Rock n' Roar!!!
Interview by Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
The all female Canadian metal band- Kittie are gearing up for their late winter/spring tour of North America. The tour commences on March 3 in Toronto, Ont. The band will be touring in support of their fifth full length studio CD, "In the Black" on E1 Records. "In the Black" is Kittie at their finest. Killer riffs, screams, angelic vocals, blistering guitar solos it's all here and will make any fan of hard rock or metal very satisfied.
We caught up with band vocalist/singer/songwriter Morgan Lander for this exclusive interview to discuss the new Cd, the tour and much more. Here's what she had to say.
How do you think your new release “In the Black” compares to your last release “Funeral for Yesterday”?
The difference between “Funeral “and “Black” are obviously apparent. I think that a lot of the changes made to intensify the music were done because we were kind of dissatisfied with the way that “Funeral “ turned out. Definitely the songs were on there, we had an awesome time recording it. But sonically, it wasn’t where we wanted to be. In comparison to our other recordings, it wasn’t really representative of who we are. So with “Black” we made a conscience effort to do things a little differently. More solos, heavier more raw, and a lot less layering, especially with the vocals.
Did you write a lot of material for this release or just the songs that are on it?
Well, we pretty much just wrote enough for the CD. We toyed with a few ideas with this particular release. Some things just came together and some other things did’t. But in terms of writing, it was all very easy. It was done the way we always have done it, which was hanging out in my parent’s basement and coming to practice with particular ideas and working things out. It was definitely a group effort. It was really kind of relaxing.
When you write, do you ever try to capture the vibe of the current music scene?
Um…, to be honest with you, I’m not really aware of what is going on with the current scene. Obviously, I listen to some of the bigger bands like Mastodon and stuff like that. But, that’s so far removed from what we do musically that it would be stupid to rip them off. We really don’t pay attention. For us, we do what feels right. In terms of evolution, with every recording we get better as a band and better as musicians. What you are hearing is the evolution of the band.
Over the years, you’ve had some difficultly with your record labels. You’re now with E1 Records, what makes them so special?
Well, we know some of the people that work there. We have actually worked with some of these people in our past. So, it felt a little more comfortable. The Vice President of Metal from E1 worked with us on our first two releases with another label. He was very adamant about having us on board. And in comparisons to the other offers we were getting, this one just seemed right. It’s definitely a good atmosphere; it just seemed like the right place to go.
Were you signed to E1 before you started recording the CD?
No, which was good, because we didn’t have to rush and we didn’t have a deadline. Usually a label likes to keep the momentum going and wants you to tour and then after, write a CD and have it done for an optimum release date. But this time it was really nice not to feel rushed and have to meet a deadline. Because I know what that feels like and I had to do that in the past and it’s definitely not a lot of fun.
A lot of bands when faced with that deadline get very stressed out and it affects their creativity.
Oh yeah. It does show especially when you have to do something as opposed to letting it come naturally. When you’re a songwriter, inspiration doesn't hit all of the time. When you are expected to have that inspiration by a certain time, you start freaking out a little. It can definitely be very stressful.
I want to discuss your first two singles from the CD. The first one, “Cut Throat” is an extremely intense song. What was the inspiration behind it?
Basically, it is lyrically about the way people treat each other and the questions that arise when certain people have an attitude towards you or are very vindictive. I think it was a good choice as a first single because it is very representative of what we are capable of doing. It covers everything all across the board. There’s a catchy chorus with singing and screaming, there a solo, it’s fast, its heavy. It’s raw and encompasses everything the album is in one song. So we thought it was a good choice.
I agree. Now your new single “Sorrow I Know,” has a video that’s very different from anything else your done. Tell us a bit about the making of it ?
Well, we did both videos back to back during July of last year in New York City. The same guy directed both of them. We had two vastly different approaches. We wanted “Cut Throat”, because it was our first single, to really showcase the band and show the live aspect of the band and our energy. For “Sorrow I Know” we wanted to make it a bit more cinematic. And have a little more of a story line. As metal as we are, we are still girls. And doing stuff like dressing up and doing hair and make-up was kind of fun for us. It was cool to transform and play a character. We never really done that before and we thought that with this song, it would be a great opportunity to do this. We found a really cool location called the Back Room. It’s a member’s only club and it’s weird because it’s really hidden and you have to have a password to get in. It was a cool place and it definitely had that 1920’s vibe to it. So we had fun with that. We also invited a bunch of fans from our message board and from all over the worldand did an open casting call and said ‘Hey anyone that wants to be in a Kittie video come on down.’ We had an awesome time
Do you have plans to do any more videos for the CD?
Yes, we are going to do one for “Die My Darling” during the next few months. We will probably be doing here in Canada.
You start your next leg of your tour on March 3 in Toronto. Ont. What’s your set list going to be like? Are you going to be heavy on the new material or will you play a bit from all your releases?
When we tour, we obviously want to please the fans and make sure we play at least a few songs from every album. But we want to focus on the new material because we have a new album to promote. But we enjoy playing songs from all of our CD’s. But you can expect us to play for 1.25 hours, playing about sixteen songs.
What are you summer tour plans? Are you doing any of the major festivals?
We have some stuff that’s coming down the pipe right now. But nothing is 100% confirmed, so I really can’t give you any guarantee. But expect to see us out on a touring, festival kind of tour in July and August. And there’s some other things as well, that hopefully will be happening in September. But with this industry, you don’t really know if it’s actually going to happen or not, until you are standing on the stage. It’s crazy.
You are one of the first female metal bands that broke into the mainstream. How long into your career did it take before you were recognized for your talent and not just as a novelty band?
I don’t know. I think we still struggle with that even now. To be quite honest.
Yeah, definitely. But, I think that with the new album we have changed a lot of people’s minds. In the past, harsh critics like Blabbermouth have been really hard on us. And for the first time in the bands history, we got a good review from them. But I think slowly, but surely people are starting to understand and appreciate the fact that we are not going to give up. We continue to get better and it’s just a matter of time before people see the validity and merit in what we are doing. Obviously, we have our fans. We have fans that have enjoyed the band for ten plus years. And we have a rapid following when it comes to our diehard true fans. But I think, we still have yet to crack that idea, that bias that a lot of people have about the band. With every new Cd, the old Kittie that people remember and slag on, kind of fades away because we are not that band anymore. We shouldn’t be judged now, on what we did when we were fourteen.
I agree. Did the negative press ever get so bad that you considered breaking up the band at any point? Or did it motivate you to try harder?
A little of both actually. We’ve been down both of those paths. There have been times when, especially Mercedes and I, when we’ve had a line-up change or something that didn’t stick, for a while, we would think, “is this going to be it. Should we continue as a band?” But, it’s always a struggle, but not so much anymore. There was one particular time in 2004 or 2005 when we really wonder what we wanted to do and if continuing with the band was the right thing to do. But obviously it was, because here we are.
For more on kittie www.myspace.com/officialkittie