Interview: Chloe Chaidez of Kitten
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:21:01
Kitten sound like The Cure and Depeche Mode fronted by the 21st century's wildest femme fatale. That's what makes the group's self-titled debut so sexy, slick, and superior. It's a delightful and devilish amalgam of eighties bombast, shoegazing sensitivity, and danceable bliss. All in all, Kitten purr one of the best sounds you'll hear all year.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Kitten frontwoman Chloe Chaidez talks the album, photography, movies, and so much more.
Did you approach the album with an overarching vision or vibe in mind?
It's funny you ask that. The record was written and recorded over years. There are three journeys that it takes you on. They're three headspaces that I was in at the time. The beginning of the album starts a little more new wave, synth-oriented eighties. Then, it goes into the guitar-driven dance side. It ends with our more shoegaze ethereal thing. There definitely wasn't one theme sonically or lyrically going into it though.
Were those movements predicated on what you were into?
They were the three worlds that my head was in at the time. It's hard to say. I feel like a debut album is like your life's work into one piece. Some of the songs are five-years-old. Some of them are five-weeks-old. I'd say most of the songs were written over three years. Some may have been older.
Do the lyrics tie into the three movements, or is that based on each piece song-to-song?
It's definitely song-to-song. I think there are a couple of common spiritual themes. Each song is its own story or non-story [Laughs].
Do you view music visually?
Yeah, I respond to sonics more. A lot of my lyrics are just a response to what's going on sonically with the track. The lyrics are definitely important to me, but I respond more to the bed of music behind the lyrics. I appreciate that other people see it differently. A lot of the lyrics do mean a lot to me.
The lyrics and music entwine interestingly. There's a push-and-pull.
Definitely! I've always loved the contrast between dark lyrics and happier music underneath it. I've always liked that contribution.
What's the story behind "Apples and Cigarettes"?
I wrote that when I was like 14- or 15-years-old. Unlike most of the songs on the record, it's lyrically-driven. It's just a moment in my life I couldn't not express at the time. That one is a special song to me. I'll leave the lyrics up to what people want to think of them. It's probably one of the more honest tracks on the record.
Where did "Doubt" come from?
That one started as a strictly dance song. I was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode and old house. At first, the chorus sounded extremely pop. I really responded to what I did. I was like, "That's cool! I like that." It came together pretty quickly. It's like dark eighties.
Right now, which song from the album speaks to you the most?
Maybe "Why I Wait"...it was one of the last songs we finished for the album. I think it's one of the freshest, musically. It feels really great when you've been working on this song for weeks, and last minute it comes together to tie in your record. That track often ends up being your favorite. That was a struggle for a long time. My brother had made this track that I felt was so interesting and epic. It was electronic and epic at the same time. I find that combination to be fairly rare. It's cool because it's emotional but very fresh in its production.
What influences you outside of music?
I like photography. Helmut Newton and a lot of music videos from that time inspire me. Helmut was creating a lot of black-and-white chic imagery. That's really inspiring to me. Sure different movies inspire me. I recently saw Blue is the Warmest Color, and it was inspiring somehow in my subconscious. I like the stories behind Helmut's photographs. That imagery really strikes me and inspires visuals for my music and the actual creation.
If you were to compare the album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
It might be a love child between Gus Van Sant, John Hughes, and Larry Clark [Laughs].
Have you already begun writing more music?
Oh yeah! I'm sure everybody says this after their first record, but I have really exciting ideas for the next album. Honestly, they're hard to contain. I'm really excited about it.
Have you heard Kitten yet?