Morgan Lander - Kittie

April 29, 2006


Photo Credit: Angela Monger

It's been a while since you girls have been out and about. What the hell's going on? Where did everybody go?

We've had quite the crazy time. It's quite a long story. When we got off the road at the end of 2004, we came home with a really defeated kind of feeling. Obviously the past few years have been semi well documented that we had a lot of troubles with our record label and we came off the road and it was like "well, what do we do now? We've gone and spent all of our money on touring because the label doesn't help us out. What should we do? Should we do a new album?" Six months after we released the last one. We had spoken with the label and they said we couldn't go and do another album. They thought we were going to tour for a year. We were like "well, we can't afford to do that. You guys don't help out."

They should pay for that.

The label should give a band tour support so they can continue on to tour and all that sort of thing but we've never had that. It was a desperate time and because of that, there really didn't at that time look like there was much of an option or much of a future for the band and that's part of the reason why Jennifer and Lisa left the band. After that Mercedes and I had a lot of thinking to do and a lot of soul searching and all that stuff to decide whether or not this is really what we wanted to do. Finally towards the end of 2005 we decided that it was something that we really wanted to do and we'd been writing the whole time and that's pretty much it. We decided that it was truly what we wanted to do and so we found Tara and our new bass player Trish and we're all hooked up now. It's good and things have been rolling from there.

The last time I talked to you girls, you had emerged from the lawsuit thing and everything was spiffy. Don't let people get you down. Don't allow that.

Never, never. You can't let stuff like that get you down. I know this is what I'm meant to be doing and we're strong no matter what obstacles get in our way. That's life, right? Life always throws you roadblocks no matter what you're doing and no matter who you are. You have to get over it and learn to deal with it.

Absolutely. Tell me about the new girls and where they came from.

Let the new people talk about what's going on.

Tara: I'm also from London. Actually all of us are from London which is strange. The only time that was, was way back in the beginning. I was playing in a London based band for three years and I met their management company through that band and we had a few chats. Then they had me come over and chat with the girls and that was actually the first time I actually met them. I had met them before at a show but it wasn't really anything.

It was in passing.

Tara: Then they invited me over to jam and they kept inviting me back.

It wasn't really a tryout thing. It wasn't this big grand affair. It was just like "hey, you're cool and you're a great guitar player. Come over." We really didn't have to try anybody else out. We knew she was it.

It was something fun.

Yeah.

Tara: It was awesome. Practice is great. That's not how it usually goes.

No, we have so much fun. It's ridiculous.

Tara: Practice is really enjoyable. The tour is my first tour and it's just been going amazing.

So everything has been going cool.

Oh, yeah. No, we're happy dude. This is the happiest I've personally been in a long time. It's just nice because in the past we've had people from other parts of the country or even in the United States in the band and it's a pain in the ass to fly people in to practice. You really don't get a chance to know people all that well. You have a working relationship where you're thrown on a bus together for a tour and then everybody goes back to their respective cities afterwards. You can't really build a strong, true relationship with that. With everybody coming from London...

Tara: We actually all hang out. Honestly, these girls are some of my best friends.

We're able to actually hang out and go to bars and drink. Have fun. Actually get to know each other and know that they're just down the road. We practice every day too. We're an even better band which is so good.

You guys did a digital EP called Never Again. Tell me a little about that.

It goes back to that whole us being on a little hiatus for about a year and a half. Coming out of that and we did do a lot of demoing and recording and writing, but coming out of that we decided it was a good thing to release something as quickly as possible for the fans to let everybody know that we're still around. We're still making music and it's something that we can tour off of but it wasn't a full length album. Just something to tide people over until the album came out and we'd sorted all of our business issues out. It just so happened that Rock Ridge Music which is a company that was formed by ex-members of Artemis Records oddly enough, they had formed it as a different sort of business model for releasing music. They do tangible CDs as well but we thought that the digital EP idea was a neat way and a different way of trying to get music out there. A lot of people do download and it's just a neat way to take advantage of technology while not taking six months to press CDs. We really didn't want to wait. We just wanted to throw it out there and just let people know what's up.

Tell me about the songs on it.

There's a four song version and a three song version. The four song version is the iTunes exclusive. There's a bonus track involved. Everything else is the three song. I guess we really just wanted to choose songs that really just covered the spectrum of what we have been able to do and what we're capable of doing. We're known for a variety of different kind of sounds I guess. We have a melodic side and we have a real heavy side. I think with say a song like "Breathe", we've been able to mix the two together for the first time ever and I think that's the direction we're going to be heading in. Really heavy metal brutal stuff but with melody. Both of those two elements that remained separate for a really long time in the band, we've been able to make them come together. That's where we're going but I think the songs are great. It's definitely not the old Kittie in the sense that we were fortunate when our first album came out. We've evolved and become a better band. Better musicians. Better songwriters. We're older now. We're grownups. We're grown ass women now.

That takes some time to improve on that.

Yeah, exactly.

Some bands spend 20 years doing that.

It takes a long time to really decide what direction you want to go in and who you are and where you want to be. I was 14 when I started the band, you're only 14 years old and a lot of bands are bands for 10 years even before they get signed. This is the 10 year anniversary of Kittie this year. Just now we're really starting to develop into a little unit that's strong and ready to go kick some more ass.

I did an interview with Albert Mudrian, the guy who wrote the death metal book, and I read in his book where some of these bands when they first started out were 14 or 15 years old and I wondered what their parents thought about that.

Mine were pretty cool with it actually. My parents are not musical people. They enjoy music but they're not musicians themselves. I don't think they really knew what they were getting into. If they were musicians they probably would have had a different opinion about it and would have said they know what the bar scene is like and that we don't want to go there. They really didn't know what we were getting into. They were really encouraging with playing our instruments and helping us get shows. That's how my parents ended up being the management team for the band based on the fact that no one wants to talk to a fucking 15 year old. Booking a show or trying to do that sort of thing or lawyers or any of that stuff, no one wants to talk to a 15 year old. My parents were representing the band. They're all really cool with it. They just realize that regardless it was going to happen anyway and we're our own people. We can make our own decisions. I think we made the right choice.

I think you did. Especially having your parents involved.

Oh yeah, if it wasn't like that I think it would be a completely different scenario now. There's a lot of frightening stuff out there and I think we've been able to stay grounded and I wouldn't say sheltered but...

Tara: They know what's in your best interests and being supportive. That's a nice security.

Yeah, totally. There's some wacky shit out there. I've seen a lot of wacky shit. We have strong enough morals and our heads are screwed on tightly enough so that we don't really get involved with weird stuff like that.

Tell me about the full length album that you're going to put out.

Well, we're still in talks with a lot of different people. We're just being cautious and really trying to weigh our options in terms of where we'd like to see the band and what options there really are out there. We've been burned in the past. We just want to make sure that we're going to get the right deal for the band and the right people behind it in terms of the actual album itself and the music. It's pretty much written and done. We have a lot of songs to choose from. When we get off the tour we'll probably start getting in the working out all the songs mode and hopefully get to record it sometime this summer. It'd be nice.

Are you including songs from the EP?

I think when we go in for the recording session, I'd like to record everything that we've worked on and then just pick. I think some of them will probably make it and some of them will not. They'll remain b-sides or bonus tracks. Keep them just for fun. They're all good songs. You've got to put the best on the album.

That must be hard.

Yeah, it really is. What else is really hard is trying to decide what songs go in what order. Track listing is ridiculously hard. We sit down and over and over and over again talk about it. Sometimes things fall into place but a lot of times we've done it by fucking nitpicking.

Depending on the tempos of the songs, you don't want too many songs with one particular tempo following each other.

Track listing is a really important thing too in bringing everything together and making it a whole album, not so much as a bunch of songs stuck together. It's really weird. Even placement of your singles in the track listing is really important too. I've done research on it. A lot of time singles are track two or six.

You already know what you're going to release as singles.

Based on how things turn out. We try to do stuff like focus groups almost. We invite a bunch of friends over and ask them what songs catch their ears the most. It's not a formal focus group. Depending on how the songs turn out then you usually have a good idea. A lot of times the record company can help out with that shit too. Hopefully with our next record company, they will because our last one didn't care.

Yeah, we know all about them. Have you guys thought about doing any videos for your digital EP?

We've been recording a lot of stuff. I think we actually might end up doing a couple of live videos because we're playing five new songs on this tour and we've got a lot of different video footage of our new songs so we may end up putting out a DVD. I guess a small one to sell at shows and online. I'm sure a larger one will come with the CD.

Where have you guys been so far and when does the tour end?

We've done this side of the tour so far. (Pointing at Tara's pass) We've been to New Hampshire, upstate New York, W. Virginia, Pennsylvania. We did three shows in Michigan. Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah. We did four California dates. The West Coast. Northern West Coast. Seattle and Portland. Arizona, Albuquerque, and we’ve done five Texas shows so far. Today’s the last day in Texas. It’s been well over 30 shows now. It’s a two month tour.

You’re going to cover the whole damn country.

Yes, we are. After that we go through Florida and then we work our way back up the East Coast.

Are you doing anything in Europe?

After this summer we’ll probably discuss that. I think there are talks about perhaps going to Japan and Australia and also perhaps Europe as well. We’ll have to just take it day by day and see where it leads us. There’s a good chance of that stuff happening more towards the fall. Right around there.

Oh yeah, you’ve put out a line of clothing.

I’m modeling the hoodie right here.

When did you start that?

We started that late last year while we were on our break and decided that it was something we wanted to do. It’s an extension of our music and our personality. I find that with a lot of bands’ clothing lines, usually all men, that are putting stuff out and the extent of the women’s line is a wife beater and a small t-shirt. We do offer things for guys like hoodies and t-shirts but from the women’s perspective it’s nice to have cool rock clothes that are designed for women to fit women. What they like. Different cuts, different materials, just getting a little more deeper into the fashion thing rather than just a wife beater.

So it’s like hoodies and shirts.

Yeah, we have tank tops. We have really nice fitted clothes. Off the shoulder kind of shirts. Longer ones. Tank tops.

Boobs are taken into consideration.

Yeah, absolutely.

Tara: We have them.

Is that doing pretty well? People are digging it?

Yeah, considering everything that we’ve done has been just through word of mouth. Through Kittie fans and that sort of thing. It’s actually steadily getting better and just now we’re starting to discuss advertising and distribution into stores and online retail and catalogs. The only place you can get it now is our online store www.poisonblack.com but we’re discussing some other opportunities for later on with the company and it’s just going to grow from here.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Come to the shows! Check out our website at www.kittierocks.com. Our official MySpace is www.myspace.com/officialkittie and www.poisonblack.com which is Kittie’s line of clothing.

Kittie