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In Words: Kittie

- Morgan Lander - Nov. 2009 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Morgan Lander - Jan. 2010 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Morgan Lander - Oct. 2011 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

© Kittie

Morgan Lander - September 29th 2011 (by email)

Kittie is a hard working band and the girls - like everybody else - has ups and downs in their life. Now they present a new album called I've Failed You, an album which is different but still showing their roots. Time to learn a bit more about I've Failed You, thanks to Morgan for answering my questions!

Your new album is called I've Failed You, a very personal title... Are the songs more personal than in the past?

This album is extremely personal, and the title itself is really very apologetic and remorseful, which is very much the theme and feeling of the album. I went through some of the most difficult years of my life in between In The Black and I've Failed You, and I really feel like I needed the experience of being open and honest with myself, in order to stand back at the situation I found myself in, and objectively asses it and learn from it. It certainly was a healing experience.

The current line-up is working well it seems, how much does this effect the song writing? Did the way you write songs somehow changed?

If anything the dynamic and the chemistry that we have now as a band has helped the writing and made things easier. We know each other's styles and have evolved into a much more intricate beast as a unit because of that. Its improved the song writing, and diversified us a little bit which is never a bad thing.

To me it seems that Kittie is changing... You use more clean vocals, the guitar leads are quite melodic... Natural progress?

Absolutely. We are always changing and evolving, and the beauty of what we do is that no two albums are alike and that we always write and reflect on how we are feeling in that moment, or during that time. Because this new album reflects on a sad, morose time in my life in particular, I think some of the songs turned out a bit more slow, sad and doomy. But who knows, we could be super pissed the next one and write a straight up fast, thrashy album.

You choose Empires Pt 2 for a video clip, why this track for the first video? Where did you shot it?

I think a song like Empires Part 2 really represents what we do as a whole. Its a heavy, fast song, with a great chorus, a rad solo, and its dynamic. It really gives an overview look at what to expect from the album, as it sort of has everything we are about as a band in one song. The video was shot in NY at the home of a horror movie make-up designer. We did both the We Are The Lamb video and the Empires Part 2 video in one day. It was fast paces and crazy, but somehow it worked! We had a blast!!

You also did a video for We Are The Lamb. This clip is different, it not just shows the band live, do you like clips which tell a story? Where you have to act? Please tell us about the video shot!

The We Are The Lamb video was one of the most fun experiences we have had doing a music video. The story, the props, the make-up, the fake blood...It really was a ton of fun, and really cool to try something different and act a bit more than usual in a video. It was something new for us and I really enjoyed it.

Who directed the videos? And will there be more videos?

The video was done by MGYNYC which is a video production company run by Dave Brodsky and Allison Woest. We had previously worked with them on the Cut Throat and Sorrow I Know videos, so we knew them well and had a good idea as to what to expect with the videos. I love their style and the ease of which they make videos happen, all with really great, surprising results.

At We Are The Lamb you had some horror / Zombie movie inspired scenes... Would you like to write music for a horror movie? Or act in one?

We (especially Mercedes and I) are huge into the horror genre and have always appreciated those types of movies. I know I would LOVE to work with a horror movie in some, acting, props...anything really. Metal and horror go hand in hand so it makes perfect sense for us to do something like that.

Usually if a band changes, they get criticized... I guess by now you got some feedback, are you satisfied with the feedback so far?

Its funny, I don't think we have changed, so much as we have evolved. People forget that our first album was written and recorded before we were even out of high school, and the results now are just the sound of a band in their late 20's just starting to hit their stride. Not many bands do their growing, both musically and otherwise, in public, so I think that's where the idea that we've changed lies. But we can't help that we have learned a lot and grown over the past 15 years, and we want to show it off. I think that for the most part, the feed back from the new album has really been positive, and we continue to change peoples opinions about this band with every release.

You always toured a lot, so I guess something is on the way... Anything you can share with us?

Well we just completed a full US tour, and of course we always have stuff in the works! Some international stuff coming up, that we can announce soon!

Talking about touring... When you toured Germany in early 2010 you had some trouble with your nightliner... Any other stories to tell from the road?

We had one of the most crazy stories in our history happen to us while we were in Germany last year. One night, early on in the tour we awoke to Mike from It Dies Today yelling and clapping for everyone to get up. The whole bus smelled of exhaust and I remember opening my eyes and immediately feeling sick. As it turns out, the entire back window and sides of the bus actually fell out, and was dragging behind us, and the suction from us driving was bringing exhaust into the sleeping area. It was also snowing inside the bus... hahahaha. It was both scary and hilarious.

Let's take a look back... You jumped to prominence in the nu-metal scene fairly quickly back in the early 2000's, what do you think now when you looked back at what you achieved back then? What do you think of the Spit album these days?

I look back at that time in my life fondly, but it wasn't without chaos, too. Nothing is ever perfect, and there was a lot of difficult hurdles to overcome back then, and I am still surprised and amazed that we turned out as well rounded as we did. We certainly were able to experience that last of the 'good old days' of the music industry, when bands made money and people still bought CDs. Its given me a lot of perspective on the business.

You've had quite a few lineup changes, with bass players in particular. How do you feel about the current line-up? Do you still have contact with any of your old band mates?

Well, the current line-up is also the longest standing stable line-up we have had as a band, with Tara being a part of 3 albums and Ivy, 2, so I think its safe to say that things are going well and the chemistry between us is undeniable. We are in a good place as a band right now. I do keep in contact with a few ex members of the band, namely Tanya, who was Kittie's first bass player, and recorded the bass on Spit and Trish who was in the band during the Funeral For Yesterday era, both whom are considered best friends of mine.

Any plans to do a DVD? A DVD with live footage, video clips, documentary?

We would LOVE to do something like that. I think the world needs to see the band we have become now, and witness all the fun we have as a band now, as grown ups hahaha. If they thought Spit In Your Eye was crazy, I'd love for them to experience what a tour with Kittie is like now!

How important is social networking for you? Kittie is active on different platforms, but quite frequently one has to move on... Will we find Kittie soon on Google+?

I think with the way technology is so intermixed with everyday life now, its impossible to escape social networking of any kind and its essential for a band to be a part of it. We try our best to stay current and represent ourselves online the way we would in real life; down to earth, easily approachable, and very much at the wheel of our career. I'm not sure Google+ is catching on the way some anticipated it to, but I personally have a Google+ account, and if it seems to become a bit more relevant then certainly, we will make it happen!

What's next on your schedule? Can you tell us what are your plans for 2012?

We plan on continuing to tour on I've Failed You for as long as we can, and have quite a few things in the works, as well as some international stuff that we will be announcing soon!

As Kittie always loved touring, I'm pretty sure, they will be on the road for quite awhile. Musically they changed - or like Morgan said evolved - and so they sound a bit different now. Let's see what the future holds for Kittie, but one things for sure, they won't give up and they will fight to live their dream!

Claudia Ehrhardt


Morgan Lander - live in Cologne
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Morgan Lander - January 7th 2010 - Cologne (D), Underground

Before the show in Cologne's Underground I had the chance for a short chit-chat with Morgan Lander to catch up with latest developments.
Click here to listen to the interview!

Claudia Ehrhardt


© Kittie

Morgan Lander - November 23rd 2009 (telephone interview)

Kittie have a new album out and they already toured the US to promote In The Black. Asking about the US tour Morgan told me: "It was amazing! So much fun, even if we were all slightly different. It was nice that the album came out before the tour, so there was a lot singing along!" As the album is out for a few weeks Kittie already got some feedback and I was curious to know, if they are satisfied so far... "Quite honestly, we were a little surprised, especially about the media response." Looks like Morgan and the girls were more then a bit surprised - also be the feedback they got on tour... But again the band had to face some line-up change, now Ivy Vujic plays the bass. "Ivy has her own stlye, like every musician. We had some line-up changes, but Ivy is here to stay!" Morgan explains. She continues "It's been a crazy ride and I think some line-up changes were based on our age. We were 16 when we started, still in high school and apart from our friends. We got older, got more mature and choose different directions." It's quite natural that when you grow up, you change and that effects everything. But the Lander sisters keep going! In The Black has some quite heavy tunes, but the clean vocals smoothen the edges. Add some catchiness. "We always included melody to our songs from day one. You know, there is darkness and light in our songs. Not everybody enjoys the screaming. We hope that it attracts a broader fan base..." As far as I knew they were without a label when they recorded In The Black... "It's true we had no label at that time. It was very liberating, a no pressure scenario. It's no necessarily someone breathing down your neck... But because there were no expectations, but we wanted to do our best, we wanted to deliver the best album we can." explains Morgan. Kittie did 2 videos for the album and I wanted to know why they choose Sorrow I Know and Cut Throat. "Quite honestly, Cut Throat wasn't my first choice... We wanted something more metal first and our label said that the song is under 3 minutes and so has better possibilities to get played. It was a label decision, but I'm very happy with this decision." Morgan said. "Sorrow I Know is for me the strongest song of the album. It was long in the work before the album, so we played it live and we tweaked it. The song is dark... spooky. We definitely wanted to push this one!" she continues. These days there aren't so many TV show who play videos and so Kittie - like many others - have their own YouTube channel and I heard that they want to post footage from the coming European tour there.... "I guess we are on YouTube for 1 ½ year or 2 years... We did quite a few updates. It's fun to do a video tour diary-kinda thing. For us it's an important part of keeping in touch with our fans." Morgan told me. And I think that especially for their American fans it's interesting, coz many of them never been abroad... "It's funny that people don't get it that it's normal life everywhere, just a different culture. We had so many amazing experiences on tour! We played Russia last year... Amazing. And Chile / Brazil where we didn't know what to expect, but music is the universal language and in the end the people are all the same. They want to have fun!&qout;" Which is quite true, but Morgan added "We want to show the people what's going on backstage, how it is to be on tour." Time to talk about something different, not about the music, but the clothing line Morgan and her sister Mercedes started a few years ago. "Oh, it's going well. We hadn't much time to focus on it 100% lately. We never had the intention to make it big, just an online store. We wanted to do clothes as a kind of extension of our music and style. We wanted to have something different, not the typical hoodies and stuff." Morgan explained. I was wondering, if they will have it on tour... "We had it on tour, but I don't know, if we can have it internationally... But we will have flyers and stickers with the website to promote it." They will hit the road in January for a club tour, but what about festivals? "We would love to play festivals! We are definitely interested in doing festivals and we work on things, but I can't tell you more at the moment." the blond singer adds. And with Massacre Records talking care of Kittie in Europe the chances aren't bad... "It's nice to have some international press and we hope that the exposure helps with album sales and touring.... We haven't been over in years, we have to get over now. We keep our fingers crossed, coz it's a kind of new beginning for us." Morgan told me. "We will play something from almost every album, but focusing on In The Black. We might play something from Spit, too. It will be an in-your-face rock show! We want to have an amazing time and we want the people to have an amazing time. It will be a high energy live show and we hope the people walk out happy..." Kittie seems to make no compromises, that they follow their hearts... "It's all about having fun, we wouldn't continue to do this, if it wouldn't be fun. The music industry changed and it's not getting easier..." she added. And it's quite true, but Kittie are willing to go back to the small clubs, to play wherever they can. They aren't looking for the easiest way to make it, they stick to their guns. I'm looking forward to see them on tour in January and we already talked about a little follow-up interview... So stay tuned!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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