Club Mercy Presents:
Club Mercy Presents: Kitten
1221 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
For Chloe Chaidez, frontwoman of the electrifying rock group Kitten, the trajectory from rock fan to rock star began in carpool. "Growing up my dad had to drive an hour and half every day five days a week to take me to gymnastics," she recalls. Chloe's father, a drummer from LA's early punk scene, used this time to communicate the important things in life to his young daughter: Mott the Hoople, David Bowie, and Led Zeppelin. "We listened to lots of classic rock," Chloe recalls. "But we also played the new CMJ mixes. This is pre-internet and that's how you learned about new bands, from little CDs that came with cool magazines. Bands like Sigur Ross, Band of Horses…"
By ten Chloe had begun playing bass and had formed her own band. By 12 she was opening for indie artists such as Midlake and Conor Oberst with her blend of hip covers and precocious originals. "I probably watched School of Rock 100 times," Chloe says, laughing. "That was all I wanted to do."
It's not a surprise that Chloe was so naturally drawn to the rebel artists' life. Both her mom and dad are creative and the singer's older brother, the scholar in the family, also dabbles in music. "School is really his thing," Chloe says. " Mathematics. But he's also a really natural musician." School was not Chloe's thing. "I got into a lot of trouble from a very early age," she remembers. Music was all that ever held her attention but within that particular world she is as educated as they come. A consummate rock nerd, she can easefully narrate the creative through-line from My Bloody Valentine to Washed Out, discuss her appreciation of everyone from Cat Power to the Notorious B.I.G., then pivot to music business speak to dissect Grimes' marketability in the mainstream. "People always say, oh she's so young but the thing is, I have been doing this for a really long time already," Chloe says. "I love it. As cliché as it sounds, it's my life. It's all I do."
While writing songs, recording, and performing live have been a major part of her daily life over the last few years, what's been more of a challenge, she says, is learning how to focus her vision. "You can write a song on an acoustic guitar and it can sound any way you want. It can be anything you want it to be" she explains. "But over the last year or two, I've realized the particular music that I actually wanted to make, the sound I wanted and the point of view that I wanted it to come from." The path to this realization wasn't without it's rough patches. Ironically after signing her record deal, at the peak of her first small wave of success, when she should have been the happiest, Chloe nearly lost herself in rock and roll cliché. "I would drink before and after shows… do drugs," Chloe remembers. "The real problem was that I couldn't stop myself. It wasn't just about fun. I was frustrated, scared and confused and I wanted to kill those feelings, but I justified it by saying this is the rock and roll life style. It's okay to do this 'cause so did Iggy Pop, so did Lou Reed. Maybe I would write my own "Heroin" someday. But the thing is, drugs really do kill your creativity and they almost ruined my career before it even really started. That lifestyle, how I was living it, it lowers you. We almost had to shut the whole thing down. Part of the turnaround of this record is that I looked around and said, 'Wait a minute. This isn't a joke. This is my life. This is what I care about. What the hell am I doing?'"
Back in LA, away from distractions, Chloe was finally clear-headed enough to truly explore what kind of music she wanted to make. Through songwriting collaborations with her manager and musical mentor, Chad Anderson, the singer started to hone in on her now signature sound. The ferocious power of late 70's post punk blended with the textures and rhythms of 80's British new wave and the shoegaze wall of sound, executed with an emotional delicacy all too rare for today.
Soon after Chloe started messing around with computer rock at home with her brother, the stage was set for Kitten to rise. "I felt stuck with the band format's mostly organic instruments so I started making beats with my brother in our bedrooms," she remembers. "I found it really liberating." Soon after I started falling in love with 80's new wave, most of it British. Pet Shop Boys, OMD, Psychedelic Furs, New Order, The Eurythmics, American artists like The Motels and 'till Tuesday, Prince…
Liberating is a good descriptor for Kitten's EP. A blend of the sophisticated elegance of dream pop with the jagged directness of rock and roll, it's a declaration of intent and an auspicious announcement of the arrival of a new force in music. The title track "Cut It Out" has the sweetness of a delicate pop song underscored by a massive futuristic backbeat. "G#" is a reverb-drenched reinvention of classic shoegazer rock, slashed through with razor guitars and songs like "Sugar" showcase Chloe's willingness to be intimate and vulnerable even from within these layers of raucous noise.
From considered near-ballads, to epic walls of sound the EP showcases the dynamic range of Chloe's young band.
It's almost as if Chloe Chaidez has been in training for close to a decade and is now ready for the major leagues. She's always had the talent and the belief but now she has the sense of self and identity to back it up. "What's going to make this band different is our live show," says the singer, when asked what truly distinguishes Kitten. "I love being onstage more than anything. When you are up there you can do whatever you want. You can be whatever you want. If there's one person in the back of the room not involved, then that's my audience. I'll do whatever I have to do to blow that person away. I want everybody in the audience to remember where they were when they saw Kitten for the first time."