CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your music, what would it be and why?
K: I usually don’t like to describe the style of my music. I like to write it, think about it, develop songs, sing it, play it, record it. Those are the perspectives that I truly enjoy. But for some reason this is always one of the first questions in interviews! It always reminds me of the Frank Zappa quote about music journalism: “Most rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read”. Hahaha!
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
K: From so many things. Nature is one of my biggest inspirations. I grew up in a forest, which I think has made a huge difference in how I perceive nature and the respect I have for it. Also in my search for sound I think it makes a big impact. I work quite a lot in a sort of far away-area of The Catskills (these are beautiful mountains about 3 hours north of New York City). I have a work space there, my little ‘office’ with my old keyboards, my laptop and a note book. The view is a beautiful mountain. Growing up in Denmark; a land without real mountains and roaring rivers, has made me find the Catskills to be very inspiring being that I’m surrounded by Mother Nature’s temperament and the wilderness of the Catskills.
CH.89: What made you want to start a band?
K: I have been in many bands ever since I was a little girl! I even played in a band when I was a kid where all the kids and our dads played Danish 80’s songs, rehearsing in the back room of a fitness club, HA! Later in my teens during high school we had a fun, slightly experimental jazz band with a lame name where we rehearsed in the same room! The feeling of making something happen in a group with these instruments really was a kick. Anyway, I then got to know Daniel Fridell while recording my first album, and then it all started to take shape into making ‘a band’. I had found a kindred spirit in making music. Daniel is an amazing keyboardist and musician in general. He produced my first album, he can take the keys to some psychedelic overdrives that are just so cool and inspiring to me. And of course with meeting and teaming up with Joe Magistro, who has been a true wingman for my last couple of recording sessions (including the 2012-album “Where The River Turns Black” and my upcoming EP “Hidden Waters”!) has totally rocked my world. Joe is such a ‘rich’ musician, he has a natural, real soulful and at the same time ambitious approach to recording and he is really masterful in his drumming and musicianship in general, not to mention his ear for production. I always trust his taste level, his beat oriented production has really taken the music to another level for me. These two men, Daniel and Joe really are such a big part of what CALLmeKAT is musically. I am always in awe of their musicianships and they make it FUN to play and record music.
CH.89: How did the name CALLmeKAT come about?
K: My real name is Katrine. I couldn’t figure out a band name. But I knew I wanted a band name for sure. I wanted an alias for the sake of creative liberty. Not to be withheld by my ‘own’ boundaries, if you understand. So… anyway in my world all the good band names were taken, so I had to come up with something that didn’t hit rock bottom in terms of lameness…so I called it CALLmeKAT because Kat is what a lot of friends call me and it was only spelled this weird way because of internet-easiness… it wasn’t something about cleverness with little/big letters, but we decided to do it this way so you can see that the words are three different words and so you can find the music easily if you want to search for it, google it, etc… (we’re all slaves of the internet to some extent…scary!?).
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new album?
K: Mostly for me it is about soaking up impressions, inspirations, sentiments for a while and document my ideas on my dictaphone app on my phone (I used to use a real dictaphone, but nowadays I just use the phone). Then at some point take the time to get into the ‘writing-space’, dive into it and really get under the skin of the ideas. I usually have some sort of idea of what I want to move away from and what I want to move towards, in terms of direction sound-wise. I always want to do something else! Improve, do it better. You know – nail it. And then move on to the next chapter and do something better again. I think it is important to keep evolving, keeping a lookout towards new coasts. That is inspiring to me.
CH.89: What would you want people/ the listener to take from your music?
K: Whatever they want to! Really. You can’t force people to like something or even love it, not to mention dance to it!!!!!! Hehe. Hopefully it will be a good experience, but all ears are different. So you never know. But on the bottom line and on a practical level I hope people like it to the extent that they buy the music and come to the next shows, so I can afford to do the next album/recording/etc.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
K: It is a vagabond life. I love many things about it but when the bills come I hate it! I am lucky that my lovely fans from all over the world are generous in soul. I feel that they don’t judge. They probably know that I need to do what I need to do! And I am lucky to have a low rent and be able to do my records in a fairly sustainable matter financially. It has its true ups and downs. I prefer the flexibility. But in a perfect world I would definitely prefer that I could take it to the next level in terms of the business-side so that in my daily life the bills were not so scary/the money a little less scarce!
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
K: I don’t think I have a strong opinion on that really. To me it always is some sort of a mix. My own processes are so different every time. Each SONG has a different process. But I think it is always good for me to have some sort of an idea of a projected body of work to work my way towards. And some deadlines/defined work modules (weeks/months where I do specific things). But sometimes the work defines itself. This was the case with my upcoming EP. These songs just seemed to me a little unit in their own right and fitted my general idea of working with the EP media for a while (I want to do several…let’s see).
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist?
K: I learn major lessons all the time I think.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
K: No. I regard the idea and the execution of the idea as being of highest importance. Ambition and dedication to and respect for the process and end result are important.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
K: I don’t think about it that way, but I guess the financial side of it can be pretty tiring. And also on a logistic level it takes serious work to keep up with the people in your life, when you’re away for long stretches of time. Which can be hard.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
K: To come up with an idea and make it happen. To meet the wonderful people that I meet on my way. To listen to the magic of other musicians. To travel the world with a purpose (this is one of the best things about being a musician – you see all these far out places that you’d never have seen if you were on vacation or something like that).
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
K: Yes. And I like reading all sorts of literature and watch stupid videos on youtube as well as great live music videos from the 60’s and 70’s. I never get tired of listening to Neil Young, The Kinks, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Also jazz and classical music. And I love to watch documentaries. Werner Herzog’s documentaries are favorites. They are so full of empathy for the human nature and for the earth and they often make me so emotional and sort of humble to the beauty of nature! Also for entertainment I love Woody Allen’s whole body of work and his amazing sense of dialog and sceneries. Just never gets boring to me. There are so many things about film that I find inspiring. I often find inspiration in other art forms than just music really. There is a great documentary on Netflix about Gerhard Richter. Watching him doing his art, this man on a latter with these arms holding great, long, specially constructed instruments for painting and the movements and results in the paintings is like the most beautiful music to me!
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
K: I guess this time and age is really a transitional one for people on music and everything seems so ‘up in the air’. There can be good things and many bad things said about that, but I don’t know if it makes a difference to say them. This is the way we communicate now. And for me it is about finding an honest and sustainable way of doing what I do and try to make a living at the same time. I think it has sort of always been like that for artists, no matter what time of age we live in.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
K: I don’t know. You have to ask those people! Everyone views the world differently anyway. I think it is hard to generalize.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
K: It is one of my absolutely favorite things about being a touring musician. I have many favorite places. One of them is Reykjavik. I have often stopped here to visit friends and relax somehow on my way to or from America. It is my ‘secret’ days off. This is where I beat the jet lag and breathe between going to or from projects. And you don’t stress around there, because there aren’t too many things to do. Nature is amazing and the air is the best.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
K: No. It depends on what mood I am in – what time of the year. It is temperamental for me. Right now I am reading my way through a heavy 6 volume piece of work by the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård. It is amazing.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your music?
K: YES! Just last night I finished the mixes for a brand new EP. This will be released at the end of this fall. It is called ‘Hidden Waters’ and I am so happy about it.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
K: It is just a label. What means something is what you actually do.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your music?
K: I think the new EP is about taking a turn towards something more ‘raw’, beat-driven and at the same time joyful in spirit. My old vintage Farfisa organ plays a big part. So does a mini grand piano that was sitting in the studio that actually sounds amazing when you play pirate-style piano on it!!!
CHECK OUT MORE ON: CALLmeKAT