Headed to town as the opening act for Paramore this Thursday at the Chicago Theatre, I spoke with Kitten frontwoman Chloe Chaidez about her energetic live show, Kitten's forthcoming album and more...
Rare in 2013 is the opening act capable of upstaging the headlining artist at a concert. Concerts now are safe, scripted, planned out virtually to the second and, frankly, it's just not a risk worth taking.
Following an April 2nd appearance at the Vic Theatre as the opening act for The Joy Formidable, of Kitten's performance I wrote the following:
"Songwriter and vocalist Chloe Chaidez was outstanding, giving The Joy Formidable's Ritzy Bryan a serious, if not surprising, run for her money as best frontwoman of the evening. Jumping from the drum riser, sitting on the edge of the stage flirting with the fans up front and scaling the stacks of amps to deliver her vocals from a perch probably twelve or fifteen feet above the floor, Chaidez was dynamic..."
Following recent opening slots for The Joy Formidable and Garbage, Kitten makes its way back to Chicago as the opening act for Paramore this Thursday at the Chicago Theatre.
I asked Chloe Chaidez how she prepares for such an energetic set night in and night out now as the band heads out of relative obscurity and onto bigger stages in bigger venues with major headlining artists. "I take more influence from how I’m feeling that day more than anything... I think a lot of my influence just comes from how angry I am that day or how sexy I feel or any of that kind of sh-t. So I think it just depends on what I did that day and that comes out. It’s just a different experience knowing you’re not going to be playing to twenty people every night and there’s going to be a crowd so it’s really a blessing."
Clearly, someone so animated has to have a favorite frontperson. "I really like Ian Curtis and Iggy Pop. I love watching old Joy Division videos of Ian Curtis and his weird dance moves and stuff like that. I like Madonna a lot too" says Chaidez.
At only seventeen years of age, Chaidez has a charisma and a sex appeal that are beyond her years. But despite her young age, music isn't something that's new to her. Accomplished on both bass and drums in addition to her duties as a vocalist for Kitten, she actually formed her first band at the tender age of ten performing covers of songs by artists like Sigur Rós.
And how exactly does something like Sigur Rós end up on the radar of a ten year old? "My Dad introduced me to bands like Sigur Rós when I was really young. We used to get a CMJ mixtape and we’d listen to it... And I used to hate it. I’d cover my ears and tell him to stop it when I was about seven. And then like two years later, I was nine and I got into it and now they’re one of my favorite bands... I think I grew up on Sigur Rós and Band of Horses and that kind of stuff my Dad has been listening to."
Her Dad, Mike Chaidez, played drums in the L.A. punk band Thee Undertakers and clearly the apple didn't fall far from the tree. In addition to the ethereal sounds of something like a Sigur Rós, Chloe's influences are firmly rooted in the new wave sounds of the eighties and more. "Tears for Fears, Human League, Pet Shop Boys, Howard Jones even. I don’t think my friends would necessarily like it because it’s so kind of niche, it’s so one dimensional, but I’m really into it. So I think the eighties and R&B lately. I’m really into Miguel and Future and all that kind of stuff" she says.
Released in August of 2012 by Atlantic Records, the Cut It Out EP showcases all of those influences under honest vocals with a touch of electronic instrumentation for good measure. While the live show incorporates elements of everything from shoegazer to goth pop, the EP sticks closer to those eighties influences with the song "Christina" actually quoting a bit of New Order.
"...Whether or not it sounds like it, there was actually a lot of experimentation that went into those recordings. Before that, we hadn’t really nailed down our sound exactly. I knew I liked eighties music and also sort of raw band recordings but the combination hadn’t really found itself yet. So I think the Cut It Out EP is where I first started working on Ableton and things like that and I think it was the first combination of what I was doing via the computer and the combination of the band and that was a really exciting new experience" says Chaidez of making the EP.
Ultimately, Cut It Out, in addition to Kitten's continually developing live show, acts as an interesting precursor to the debut full-length album the band hopes to have out this summer. "The new record is obviously, it’s electronic, it’s kind of growing that aspect of the music. And then it’s very groovy and rhythmic. I think it’s very sexy in a lot of ways" says the frontwoman of Kitten's latest creations.
And while the term "indie" is one often attached to the band, make no mistake about Chaidez's lofty goals for Kitten moving forward. "The word 'indie' doesn’t really mean anything nowadays. I think people sometimes mistake what we’re doing as indie but we’re not trying to do that at all. I think sometimes our esthetic is lumped into those kind of bands but we’re not an indie band. And we never thought we were or wanted to be for that matter. We have really high goals and we want to make high quality records."
*** This interview was conducted by Jim Ryan
(All details on Thursday's Kitten show after the jump)
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(Opening for Paramore)
Live at the Chicago Theatre
175 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Tickets: $53-64 each
Click HERE to purchase tickets