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When Derek Miller moved to Brooklyn in 2008, he'd already written most of the songs that would become Treats, the first album by his band Sleigh Bells. But the guitarist and producer says he needed one thing to bring the songs to life.
"Female vocalists have always appealed to me, ever since I was a little kid," Miller says. "My mom was super into Madonna and Belinda Carlisle and Janet Jackson, so I was always surrounded by female voices."
Miller found his muse that spring in singer Alexis Krauss, who put aside a career in education to start the band. Krauss says that working with Miller's production style — characterized by blaring guitars and machine-gun beats — meant learning how to shout.
"I have a past in session work, working with other people — that was something I knew how to do," Krauss says. "I was used to pushing myself and going to a place that I was a bit uncomfortable in, but making it work. ... Now I love shouting. I actually kind of prefer it to singing sometimes."
NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Miller and Krauss about their creative partnership and the second Sleigh Bells album, Reign of Terror, which comes out this week.