Kittens Ablaze Interview: SXSW 2010
Featuring six members with disparate musical backgrounds -- including two classically-trained string players and a drummer who sings lead vocals -- Kittens Ablaze are hard to classify in a conventional sense. The New York-based group formed in 2007 and two years later released their first full-length, which was produced by Nic Hard (the Bravery, Aberdeen City). At their first show, former Clash guitarist Mick Jones burned a cigarette hole in the jacket of cellist Michelle Young, who spoke with Spinner about the band's second stint at SXSW.
Describe your sound in your own words.
Folk-punk-indie-chamber-rock. It's a dense wall of sound, and the process is like weaving a thick, cozy winter blanket. We've got six members but something like 10 instruments onstage. We have a really fun time in the studio playing with new toys.
How did your band form?
Grant [acoustic guitar] and Nick [bass] grew up together in Maine and were into punk and hardcore in high school, playing music in barns. Tim [drums/vocals] and Nate [the original electric guitar player] started playing together in college, where they were friends with Grant. They later moved to New York, where they spent some time experimenting with combining bleeps and bloops and analog instruments. Jenny [violin] was trained in the Suzuki method and can chop a violin in half with one swipe in mid air. She played in a few indie bands before she met Tim working in a psych lab at Columbia. Michelle played cello at Juilliard before college and never imagined she'd be in an indie rock band.
One day Nate, Tim, and their friend Brett decided to make a band. Grant showed up on the first day of practice and declared that he was in, too, saying "Let's do this, fools." They randomly met me in a pool through