Q&A: Getting to Know Kitten


Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Christy

The lead singer of Kitten, L.A.’s critically acclaimed post-punk band, only recently turned old enough to vote, and has already learned how gymnastics can lead to chipping your front teeth on stage.

Chloe Chaidez attributes her taste in music to her father, a drummer in the early L.A. punk scene, who played Sigur Rós and David Bowie for her en route to childhood gymnastics lessons.

At 10, Chaidez sang in her first (mostly cover) band, Wild Youth and opened up for acts like Conor Oberst and Midlake. When she turned 15, Kitten signed with Atlantic Records and released their first EP, titled Sunday School.

With its dark, stylized aesthetic, commanding stage presence and electronic pop sound, Kitten, has been praised by everyone from the Los Angeles Times to SPIN Magazine. The band has toured with Paramore, The Joy Formidable, and played shows with No Doubt, Andrew W.K., as well as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Next month, Kitten will release their debut album Like a Stranger for Elektra Records. Club Mercy brings the band o SOhO Restaurant & Music Club this Wednesday, July 17.

Chaidez recently spoke with the Independent about dental injuries, finding inspiration in fashion, and avoiding clichés in the music biz.

Where does the name Kitten originate? I think [the name] “Kitten” is something very iconic. … It looks good on a t-shirt. It looks good in writing. The art we’re doing now, I’m really excited about its release and I think it complements [the name] very well.

You’ve developed a pretty strong reputation and have started touring with some pretty notable bands. Is it intimidating to tour with big names? It’s awesome. … Those audiences really like us as well as Joy Formidable or Charli XCX. But as far as playing with them, and just looking at it from a purely educational standpoint, it’s great.

If you could only bring five records with you into a bomb shelter, what would they be? Well, this is my answer on July 11, 2013, so it’s going to be very different in a couple of years. Geez, I guess Prnce’s Purple Rain, The Beatles’ The White Album. This is supposed to last me a long time, so the Sigur Rós untitled record. And then I’d say I’d have to put on something I don’t understand right now that would take a whole lifetime on a desert island to understand, so maybe a Phillip Glass record. And then The Soft Bulletin by the Flaming Lips.

Is there anything besides music that influences your work? A lot of chic photography; high fashion photography sort of composes my music a lot of times. For me the visual accompaniment is essential. When I’m listening to my music, images are popping into my head and a lot of times that’s high fashion; chic Pet Shop Boys-meets-Madonna kind of imagery. The two work off each other a lot of times.

Has anything ever gone wrong while you’re on stage? Oh, yeah. Definitely. A lot of bad things happen all the time, but it’s part of the gig. … [During a show] about two years ago, on the last song I was swinging around like I was a gymnast and I chipped my tooth. I did that whole tour with two chipped front teeth. Then I got it fixed and I chipped them again.

I read in an interview that you want to be neither (a) a delusional rock star who makes lousy albums late into their career because no one tells them how bad they are, nor (b) a rock star whose creative process has slowed down by drugs and alcohol. With that in mind, what would you say is the biggest mistake that a band could make in the trajectory of their career? I would say not fitting into any of the clichés that exist. Don’t let your ego ruin your band. Continue to work off the way you’ve functioned in the past that made you get to where you are.

This story was originally published for the Santa Barbara Independent on July 16, 2013 at: http://www.independent.com/news/2013/jul/16/getting-know-kitten/

For more stories I’ve written for the Santa Barbara Independent, go to: http://www.independent.com/staff/emerson-malone/stories/


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