Interview: Kitten- Rocked Out @ Vinyl with Charli XCX

Kitten-cover-e1346288695882Kitten, a Los Angeles based band with a nod to 80’s new wave, has been touring with Charli XCX for her 2013 North American tour. The group played a visually entertaining show last night at Vinyl, and Alex May caught up with lead vocalist Chloe Chaidez before the show.


First off, congratulations on the release of your new EP Like a Stranger. It sounds like a very natural progression from your Cut it Out EP. Can you tell us a little bit about the writing and recording process of your new release?

It was a very direct product of what I had been listening to lately and what I’d been into at that time – I still am. Eurythmics, Tears for Fears, all that sort of new wave, post-punk stuff I really love. I feel like it was just a really honest and direct expression of that.


What usually influences the lyrics that you write for the songs?

For me, I feel like the lyrics are an addition to what’s already there, like it’s just a piece of the puzzle, as opposed to the final missing piece. With a song like Cut It Out for instance, I like those lyrics, but they’re more of a vehicle for the song for me. Other times, certain songs, lyrics are everything. As far as writing them, after making the music, I just listen, and whatever comes out, comes out.


You’ve opened for several artists all over the nation. What are some of the lessons that you’ve picked up along the way by being around other bands?

I’ve definitely learned a lot. I think just watching Gwen Stefani was really insane. I had never seen anything like it. She was just so dynamic – her presence on stage was unbelievable. Hayley (Williams, or Paramore) of course was also insane. Just to see her do that every night.. it’s a dream, but it’s also crazy to perform in front of thousands of people every night. Garbage, it was the same thing seeing Shirley (Manson). I’ve learned a lot.


I saw you open for Paramore back in May, and the thing that really stuck out for me was the stage presence of the band. Even from the back of the venue, people can see that you’re having fun and really enjoy performing. Is your freedom of movement around the stage something you picked up from touring with No Doubt and Paramore, or was that something that developed naturally?

I think a little bit of both. After I did my first show, I feel like something cracked and I was just really comfortable up there. It’s always something that’s come pretty naturally for me, but at the same time I’ve definitely picked up tips. I’ll always love Iggy Pop, but I saw him live a month ago and that was just insane, and I feel like I picked up a lot of things from him.


With that in mind, do you prefer playing larger or smaller venues?

I feel like either way just depends on the crowd. If you’re in a big room and the crowd is shitty and bored, then it doesn’t matter. If you’re in a packed small room, and the crowd is boring and quiet, and unenergetic, then it sucks, too. It just depends on the crowd mostly.


You’ve toured around quite a bit recently and built up a lot of new fans. What are some other ways that you find important in developing new fans?

Playing solid shows is the most important, and then just engaging your fans and talking to them and just keeping that connection really close. I feel like it’s really important to respond to your fans and like what they do, and all that stuff I’m big on. I’ll normally respond to Facebook messages- I try to respond to everything. Obviously it gets kind of hard sometimes but I try to have some interaction with everyone.


Although there’s been a rise in electronically driven songs and synthesizers over the past couple of years, you still manage to sound unique. What are some of the things that characterize your approach to the overall sound of the band?

I think if you go into any creative endeavor, trying to not sound like something or trying to sound like something it never really works out, so I think there’s always certain filters you should put your music through, but those filters should just be based on your own personal taste. “I hope it doesn’t sound like this EDM band” or whatever. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I think about anything before I do it, as far as synthesized music.


Who are some current artists that you listen to or take inspiration from?

I love Bryan Ferry and everything he’s done, and all of Roxy Music. I really like ASAP Ferg’s record is really good. Janet Jackson I’ve been really into lately, and I love Charli XCX’s record.


Lastly, do you have any big plans or goals for 2014?

Just getting out our full length record and touring.


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