L.A. Rockers Kitten on Opening for No Doubt, Playing Women’s Prisons + More
Most aspiring teenage musicians don't sign to Elktra Records, headline national tours and open for No Doubt, but Chloe Chaidez wouldn't have it any other way. The 18-year-old singer delivers heavy '80s-influenced L.A. rock with her band Kitten, purveyors of a sound falling between Metric and Eurythmics.
In addition to having released three EPs, including the latest, 'Like a Stranger,' Kitten have opened for Paramore, the Joy Formidable, Gary Numan and the aforementioned No Doubt. Chaidez, whose father was the drummer for the '80s punk band the Undertakers, started a cover band in her early teens and began Kitten just a few years later at 15.
Chaidez recently rang up Diffuers.fm from the band's Los Angeles headquarters to talk about her already extensive career, explain the difference between good and crowds and reflect on that one time they played a prison.
How did Kitten form?
I met Lukas [Frank] at the party of a mutual friend of ours about two years ago, and we just hit it off. I had been playing with different guys, and I just need a drummer. I knew about him, and that he was drummer. We started talking after that, and he brought his two friends over, and we all started playing together.
How much did you dad influence your taste in music?
He used to play a lot of punk like X and Germs, but he also played a lot of classic rock. That really laid the foundation for me growing up. I think overall, I started discovering pop music on my own. Ironically, that was sort of my way of rebelling from the music I grew up on. At the same time, because I grew up on punk, it will always hold a special place in my heart for it.
You started a cover band at the age of 10, but when did you writing your own songs?
I was about 14 or 15, around the time that I wanted to depart from the band I had been playing in since I was 10. I played bass, my first instrument, but I switched to guitar, and that was my first chance to really start writing. I was writing pretty silly things that I thought were deep at the time. I remember there was a song called 'Me, Myself, and I,' which at the time I though was too deep for life, and you know, was really a "nobody gets me" kind of song. I've hopefully progressed from that time, with life and all of its hardships. [Laughs]
Do you think having a musician father influenced you wanting to pursue music as a career?
He's always had musician friends around and was always recording with different bands. But I think, at the same time, music was just always something I wanted to do. I think it was great to have that in my life, but I think I would have pursued this regardless.
You've gotten to play with tons of big artists in the past few years. Have you ever been starstruck by any of them?
I don't think I would say I was intimated by them, but I would say I was nervous around of some them. I was definitely on my best behavior, that's for sure. I think it's been really great playing with these acts and witnessing their presence on stage. Gwen Stefani has this star power on stage, and it's incredible to watch. We just played Riot Fest not that long ago, and I got to see Iggy Pop, which was another one I can take off the bucket list. I'll definitely try to prove to them I'm the coolest chick around, but I really am just excited to get to see these people do what they do.
What about playing for their audiences, whose crowds have sometimes been following them longer than you've been alive?
I've heard a lot about certain crowds just having their arms crossed until the headliner comes on, but we haven't really gotten that. When we were on tour with Paramore, and their fans are some of the greatest people we've ever played for. Then we played for Gary Numan, and that was actually the first time we felt the distant from the audience. They just wanted him to come on, and they weren't having us. Everyone else, though, has been pretty responsive.
Is it true you've played at a women's prison?
Yeah, we did about a year ago. It was absolutely wonderful, and they were one of the best crowds we've ever played. At first, I was a little scared that one of them would come up on stage and want to fight me, being a little a 5-foot 3-inch little white girl. But they loved it, and it was one of the best crowds we've ever played. Playing for No Doubt and Paramore is great and all, but this prison was wonderful.
With your touring schedule, do you ever feel like you've missed on any of the average teenage experiences?
No, I don't think I've missed out on anything. I think even if I had felt that way, though, I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world. I think every 17 or 18 year old would rather be in a weird city than a classroom.
Did your dad ever give you advice on starting a music career?
I don't think he really had experience with the quote-unquote industry side of it because of the scene he was in. I think he wanted to get as far away from that as possible. But beyond music advice, it was just nice that he was there to teach me every instrument at once. When I started playing drums, he was there to help me along.
Now that 'Like A Stranger' is out, what are you planning next?
We're going on tour with Charli XCX and playing festivals, and next year we'll be releasing our full-length. After that, we'll be headlining out first tour, so just getting for that in the meantime.