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Kittie - True road warriors - November 2002


KITTIE are the true definition of Road Warriors. They don't wait for things to happen. They go out and do it themselves. They tour relentlessly and don't let anything stand in their way. They have toured with the top dogs in the business and now they are headliners in their own right. KITTIE ended their second leg of the Run Like Hell tour and completed some successful dates with Ozzfest Europe.
These road warriors also completed a successful tour with SHADOWS FALL and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE over the summer. Now they are on another round of tour dates to promote the recently released "Safe" EP. Morgan Lander had just enough time off to talk about the success of "Oracle" and what lies ahead on the horizon for this young up and coming hungry band.

You girls are true road warriors. You have just completed successful shows with PANTERA, THE SNO-CORE, and finished the second leg of the Run Like Hell tour. You will start the third leg of the tout in the summer and do some Ozzfest dates in Europe. How do you do it? Don't you get burnt out and need some time off before starting up again?

Ahhhhhh man, I don't think I could deal with that. I think all of us have this love/hate relationship with the road. You know you're out there say for six weeks or eight weeks. By the end of the tour you're kind of like I really wanna go home. I just want to recharge my batteries.

How is the response to KITTIE in Europe as opposed to America?

I think the United States has always sort of been our home base in a way even though we are from Canada. We have never really been really all that accepted in our own country. We play fairly large shows, but we don't get the exposure and the rabid following that we have in the United States. Europe is definitely catching up. I think they have a good idea of where Metal is headed and there is a lot more acceptance over there. We've played some pretty big shows over there.

Since you have been on the road for over a year, have you begun writing new material or will you just wait until you finish the touring?

It's pretty tough to write on the road for us. We have some sort of distractions. I'm always thinking about stuff and it's like music that keeps me up at night like songs that go through my head. I always write in my head before I go home and write on my guitar, but it's very rare that I'm home for that extended time. We usually wait we have a break. You can keep it all pent up inside when you got your six months to write an album before you go and do the next album. Everybody works differently.

How well is "Oracle" doing for the band right now?

It's doing awesome! For an album that really has not experienced any real mainstream support from our label who in recent months or past year has really started to not help us at all which is kind of unfortunate. We've done everything on our own and it feels great for it to be as successful as it has been with just us going out and touring. Word of mouth and all that stuff. It's not as commercially acceptable as the first album, but I think that's the intention. This is who we are today and the direction that we are going in. It's been amazing. I'm so proud of it.

When you first went out on the road, did you feel intimidated by the other bands that you supported because they were males and they already had a strong following?

Of course. You always sort of feel like these people are more experienced, but you always have to just go out and try your best. Everybody's gone through that when you're a new band. You just work up into it and the more that you play the better that you're going to get and the more confident you will feel and one day you realize that you're doing your own headlining tour and then bands will be opening up for you. You go out with some hesitations and that sort of thing.
Our very first tour was opening for SKINLAB in the summer of 1999 and of course it was like we were with PISSING RAZORS and it's so Metal. We were intimidated by the Metal brutality factor. I don't have anything to worry about now.

When you did your first video off of the "Spit" album, it was just basically concert footage. On the video for "All I Wanted", it was more conceptual with set pieces. How was it making this video?

It was really cool. It's a lot different than just going out and playing a concert and doing it live and snipping up the footage and putting it together. You sort of have to fake it and play to the camera instead of an audience. There's a different kind of energy. You have to draw from what the song is about and all its intensity and sort of project that into whatever is going on in the video like camera wise. It's always different playing live. It's a different energy and singing to no one. It's kind of weird, but for all the strange situations that you get put in when you look at it, it looks pretty cool.

Do you feel that your music has grown stronger and better now than on "Spit"?

Oh, absolutely! I think that any band that is going to be out on the road touring will be improving and becoming more confident. They're going to find their own style and their voice. It just takes practice. ""Oracle"" is a far better produced album. We had a lot more time in the studio. We had a lot more time to write it with better players and we had better equipment. There's a lot of different factors that went into the improvement of the band and I'm sure when we do the next album, we'll look back on "Oracle" and we're going to be like there could be thins that could have been improved, but I think that's the beauty of being in a band and being a fan of the band. Everyone is going to evolve obviously and become better.

Your vocals are refreshing because you don't follow the trend of singing just pretty because you are a girl. You mix vocal harmonies with clean singing and growls. Was this something that you always wanted to do?

I think it's really natural for me. You just play what comes naturally to you. As unnatural as it sounds, to me it just feels right. There's a lot of dynamics in life and a lot of dynamics in the lyrics and a lot of different emotions that are being conveyed. There a time and place for singing and screaming and I think it adds an interesting dynamic. I think it's a dynamic that makes the band who we are. We can go from really pretty singing to screaming in like 2.5 seconds.

You put an interesting spin on the PINK FLOYD classic: "Run Like Hell". Your version is very interesting because it has more grit behind it. Was this hard to do?

PINK FLOYD is all over the place. You don't really want to mess with that. I think with "Run Like Hell" it was one of the most driving with drums and bass and rhythm section. It has a steady kind of beat. It just felt like it was something that we could turn into something that we would do. It was fairly easy.

The last song on the album is "Pink Lemonade" which is a ten minute Doom/Sludge fest which is much more different than the rest of the album. Were you just trying to be as diverse and dynamic as possible?

I personally think that every CD needs an epic drawn out kind of song. For me writing wise, it was a challenge to make a song that could hold attention and be interesting for that long. We never experienced or did anything like that before and I thought most of the songs are like under 3 minutes. They are real quick, fast garage/punky songs. I thought it would be really fun to do something that was completely contradictory to the whole idea of what the first album sounded like.

With the style of music that you play, was there any surprise when "Spit" went Gold?

Obviously, yeah. We were just a bunch of just young kids from London, Ontario. The timing was right. "Spit" was more of a Nu-Metal sounding album than "Oracle". I don't think there was too many female voices doing that in that genre.

Jennifer Arroyo is the new bass player. How did you find her?

We actually met her at Farmclub in L.A. Remember that show? I don't know what happened to it. We went down there to perform and there was a bunch of other bands there. They (Jennifer) were actually the unsigned act that we met. We just hit it off right away. She is an amazing bass player and I was just completely in awe of what she was doing. She's got a great stage presence and she's completely dedicated to playing the bass. We always kept in touch. If we were in the D.C. area or in Boston or any where, she would come to the shows. She actually came down to Ozzfest and hung out at radio stations with us.
When the time came that Talena wasn't content being in the band anymore, we were pondering what should we do. Should we quit? Should we call Jen? She was like I am willing to do anything and she dropped everything in her life in like a day . She packed up all her shit and flew up here.

I had heard that Talena left on her own.

Absolutely!

I also heard rumours that during the recording of "Oracle", Talena wasn't quite sure if this was her style because it was more abrasive and she is into the lighter side of music.

I think she actually expressed that in an interview which I think is unfortunate. I am just kind of sad that she was opposed to something, but didn't say anything. That's Talena. She's not the most vocal person in the world. I would rather keep my music integrity than be making money. Definitely!

Discography:

2000: Spit (CD, Ng)
2000: Paperdoll (MCD, Ng)
2001: Oracle (CD, Artemis)
2002: Spit In Your Eye (DVD, Artemis)
2002: Safe EP (MCD, Artemis)

Joe Florez



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