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After watching their live show a few weeks ago at the Bootleg, I expected Kitten‘s lead singer Chloe Chaidez‘s attitude to be brash and in-your-face with more than a little sass to boot. After all, that’s so much of what made her mesmerizing live performance great. Instead, I was surprised to find a somewhat soft-spoken teen with a wide breadth of music knowledge, honest answers and a genuine passion for the music she’s making–not the smooth talking, faux-jaded seventeen-year-old I was expecting. It was refreshing as hell. Read on to find out what inspires this remarkable musician, her hopes for the future and the craziest thing she’s ever done on tour.
So where exactly are you right now?
I’m backstage at a venue called The Masquerade in Atlanta. We’re about to do our soundcheck.
Ahh that’s why it sounds so busy! How’s tour been going so far?
Good! I love touring. I would tour all the time if I could.
Any crazy stories?
Not really…well, not unless you count what happened in North Carolina .
Well, it was when we were on tour with Young the Giant–which was so awesome and unforgettable–and I just felt a rush of energy during our set. So I climbed onto these twelve-foot speakers and just full on jumped off of them onto the stage.
Awesome! And ouch…did it hurt?
Yeah…I was walking around for days afterwards just icing my back. It was really embarrassing. But totally fun and worth it.
Your live shows are always so entertaining–at the one I saw, you ran onto the stage and did a full on hand stand for the last song. Do you draw influence from any other performers when it comes to your stage presence?
Well, Iggy Pop–I just love his style, and [Crystal Castles’ frontwoman] Alice Glass. I don’t know, I try not to necessarily copy anyone when I’m on stage. I try to just do my own thing. I usually always do a little routine to get me pumped before a show though, like bouncing up and down or running in place.
Nice. So let’s talk a little about the new EP, Cut It Out. It’s got a pretty different sound from your first EP Sunday School…a little more electronic, would you agree?
Definitely. It was definitely influenced by my own exploration into that territory–I started getting a lot more into electronic music and beats. Not just modern stuff, like even ’80’s music and bands in general directly affected the sound of Cut It Out. But I definitely think the rock element and overall feeling of a band jamming and guitars shredding is still there, so fans of the first EP don’t have to worry.
Any favorite songs on the new EP?
I love all of them, but this song called “Junk” I think is really interesting musically. It’s got this great instrumental break towards the end that I love hearing live.
What’s your writing process like? Do any songs come from personal experience?
It really depends. I’m inspired by so many things when I write songs. A lot of times I’ll hear a song from a band I really like–like something by anyone from Joy Division to the Eurythmics to Tears for Fears–and it’ll inspire me and make me go “Oh I wanna write a song like that!” It could be anything from the style to the lyrics to whatever is going on in that song, and I’ll use my own personal experiences to try to capture a little bit of the same feel.
Was your song “Christina” written in this way?
Kind of. It was originally supposed to be about Christina Ricci but that felt a little too specific, so I changed it to just a nostalgic piece about two young lovers.
You talked about some bands you liked that influenced your music earlier – what other bands are you listening to right now?
Oh gosh…so many. Like I said before, I’m really into ’80’s music right now, but also loving Japandroids and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. They’re amazing!
I agree! So overall, you’re a very young band–you’re only 17 and the oldest member in the band is just 24–do you see this as an advantage or disadvantage in the music industry?
I think it’s both. It’s an advantage because bands and musicians always grow so rapidly in the industry anyway, and I think being young brings a fresh perspective to the music that’s going on right now. I don’t like the fact that sometimes I’m patronized over my age. Like, if someone is like “Aw, good job Chloe” or something like that. But other than that, I don’t see it too much as a disadvantage.
So what’s the next step for Kitten? What are your big dreams for the future?
Well, our EP is dropping in August and the full album will be out in January, so keep your eyes out for that! Other than that, I don’t think there’s much that’s in our hands necessarily… we kind of just have to keep making the music we want to make and keep playing, of course. I mean, of course I want to eventually be playing the Staples Center and sold-out stadiums, but those things aren’t up to me. I wanna go far, I know that. All we can do is just do the same thing we are doing and hope people love listening to it as much as we do making it.
Check out Kitten’s new track “Cut It Out” below: