A couple of weeks ago, I was able to connect with Chloe Chaidez and Parker Silzer IV of the band Kitten before they released their latest album called Personal Hotspots. In this interview, I asked the band about what this recording process unique, their core musical influences, as well as a fun question about other artists they admire in today’s music scene. Personal Hotspots is available now wherever you stream your music.
Thank you both for granting me the chance to chat with you guys today. Tell me about Kitten’s new, upcoming record called Personal Hotspots. What stands out to you guys today, as you look back at the release of the upcoming album?
Parker: I think certainly the thing that you have to note is that the second Kitten record spent a long time following the second Kitten full length. First one came out, before I was even in the band. And since then we’ve completed one full length record that ended up getting sort of chopped up into singles and EPs by our label, which I think was a fine decision in the end, and one that we stand by. But it overall feels very good and very relieving to finally have a collection of songs that we think sort of stands by itself, and it’s just coming out in one piece to the public after so long and so much work.
Chloe: I totally agree with Parker, that we started this record during lockdown, or during quarantine in 2020. And I think that it’s, the music is very sentimental to me, because it was kind of this beacon of hope in my life and this focus point. So yeah, it means a lot to me for sure.
Cool, were there any things that kind of stood out from the recording process itself, from these sessions that kind of are burned into your guys’ memory? It’s been a tough time for a lot of people too either being creative or to get things done during COVID, but it sounds like it actually influenced a lot of this record, just from my personal experience of listening to it.
Parker: Yeah, I think that for a band that maybe was more used to the traditional recording process of rehearsing with the whole band, and then going into the studio and recording. These past couple years might have been pretty challenging, in some ways, but for most of the time that I’ve been working with Kitten, it’s kind of been a few of us together with a computer in various places. Whether it’s a high-end studio, or a bedroom or living room or whatever, kind of just making it happen, wherever. So I think it was very comfortable for us to kind of just be working from home anyway.
Chloe: Yeah, I think the sort of growing popularity of video content also oddly inspires me to keep going because I realized as our videos did better and better during that time, and I realized that the way we record is actually kind of funny and unconventional. And it’s, we do it so often, that I think I didn’t realize how kind of quirky it was to be recording like “vinyl vocals,” that you’re putting your all into your bedroom…I think it’s kind of funny. So I think that oddly, like video content and TikTok kind of was a motivator in that sense, because people were responding to that recording process that was just so mundane and kind of funny to us. And I guess it was the other people so that was motivating for me personally.
How has the songwriting process been different for you guys as you kind of evolved over your careers as both musicians, and also being a band? What were the early days like for you, Chloe? And Parker, can you talk about what’s been going on recently?
Chloe: Kitten’s a band that I’ve had since I was 14, it’s been a lot of different changes and I’m really proud of this record, because it is our second full length record and it’s been a while. And Parker joined the band, I think five years ago, maybe?
Parker: In 2017.
Chloe: I mean, not only did he change the art when he joined the band, I think that he joined my life in a very awesome way. And I think when you’re in a band with someone for so long as you’re not just made, you become family, because you’re kind of stuck together. And in the most beautiful way possible. So I think that, musically, when I first met Parker, we just added Dave, and we really bonded over a love of classic rock. And they would show me a lot of classic rock that I actually didn’t know about. And I think that had a big influence on the music that we then made. So when people ask me what Kitten sounds like, and what the new record sounds like, I say it’s “good old-fashioned pop-rock,” and it’s also classic pop rock. I think ever since I met Parker and Dave, that’s kind of what we’ve done together. Because we both love pop. Both love classic rock.
Parker: In terms of how songs are created, we have a pretty fluid process. If there’s a good idea, wherever it comes from, it doesn’t really matter. Chloe wrote some crazy songs that were crazy-cool demos that were 60-70% done, or whatever. And we’ve rocked with those, and Dave’s written nearly full songs that maybe we changed a lyric or two and then finished recording together. I’ve come through with a sort of beat that I was working on, that was inspiring to people, it really just happens in every kind of configuration. And I think, in terms of our musical collaboration, one of the best things has just been that we’re not really too precious about where the idea comes from, if we’re all excited about an idea. I think it’s also notable that we had some collaborators on this record, too, that I think influenced the sound. A couple of the songs sort of predate the pandemic, and were a continuation of what we were sort of started with Pink Champagne and continued to do with the Goodbye Honeymoon phase in terms of this sort of eccentric, eclectic, pop, rock electronic hybrid. But I think right before the pandemic hit, we were doing some collaborations with a young producer named Gabi who produced and co-wrote a couple songs. Getting a little bit of an injection of a kind of young hyper-pop, or experimental kind of electronic pop energy, kind of also influenced a bit our approach to some of the rest of the record. Both in terms of like trying to incorporate that in other moments for consistency and also our sort of manic way completely going against that, and having some songs that are really sort of rock, or really guitar-based or whatever so yeah, wow, the influences while the contributors it’s also funny, because at this point it’s really Dave, Chloe and I handling the release and the promotion of this record, and we are kind of the ones who saw it through. But everyone from the touring bands of the last couple years, they all have contributions on here, both mentally and writing credit-wise. And just a few outside producers too. So there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen throughout the last couple of years, and I think that’s part of the reason why it sounds all over the place, but I also think it is charming.
Yeah, the record just has a lot of what Parker said, collaborations going on into it, but it makes for an ear-pleasing record, for sure. I’m really impressed with you guys. I was telling Parker before you hopped on Chloe, just how much I enjoyed the advance that I got from the new album coming out, too. So Chloe, I understand you recently started a new record label. Can you share about what your label has been working on, and any noteworthy releases coming up in the new year?
Chloe: Yeah, during 2020 I started skating a lot more and meeting people. I think I just sort of liked younger people who wanted to make music, but maybe never had. And I just started working with tons of artists who had never done music before. And the message of the label kind of became “everybody is an artist, and everybody can make music.” And I think that it was cool, because I had a message. And I think that I resonated with a different audience than I had ever really resonated with. And it was cool to see actually how, because I had started making music I really loved with Kitten. And it actually gave me a new confidence in what I was doing and Kitten music that I’d already made. Because I think as I’ve been doing this band for so long, and I think there’s days you wake up and you’re like, “What am I doing?” And it was cool after having sort of just naturally started this label with working with so many artists and producing more to see that influence and they just know all the words to certain songs that Kitten released, like years ago, and it was super cool. So yeah, that’s basically what the label is about. It’s very character-driven. There’s vampires and a kind of a Motley Crue girl band, and all of them kind of live in their own meta-universe of extraordinary characters. Just really fun. And that’s pretty much what it is. It’s like a Disney Channel, PG-13 or unisex Odd Future.
That’s awesome! Is there a certain quality you look for when you’re looking for somebody to to work with on the label?
Chloe: Artists who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable? Whatever that means to them. Whether that’s silly, or aggressive. But yeah, what in whatever emotion that is. Or performance, I’d love to see vulnerability, I guess in what they’re doing. Also the fearlessness to be themselves.
Cool. So what are your guys upcoming touring plans? And if so, what are you most looking forward to about getting in front of live audiences again?
Parker: Honestly, as of now, we do not have any touring plans. I think with everything that everyone’s had going on in the band it took a lot of energy, a lot of push, just to wrap this album up and make sure that we’ve been sort of seeing it through in the best way. Basically, it sort of consumed our brain power and our energy for the second half of this year. So in terms of touring, I think it’s a little open ended. I think we’ll see what comes in and stuff, obviously. The touring situation is a little bit different these days, the way that venues operate, and the availability of things and also the gas prices. So I think all of us would love to bring these new songs to the very devoted fans that we have around the country in some way. So it’s really just a matter of what makes sense.
Have you guys considered the livestream option that some bands have kind of tinkered with? I think this record would probably resonate well with that type of audience, but I was just curious if you guys thought about it?
Parker: Yeah, we did a couple of those things over the pandemic and honestly, they were more fun, and fun in a way that and I thought they would be and I think that you’re correct in saying that in some ways it <livestream show> does sort of suit the music that we’re making right now. Sort of like a digital delivery for the laptop rock. But I think that if we want to do that, I’d like to figure out how to really curate the visual aesthetic of it and really make it almost like someone was watching a music video. And the clothing and design, so that the experience compensated for the lack of the live energy, because so much so much of the reason why people have always loved Kitten long before I was in the band, is just sort of the kind of manic, crazy energy of the shows. And so much of that stems from Chloe. And I think that it’s a little bit hard to convey that over a livestream. It’s hard for us sometimes to even capture that on a recording. Just what it feels like to be in a room with a crowd and be feeding off of it.
Yeah, because on the other side of that, when you’re doing a livestream, you’re basically playing to a camera and imagining what the reaction would be, and you don’t get that real-time feedback from the audience. Are there any other ways you can kind of gauge interest from either social media, or just from hearing from your fan base about the excitement level for this new album?
Parker: Yeah, I think that since we announced it, it was only a few days ago that we publicly announced it. And I think that, honestly, I’ve been surprised by the enthusiasm from a lot of fans. I didn’t know what I was expecting. But as I alluded to earlier, we’ve just been sort of a little bit unfocused as a band leading up to the release of this record, because of various external projects and pressures. It took most of the time that I think any of us had for Kitten to just really get it across the finish line. And I think every time that it’s been a while, since you put out music, you’re kind of wondering if anyone’s even waiting there anymore. Even if it’s only been six or seven months, it can feel like an eternity.
So Chloe, I understand that you worked on a Netflix series called I’m With The Band. What was that experience like for you?
Chloe: Oh, it was awesome. I’m so grateful for it. It taught me so much. Just about how to be a better guitar player, for sure. And yeah, it was just an awesome, awesome experience. And yeah, it was kind of like it was three years ago now. But I’m super, super grateful for that opportunity.
Yeah, and it probably gave your bands, both the one that you did with Nasty Cherry and also with Kitten, in getting some good exposure. So did you notice any of that new exposure to new audiences?
Chloe: Yeah, definitely. Meeting people, like young girls, will mostly come up to me at events and say hi. And it’s really cool, and yeah, it was really cool for Kitten too.
So how would you describe the difference between working with a band like Nasty Cherry, that you launched from that show, and then writing for Kitten?
Chloe: Well, I think the main difference is that Kitten is all self-produced. So the whole process is just basically with Parker who is mixing everything and handling the decision sort of homestretch of each recording. And that’s often the hardest part. So I think there’s a lot of detailed correspondence that’s going on within that aspect of it. Where with Nasty Cherry, we worked with a lot of amazing, and different producers, and they would all work differently. Some of them don’t want as much input as others do, and everyone has a different process. So with Kitten, it’s the same creative machine. But again, I think it’s really important to work with different people and learn how to collaborate. And so I think that working with so many different people in Nasty Cherry gave me a new skill set of how to collaborate.
Awesome, and that makes sense. The last question I have for you guys is kind of an open-ended one. What are some of the artists you admire in today’s music scene? And are there any particular attributes that you’re drawn to for each of those artists?
Chloe: Oh, I love this because I don’t know Parker’s answer.
Parker: Well I think that with the Kitten crew in general, we’re all songwriters. So I think that there are many new artists too sort of carrying the torch for what I would consider the songwriting tradition. And I think we’re also really always very interested in zany sounds that we’ve never heard before. Just wacky new takes on production or combining new genres. So I think that the artists that I’ve gravitated to over the past few years have been artists too who are able to do that. It kind of surprised me with the sound while also having sort of like tangible songwriting, that’s clear, focused, and emotional. So yeah, honestly, I think I really have to go back and listen to a lot of music. I just actually posted on social media yesterday saying to all my friends who put out a record this year, please send it to me. I’m sorry, I haven’t listened yet. But, I’m ready now. I have the time and I have the space. The record is done. And I think that at least for me, it’s from a production standpoint. I really liked the last Caribou record called Suddenly. I thought that was just a very beautiful, very seamless, mix of the 60s and the psychedelic kind of songwriting. Also the Haim record, Women In Music Pt. III, I thought that was great!
How about you, Chloe? What have you really gravitated towards? Or is there anything that really stood out to you recently from an artist’s perspective?
Chloe: It’s such a hard question. When I was growing up, I loved Pitchfork. For instance, I was sort of one of my music Bibles that I would read. But also different outlets and I think it’s music has changed so much. And I think that people just find music in different ways. And I’ve noticed that with the younger generation, and kids who love music, it’s not as at least Pitchfork-oriented or blog oriented. But for artists, I really love Willow Smith. I was looking at her last night, and she’s really great. And, I still love Charlie XCX. She’s always gonna be a huge, huge, huge influence on me. Especially because I’ve worked with her. And I think knowing the details about how she works and gets what she gets done is really inspiring to me. And so whenever I see her work, I’m always giving it a huge round of applause, in my head. I have also been loving Spanish music lately, and especially ones that come out of LA. Um, I’ve been really taking that. And I think it’s cool when people speak Spanish.
Gotcha. Yeah, there’s a lot of good cultures like you’re saying Chloe, too, in that general area. So are there any last words, or a quick pitch about why people should check out this record?
Parker: Well, I think that if you don’t know how to feel, it’s a good record to put on. I think that if you’re confused about what you’re feeling inside, whatever it is, you can find it in the record. If it’s frustration or sadness or euphoria or confusion, we didn’t even know what we were feeling. So I think that if you’re an open-minded person and you like exciting music that evolves a lot, and doesn’t adhere too much to one genre it’s a good one to check out.
Okay, cool. Well, thank you guys so much! Enjoy the rest of your day. And I look forward to promoting you guys’ record when it comes out!
Parker/Chloe: Thanks, Adam!