The thing that sucks about writing about a band whose lead singer is a teenager is that you have to point out just that: he or she is a teenager. That statement leads one to write about how the singer may be young but are wise well beyond their years with music that resonates so much more than it should. No one likes generalizing a generation or riding a cliche, but here we are. Chloe Chaidez of the Cali-band Kitten is so much wiser, talented and articulate than you were at 18. OK, now I'm done - let's focus on the music and her band.
Kitten are two EPs into their career, and have already opened up for No Doubt, Twin Shadow and Charli XCX and are currently touring with The Joy Formidable. They're about to hit the road with Paramore, which should - no doubt - propel them even further into the alt-universe. Good. The band, who sound like a 1980s band fronted by a 1990s rocker chick, work their ass off to sound good and it really shows with the respective Sunday School and Cut It Out EPs. Read the interview below with Chaidez and you'll see why they're so buzz-worthy. In addition, check out an exclusive performance of "G#" at LA's Bootleg Bar, which the band blessed specifically for A-Sides. Boom.
I'd imagine opening up for so many great artists, it's forced you guys to raise your game a bit, right? I'd assume you'd be a sponge as well to pick up on what they're throwing down...
We've picked up a lot of things from the bands we've played with subconsciously. I can listen and appreciate the aesthetics of their music, but to actually see them live, it really makes you think differently. It hits you differently than just listening to the record. And playing with them it's really awesome. You definitely have to be more prepared. We're trying to give everyone a run for their money. When we're live, we go indepth - for lack of a better word. I mean we're definitely not a jam band but we do different outros and intros.
You haven't held back in interviews that you're deeply inspired by the 1980s... Do you think that decade gets a bad rap?
There's something bad about every generation. I mean I love '60's music but I just don't get Jim Croce. I like Bob Dylan but Jim Croce is too niche for me. I think my friends are into "Take on Me" from Aha, but if I played "Voices Carry" by 'Til Tuesday, they would not like it as much. I love the aesthetic of it all - the production was just a special time for pop music. The arrangements were brilliant - I mean nothing's better than listening to a Tears for Fears album. I really respect it.
Did you grow up on 1980s tunes at all? I'd imagine you heard a lot of punk since your dad was in The Undertakers...
He played lot of punk music and stuff, but he obviously loved classic rock, which I obviously hate. I started getting into music that he didn't understand and my friends think are cheesy. But, I really love it.
What I love about Kitten are you guys are paying homage to that decade but in a really contemporary way. It's in no way - a rip-off of like Human League or something. Will the full-length album be more of the same?
We're almost done with [the album]. It's kind of heavier - a really cool, sonic sound. It's got a more ambient sound. It's in its final, final stages which is good. I'm really impulsive in general, and I've been on the road for two years. If it wasn't almost done, of course, I'd want to go back every two weeks to it, and make a different record.
Has the songwriting changed for you with all your big life experiences taking place around you? I'd think it would have to be...
A lot of time I'll be messing around with synth and singing lyrics. Whatever comes out I'll usually stick with for better or for worse. I really appreciate clever lyrical hooks so if I can write one of those it's very satisfying for me. But it comes out from messing around. "Cut it Out" - I didn't think twice. I just sang the words. With "G#" it was a little different. It was heavier lyrically. The concept was a little bigger. It was a dreamy atmospheric mindset.
Speaking of which...Watch. Listen. Love.
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Support A-Sides' Kickstarter campaign here!