Kitten’s Chloe Chaidez Talks Childhood Influences + Relocating to New York City
L.A. indie rockers Kitten have always been well-known for their eclectic frontwoman, Chloe Chaidez; when on stage, she has the presence of her 10-year-old self.
Due to some struggles with the L.A. music scene, and an urge for a new environment, the 19-year-old rockstar recently relocated to New York City and subsequently became involved in opening the now-popular punk DIY venue, Silent Barn.
We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Chaidez and chat about some of her earliest musical influences -- including her own dad -- and what it was like relocating to New York. Check out our exclusive interview below:
Your father was a straight-up rock and roll and punk rock guy. Where did your softer, indie edge come from?
My dad definitely fed me a healthy dosage of classic rock growing up, but when I turned around 14, 15, I started really discovering and seeking out music of my own. It went from Led Zeppelin and Mott the Hoople to "Fever to Tell" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Cat Power. I don't know what style you'd call that, but that's when that transition happened.
Your live stage presence has always been important to you. What are you doing differently on stage now than when you were younger?
My stage performance has always been something extremely sacred and almost spiritual for me. Because of this, it's sometimes hard for me to think methodically about what the hell I'm doing up there. That said, I used to be an angsty ball of hurts-to-exist teenage energy, punching people in my band completely out of context (which i definitely still do from time to time), drawing Xs on my chest and pouring water on myself. Keep in mind this was usually in front of seven people at a dive bar. After opening for bands like No Doubt, Garbage and Paramore, you realize that those stages call for a different level of rock star, a different strut and confidence. I study those frontmen and women and use those shows as an education. The combination of that experience and who I am as a performer has made for a natural progression.
Were there any specific things about Los Angeles that inhibited your creativity, leading you to New York?
I think I mainly needed a change of environment. I think I needed to be placed somewhere other than where I grew up for a little while. Los Angeles can become a draining place in terms of everyone's talk. It sounds like such a cliche, but I got so tired of meeting musicians who would immediately dive into whatever record executive they were "talking to" two seconds after giving me the name of their band. My move was a result of a combination of things, but I definitely needed to leave.
How has it been to see Silent Barn become a reality?
Silent Barn is a truly magical place, and I think [it was] exactly what I needed, creatively, a couple of months ago. It reminded me of where I started, a venue called the Smell in Los Angeles -- but with living spaces. It also seemed like a great place to meet new collaborators (something rather obvious given it's a music venue) and other types of artists in Bushwick. This is exactly what happened, and I couldn't be in a better place.
What do you love most about the New York City music scene for emerging artists?
I think there are quite a few "scenes" thriving simultaneously alongside each other in New York, but I'm mostly aware of the bands that play in the DIY Bushwick venues around my neighborhood. Venues like Shea Stadium, Pallisades, Silent Barn obviously. I think this is funny to a lot of people because I'm like this pop chick in the midst of noise shows and punk bands, but I think we all vibe off of each other's flavor. I met a lot of the guys in Kitten's current lineup at a show in this area. They're called Big Muff Radio and there's a group of bands from Stanton Island and Brooklyn that all hang out and collaborate. They are insane producers and songwriters, I would say that's one of the most promising scenes coming out New York.
If you could tell your 10-year-old self one thing about music, what would it be?
Go big and don't let a--holes get in your way.
Kitten will be performing at the 2015 edition of the SXSW Music Festival, beginning today (March 17) at Galax Z Fair in McAllen and continuing all week long. They plan to bring their unique energy and obscure music to stand out among the rest of the artists and appeal to the "Keep Austin Weird" movement. Stay up-to-date with Kitten at their official website here.