down to the river to be baptised, a symbolic death and rebirth. While the meditations on transgression and judgement of Sinner Get Ready were marked by an atmosphere of austere puritanism, Saved is more concerned with the hope of redemption.

"I wanted to explore, through the analogy of getting saved in the evangelical sense, I wanted to explore the uglier sides of healing and the complicated non linear process of changing your life, I suppose. It was a really nice and ripe analogy to do that with." As for whether taking the title of Reverend is swapping one persona for another, "I actually have been ordained. But it is also true that you can become ordained as a minister in about five minutes online"

Saved! mixes up new originals with old folk and gospel songs. Looking at the list of the Reverend’s selections it’s clear that much of it resonates as inspiration for her new record. A wide range of vocal approaches feature and noticeably quite a lot of group singing. As a solo vocalist, do the possibilities of singing with a larger group appeal?

"It definitely does interest me, historically I have done quite a bit of weird polyphonic stuff in my work, in recordings. Obviously it’s not something that I can necessarily do live at this point but one of my favourite qualities of music is listening to the interaction of multiple voices and the limitations of what the human voice can do. So I chose a lot of singing and harmony and polyphony for this list that is kind of outside the norms of what we think of as traditional western harmony because I think the voice is a carrier for so much and is capable of so much that prodding at the margins of that is really fascinating."

Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter’s new album Saved! is out now via Perpetual Flame Ministries. To begin reading her Baker’s Dozen, click the image of her below

First Record

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