Interview | Kitten: “To prove you’re equal to a man in whatever craft you’re pursuing, just do it as well or better than a man would and shut up about it.”

Photo by Kaitlin Christy

Tonight at Pop’s in Sauget, IL, the electric Chloe Chaidez and her Los Angeles-based band, Kitten, will get things fired up for what should be a killer bill with Guards and the Joy Formidable. Doors are at 7PM.

Here’s a taste of what to expect from Kitten.

We recently caught up with Chaidez and Kitten over email before the show.

I watched a little bit of one of your SXSW performances, and I was stuck by your presence. Explain your energy on stage. Do you ever take a breath? Is it hard to sing when you’re moving that much?

It’s hard to explain, but I’m really not thinking about anything while I’m on stage. Which is why often times I forget to thank the headlining band for having us, or mention that we have CD’S in the back. The most extreme parts of myself come out on stage and I’m not sure why. So if I’m feeling particularly aggressive or angry that day, I’ll probably end up punching one of my band mates. If I ate a spinach salad, ran a mile and feel like Beyonce, I’ll probably bite my lip and shake my hips a little more than usual.

I read where you started writing songs when you were 13 or 14. Talk to me about starting out.

Whatever songs I wrote at 13 and 14 were probably a joke. I remember writing something about the holocaust and thinking I was very deep. Over the past couple of years, rhythm and groove has really influenced my writing more than anything. About a year ago I started really diving into making beats and vibes on Ableton, and I think that really changed the game for me. I like to play with phrasing, and often times whatever words come out of me while singing along to the rhythm and mood of the track I’m working on will stick, for better or for worse. I assume they mean something to me if they’re coming out of my mouth, but sometimes I don’t know what and I’ll just figure it out later, or never.

What goes through your head when you read a list like “the 10 best female rockers”? Does it really matter who is rocking — a man or a woman? 

No, not at all. To prove you’re equal to a man in whatever craft you’re pursuing, just do it as well or better than a man would and shut up about it.

Branching off that question, you’re only 18, and the Cut It Out EP sounds mature to my ears. In your experience, how does age matter when it comes to music — writing, recording, and performing?

Of course a 15 year old couldn’t make the  record that a 25 year old could, simply because of life experience and  lack of musical maturity, duh. That said,  I think there’s a certain level of beautiful ignorance that comes with young people making records. When a person’s been around the block, they’re jaded, and more importantly bitter about creative failures in the past. People recording music for the first time just try shit and see what happens. I think after recording music for a long time, a bit of that is lost because of how many times you’ve pursued a certain sound or vibe and had it fail. Young people have no past defeats to overcome.

Tell me about the Cut It Out EP, how you recorded it. Also, what is next for Kitten?

The Cut it Out EP was very important in the sense that it marked the beginning of a sound that I can finally say is ours. I’m not saying we made Dark Side of the Moon, but before that I was so young, I was still finding my musical identity/voice. A lot of the Cut It Out EP came from Ableton demos that were purely electronic, and from there the band was included to make what became songs like “Cut It Out and “Junk” etc. They’re pop songs, but there was also a lot of experimentation that went into the process. I learned a lot. After this Joy Formidable tour, we’re playing a show with Garbage and then going on tour with Paramore. We’re playing some festivals in the summer and most likely touring more in July. Oh and our album… that’s coming out soon.

Finally, you’re going to be opening for The Joy Formidable at Pop’s, which is near downtown St. Louis. Have you ever played St. Louis, and if so, what do you remember?

We really enjoy St. Louis. We’ve played the Firebird a couple of times, and that’s always a pleasure. The crowds are enthusiastic and excited, and there’s always really delicious BBQ.

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