By Stephanie Spear (Addicted2Shows.com)
Kitten’s Chloe Chaidez is incredible. She’s only 16 and making amazing pop-infused indie rock worthy of someone twice her age. I was introduced to Kitten through her Sunday School EP, released in October last year, and her session with The Wild Honey Pie. Now she’s about to tour around the U.S. with Brother and then Electric Six. First, she’ll be playing at The Echo tonight sponsored by Futuresounds.com with The Postelles. And before any of that, I got to ask Chloe a few questions about life as a young professional musician.
S: You’re only 16 and already your music is being compared to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, Cat Power and The Killers. How long have you been making music?
Chloe: Well I’ve been in bands since I was 10, so I guess you could say I started young. My first instrument was bass, and soon after I learned guitar and started to write. It was “live, breath eat music” from there on out.
S: Who are some of the bands and musicians that have inspired you? Which do you credit as influences on Kitten’s sound?
Chloe: Fortunately the other guys in the band come from very different musical backgrounds, so as a whole we have a lot of people/bands influencing our music. Personally speaking, bands like New Order, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Iggy Pop have influenced me greatly over Kitten’s short life span.
S: How did you get into such a solid collection of music at a young age? Do you have musical parents or an older sibling you who introduced you or did you find it on your own?
Chloe: Both actually. My dad is a musician who introduced to me all the classics at an early age, which I loved. When I got a bit older and my brother started to become more of a friend than an enemy, he began showing me bands like Justice (in their heyday), Crystal Castles, and Toro Y Moi . But to be fair, both opened my eyes to great music I might have never heard otherwise.
S: Has your taste in music changed over the years? Do you have any â€œguilty pleasureâ€ albums? Any Ke$ha in your collection?
Chloe: I think the closest artist to a “guilty pleasure” in my iTunes library would be La Roux. But to be honest there’s really no guilt tied to that pleasure , she has great songs!
S: A lot of the tracks on the Sunday School EP are pretty dark, whether through the lyrics or the music itself (“I’m gonna love you till I’m dead / a place to lay my head”). What do you draw inspiration from? Are your songs autobiographical?
Listen to “Kill the Light” by Kitten
Chloe: I think there are always going to be bits of yourself in your writing. You can’t really help that. But I wouldn’t necessarily call my songs autobiographical, they’re more like a lot of little ideas and images being put to music that usually seem to tie together in the end.
S: Are you writing new songs? When can we expect a new release from Kitten? Maybe a full-length?
Chloe: Yes! We’re actually in the middle of recording a full length right now that will be released sometime in the fall.
S: Being such a young starlet, and given how outrageous previous young female artist have been, is maintaining a strong female image important to you? Are there any strong women you’ve looked up to as a role model?
Chloe: Strong men and women are the same to me. If I find someone that I feel is worth looking up too, they’re gender really doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be known as one of the greatest “female” musicians of all time , I want to be known as one the greatest musician’s of all time.
S: This year has been pretty spectacular for Kitten–great performances at CMJ and SXSW with praise from everyone from MTV to Spin. Did you ever expect all of this when you first demoed your songs for Bill Racine? Did you think â€œthese songs are goldâ€?
Chloe: I wasn’t expecting much to be honest, it was just an EP and i’m glad its done well for us. I’m really excited for everyone to hear our full length and see how much we’ve grown.
S: What has been the highlight of it all? Any point where you thought, “wow, I’ve made it” or is that yet to come?
Chloe: Definitely yet to come. That said, I’ve hit some goals that I wouldn’t think I’d meet until much later in life.
S: Your video for “Chinatown” is really cool with its special effects. Tell me a bit about the video and the idea for it. Does it relate to the inspiration for the song?
Chloe: Basically we were sent a couple different treatments, and the concept that ended up being the video was the one that really clicked with all of us. Bryan (the director) could tell you more about the effects. As far as the band were concerned, we wanted something different visually and not what you would expect for the song.
S: Youâ€™re about to head on tour with Brother and then Electric Six. Do you enjoy being out on the road? What are some of the best/worst parts? What do you plan to do about school?
Chloe: I enjoy being on the road more than anything else in the entire world. I would spend all year touring if i could. The best part is simply devouring that energy from a crowd every single night and having such a luxury be your only responsibility. The worst part is having to wear the same pair of underwear two days in a row, sometimes..
As far school goes, I homeschool online and it seems to be working well.
Catch Kitten tonight at the Echo (1822 w. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026).
(photo credit: Andrew Zaeh)