INTERVIEW: The Katherines

The month of May has been the month of The Katherines.

This is only the beginning for Kate Kurdyak, Lauren Kurdyak, and Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher in the adventures of being The Katherines. The trio was officially announced as a band at the beginning of this month, which has been a notion long in the making. Their debut single ‘Cherry Lips’ was released on iTunes today, and their debut album To Bring You My Heart is slated for release later this year.

Don’t be mistaken by the newly minted band status of the group – the three have been performing together for a long time, with accolades including Youthink Magazine’s BC’s Best Teen Band back in 2012. Last Friday, the band played their first show as The Katherines at the Biltmore Cabaret and proved that they are ones to watch this year.

I had the opportunity to chat with The Katherines before they headed on stage about musical influences, what it means to be a Katherine, their debut single, and much more.

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asapmusicblog.ca: What was the first song in your memory that inspired you to pursue music?

Lauren Kurdyak: Maybe ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on the porch.

Kate Kurdyak: What was that song we used to sing… Lauren and I, when we were kids we used to perform in the living room with like candleholders as mic stands. We used to sing ‘Jane’ by Jefferson Starship, and that was sort of the first time I was like, ‘Performing is fun!’

Lauren: We’d wear dance clothes.

Kate: We used to make all of our family and my parent’s friends watch us, it was super obnoxious and annoying…

Lauren: That was definitely our go-to favourite song.

Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher: I think that’s every performer kid’s thing, like putting on shows for the entire family, lip-synching.

Kate: We used to do that a lot!

A: I saw the three of you guys perform at the 604 Records Christmas party, at that time, it was obviously as Kate’s band. At the same time, you guys definitely had this great chemistry as well as a definite group vibe going on. What led to the decision of becoming a full on trio?

Kate: That’s a good question. Basically how it went down was I sort of did the album as solo, and as we started playing shows more and started playing songs, it just became really clear that there was something super special about having the two of them on stage and as part of the project. They’re also – you guys are my best friends, sister, Kaitlyn I’ve known since we were three, we were in preschool together. It was just a combination of just sort of the comfort and fun that was being had as well as the chemistry that was happening on stage that made it seem like, ‘Oh wait! Maybe we should be a band.’

A: How did you land on The Katherines as your band name?

Kate: It took us forever to find a band name.

Kaitlyn: We’ve been trying to find a band name for four years!

Lauren: The first one was like Kate Kurdyak & Red Sky, which was terrible.

Kaitlyn: One day we were Kate Kurdyak & friends…

Kate: There’s been a lot of bad ones.

Kaitlyn: … Kate Kurdyak & 14th Avenue.

Kate: Someone suggested it – Charlie [Kerr] from JPNSGRLS actually suggested it. Jonathan [Simkin], our manager really, really liked it and he e-mailed us and we’re like, ‘oh, hey!’

Kaitlyn: It took us awhile to warm up to it, I think.

Kate: Now that it’s settled, I’m kind of into it. I think it just sort of fits who we are, I guess.

A: So there’s a band called The Veronicas, and their name is based on Veronica Lodge from Archie Comics. If you had to define what kind of personality a “Katherine” has, what would be the answer to that?

Kate: Katherine is… a badass.

Kaitlyn: But a classy badass.

Lauren: Witty.

Kate: I think a Katherine is just someone who’s not afraid to be who they are and be really confident and proud of that. All three of us have very different personalities…

Kaitlyn: So I don’t think there’s one set personality, I think the definite trait of a Katherine is really confidence.

Kate: That’s a very cool question.

Kaitlyn: You’re helping us define ourselves, this is awesome.

Kate: What is a Katherine? I’m going to think on that and come up with something better.

Lauren: We can mix our different personalities together.

Kaitlyn: The best things about you, the best things about you, the best things about me and make a Katherine.

Kate: Lots of charisma, super fun, and just funny – a jokester.

Kaitlyn: Pretty carefree.

Kate: Then there’s also this part of her that is sort of mysterious, emotional, and poetic… and then I don’t know what I am.

Kaitlyn: Definitely strong-willed and a strong woman. Passionate.

A: You mentioned that the three of you have very different personalities. Musical influence wise, are there differences or similarities?

Kate: Totally. Different backgrounds growing up a little bit, I think. (To Kaitlyn) What were you listening to with your parents?

Kaitlyn: I don’t know, I’ve always wished that I was one of those kids that my parents had trained me from the get go with all the classics their entire lives and I just didn’t have that. My parents really listened to salsa music my entire upbringing, so I really liked dancing in the beginning and stuff. I was really influenced by musical theatre early on, so I was definitely a musical theatre kid and really got a lot of my influences from really strong musical theatre ballads and dance numbers. I started listening to a lot of Queen when I was eight years old, there was only one CD ever in my car and it was a Queen CD – that influenced me a lot.

Kate: And then on the Kurdyak side of things, we both are classically trained – we did tons of classical music. I played violin all through elementary school and high school, like intensely violin. I did piano, so did [Lauren]. We went to the symphony a lot, so there’s a lot of classical. So I’d say it’s a combination of classical and classic rock but then also just the stuff that’s been on the radio since we were listening to the radio.

Kaitlyn: You know what I just realized, I think you’re the one who burned me my Queen CD!

Kate: Oh, there you go! Queen is good.

Lauren: Definitely an influence.

Kate: In high school, I went through an emo songwriter phase and I listened to a lot of Damien Rice. Just super, super unnecessarily depressing music was my steez.

Kaitlyn: It really came through in her writing style, as well.

Kate: But it’s evolved a lot. I’m a huge fan of pop music now, honestly. Alternative music. I love Arcade Fire – I’m on a big Arcade Fire kick right now. More and more, I’m liking music for its content – I really like when it says something interesting and meaningful. I think that there’s something so cool about using music as a way to talk about social issues and even just to talk about love in a meaningful way. I think that there’s something so amazing about being able to use music to do that.

Lauren: Also musically too, I think when you listen to Mumford & Sons, there’s a song where the tempo changes…

Kate: Yeah! We’ll just geek out in the car and I’ll be like, ‘Oh my god! Listen to this! It changes from 4/4 to 3/4! Wait for it… wait for it… here it is!’ and we just freak out.

A: This past month has been a month of debuts. You guys announced yourselves as a band, your first show as a band, your first single coming out on Tuesday, and your first music video is coming soon. What can you tell us about your first single, “Cherry Lips”?

Kate: “Cherry Lips” – it’s one of the more alternative ones on the album. I recorded it in Toronto about this time last year and it’s actually about one of the girls’ relationships, and that’s the only one on the album that is. But it’s actually kind of cool that it’s the first single and it’s about someone else’s relationship.

It’s basically about this guy, and it’s about this girl’s relationship to this guy. They’re really good for each other and they have this sort of chemistry and connection, but he’s at this place in his life where he has this need to experience things and be free. He’s kind of obsessed with the idea that he needs to go out and do all of these things that he thinks he’s missing in his life. It’s not really compatible with the relationship, so it’s about having to reconcile with that.

The key phrase in it is ‘I let you run’ – so it’s just about that, it’s about when you need to let go. Even sometimes, you can be perfect for someone and they can be perfect for you and just something about it just doesn’t work. It’s kind of about the sadness in that, but I think there’s also a bit of hope too. It’s also a bit of an ‘I’m gonna be okay’ song in a way, I think the undertone of it is that.

A: I know that obviously you guys are focused on the show tonight, but what can we expect from The Katherines for the remainder of this year?

Kate: So single release on Tuesday, and then music video release shortly after, and then after that I think we’re going to go to radio and hope that something happens with radio. Then we’re just going to play shows…

Lauren: Lots of shows, hopefully!

Kaitlyn: Hopefully so many shows. That’s the best part.

Kate: We want to play all-ages shows. After we release the first song, it’s going to just be go, go, go trying to meet as many people as we can, play for as many people as we can – that sort of stuff.

A: If there was a takeaway message from your music that you would want it to convey, what might that be?

Kate: People in your lives are important. I mean, the music is so much about the relationships in your life, whether it’s romantic or friendship. Even our band itself is about friendship more than anything else. The Katherines is built on friendship – that’s the biggest thing that brought us together. The kind of theme, at least with this album in my mind, I don’t know if you guys are going to agree with this – is about connection and people and relationships.

Lauren: Yeah, the title is To Bring You My Heart.

Kate: Exactly, it’s just about giving your heart to people and being proud of your heart and just who you are. How people affect who you are and your life.

Kaitlyn: I think it’s a cool thing to have as the first thing we put out there because we’re trying to connect with so many people and that’s kind of what we’re putting on the table.

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‘Cherry Lips’ is now available on iTunes here. For more information on The Katherines, head over to: http://katherinesband.com.