Pop rock band Kitten released their second EP as a group, Goodbye Honeymoon Phase, on Friday (Oct. 18).
The band, consisting of frontwoman Chloe Chaidez, guitarists Dave Stagno and Parker Silzer, keyboardist Max Tsiring, bassist Blu DeTiger, and drummer Rex DeTiger, met in 2014 when Chaidez, who was living in a Bushwick collective space, heard Stagno playing and invited him to collaborate with her. Stagno then introduced Chaidez to Silzer, and his roommate Tsiring. The newly-formed group later met the DeTiger siblings at a Charli XCX-directed French Montana video shoot.
Although the six have branched out with their own separate projects throughout their five years with Kitten — Chaidez is a guitarist for the Charli XCX-backed Nasty Cherry and DeTiger is a solo musician — they always come back together because they know they have something special, the group says.
"At the end of the day we're all best friends," Chaidez explains. "The friendship always fuels the music. We create a culture of empowerment for everyone in this band who does separate things."
The group finds ways to put the music first, even if it means moving, such as when Chaidez transferred to Los Angeles to film the I'm With The Band: Nasty Cherry Netflix documentary.
"When we made Pink Champagne, we were in a studio in New York every single day for six months," Chaidez says. "With this EP, I was filming for 12 hours a day and any time off from filming I would just go to the studio, and they would have a beat, and I would bust out the lyrics. It was really crazy, but I think it made for some focused tracks. Decisions had to be made quickly."
Inspired by what they learned while being on tour last summer and the artists they surrounded themselves with in Los Angeles — Charli XCX, Dorian Electra, Mood Killer, and Caroline Polachek — the band agrees that this EP is their most reflective body of work so far.
As Kitten prepare for their supporting slot on the Waterparks North American Fandom tour and their feature in I'm With The Band: Nasty Cherry (out Nov. 15), Billboard sat down with Chaidez, Silzer, Stagno, and Tsiring to talk about being inspired by early 2000s music, working with Charli XCX, and what's up next.
What inspired you while creating this EP?
Chloe Chaidez: We've really been inspired by bands from the early 2000s: Smash Mouth, Linkin Park. Mike Shinoda produced "Me." I think the sound is a product of the internet age. For instance, the lyrics on "Memphis" are a bit chaotic. I think that's how I take in "content" on a daily basis.
Parker Silzer: When you've been doing music for a while like all of us have, you see how music regurgitates itself in 10, 20-year cycles. There was a little bit of calculation on our part of like, 'We've just been living through five, six years of insane '90s revivalism. We know what's happening next.' We all lived through the late '90s, early 2000s. We know all that music's coming back. We know if we start incorporating some of those sounds or concepts or visuals now, that's going to put us in a good place for what's coming next in music. It also comes from us living through that era and loving it. But then figuring out how to take that assessment of the future of music and combine it with contemporary sound, so it's not like we're a revival band. Nobody wants to do that.
What would you say is the lyrical theme of the EP?
Dave Stagno: It leans heavily into the nostalgia and longing to be back in your hometown or teenage years.
Silzer: I think that's probably the through line in all the songs — the sense of yearning for what once was.
Chaidez: I wanted to empower people, empower women.
Stagno: I want people to relate. I want people to listen to the songs and think back to a time in their life when they felt that way. That's what I want when I listen to music. My favorite songs take me back to a particular moment in my life. If we could do that [for the fans], I'd be happy.
What was the inspiration behind your single "Me" and the video?
Chaidez: I wanted to depict my experience on this Netflix show and how that felt.
Silzer: We had an opportunity. We knew we were going to be putting out this music and then the Netflix show was going to be announced. And Chloe had just been through this whole process of being under intense camera scrutiny for months. It's an intense psychological toll. We thought it would be an opportunity to if anyone sees our band on the Nasty Cherry show and says, 'Hey, Kitten. I'd like to know a little bit more about these guys,' they can go see that our latest video is this weirdo reality TV show. Maybe it makes us look a little cheeky and subversive that we're commenting on our experience. It'll be a fun little Easter egg for someone.
You're going on tour with Waterparks in December. How did that come together?
Chaidez: I love them. I'm so excited and their fans are just unbelievable. They're really responding so well to us. Awsten [Knight, lead vocalist of Waterparks] had been a fan of Kitten before the tour was an option. I didn't even know that. I DMed him like, 'Hey, it would be dreamy if we went on tour.' And he was like, 'I okayed it. I'm waiting for you guys.' That never happens. I mean, how many times have I sent that message to bands?
What have you learned from working with people like Charli XCX?
Chaidez: She really just runs towards her ideas like an Olympic sprinter. I have been so inspired by her. She's a connoisseur of flow and I've really picked up on that. Any time that I'm tired, I'll just be like, 'Remember that time Charli got up at 6:00 a.m. to do a full day of press, and then a show, and then went to the studio. Okay, I can do this.'
Silzer: I feel like we all got a lot better living in L.A. just because it was like, 'Holy s–t. We have to be as good as these people.' You can't not be as good. You just have to make sure you're surrounding yourself with the most inspiring people.
What's can we expect from Kitten in 2020?
Silzer: We owe it to ourselves to do one [headlining tour].
Stagno: I think by the end of the fall, we'll be in a good position to do it right in the new year.
Chaidez: Definitely new music.
Silzer: We've got a real trove of like 70 percent-done songs.
Max Tsiring: Second quarter next year is my projection.
Looking to the more distant future, where do you hope to see the band?
Chaidez: Madison Square Garden.
Silzer: My dream is they make a Scooby-Doo cartoon, but it's about us. We do all the music. Every day we go on an adventure together. Maybe Chloe leaves her shoes somewhere at some crazy location and we have to go back and get the shoe. Things that actually happen, but it's all animated and we get zany music.
KITTEN TOUR DATES WITH WATERPARKS
December 3 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall
December 4 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
December 6 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity
December 7 – Kansas City, MO – The Truman
December 8 – Denver, CO – Summit
December 10 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
December 13 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
December 15 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
December 16 – San Francisco, CA – Regency Center
December 17 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues
December 18 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
December 20 – San Antonio, TX – Aztec
December 21 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
December 23 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Ballroom