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Kitten Forever Premieres 'Brainstorm': BUST Interview

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Your favorite anthropomorphic riot-kittens debut their teaser track from their upcoming album 7 Hearts today! Kitten Forever, a three-piece punk band from Minneapolis, merge Lisa Frank girl power with childhood riot grrrl faves in "Brainstorm," a chanting unofficial tribute to Kanye West. Not actively seeking to be labeled as riot grrrl or feminist, they have been described as such by fans for being kickass ladies kicking ass. Helping to maintain women’s contribution to a white male-dominated punk underbelly, these ladies know their shit. Members Corrie Harrigan, Laura Larson, and Liz Elton, not being confined to their instruments through frequent playing and songwriting pass-offs, practice their craft with the goal of sisterhood in mind. Yet, their prerogative is the same as any punk band out there: have fun, speak your mind, keep it DIY, and make badass raw punk. 

We're excited to exclusively premiere Kitten Forever's newest track, "Brainstorm," catch up about their new album 7 Hearts (pre-order on iTunes here!) and talk riot grrrl.


Tell me about the new album, have you been working on it since 2013?


CORRIE HARRIGAN: We went on one or two big tours in 2013 and toured twice in 2014. We spent a lot of time touring. We hard part of this whole plan that we were gonna spend a lot of time writing our next record and we didn’t. Half the record we already had written shortly after Pressure came out. Then there came a point where we weren’t sure what we were going to do with our next record, the process of finishing it up was all tied into how we were going to put it out. And the album ended up on hold until 2015.

Is it a different label this time than it was for Pressure?

CH: Yeah, Pressure was on a local label in Minneapolis called Guilt Ridden Pop. And this one is being released on JD Samson’s [of Le Tigre] label, Atlas Chair. It came about because we played the Jack Off Jill reunion show in North Carolina last summer and JD [Samson] DJed that show. We played with JD previously with MEN, but when we played that Jack Off Jill with her [Jessicka Addams] she approached us about putting the album out then.

How was playing with Jack Off Jill, was it crazy?

CH: Yeah, it was a really cool experience for us. We have never played a show of that size before. Specifically for me and Laura, we grew up listening to Jack Off Jill, Clear Hearts Grey Flowers was a huge album for us when we were 14. We first weirdly met Jessicka [Addams] from Jack Off Jill in the summer of 2013. We were on tour and she out-of-nowhere on our first day of tour tweeted at us and said that she really liked us and were welcome to come to LA at anytime. We tweeted back at her and were like, “Uhhh...YES. We’re going to be in LA in 5 days, you should come see us!” And she did! And we developed a relationship with her from there. One day she emailed us and asked us to come out and do this big show and it was a really crazy experience for us. Watching them was great. Something I never thought I would get to do.

After watching your documentary it confirmed for me that you are, in fact, into riot grrrl. Are you keeping the scene alive or are you doing something different?

CH: That’s probably up for someone else to decide. I think that we’re operating under an awareness of our place in that historical timeline. We are giving reference to a lot of our influences. But we get compared to being a riot grrrl band a lot because we are an all-girl band, but whether women are trying to maintain that scene, I think people today are trying to do something different and not just try to recreate the same feeling again. I don’t really think that’s possible.



There’s a revival of "girls that just wanna have fun," so they’re recreating what they listened to growing up. There’s this debate as to whether riot grrrl is continuing in a different wave or form, or whether it’s dead and this is nothing new, and how to define it.

CH: Generally, I feel a weird hesitation to be like, “Are we in the fourth wave? Is that happening right now?” That feels like a weird thing to define. But it definitely feels like there’s been a revival, not just musically, but culturally, in terms of criticism and thoughts and purpose.

In your documentary, you talk about how the 90s riot grrrl movement excluded voices from women of color. You mentioned how the newer "scene," is cognizant of those exclusions, have you noticed that in the new scene? And in what ways?

CH: To say that the new scene has it all figured out is not necessarily true, as most faces and voices in pop culture are predominantly white. But what our generation is trying to do is talk about that problem more openly than they ever have before. I feel like a band like Downtown Boys is a really awesome example of a really amazing punk band with a woman of color at the forefront talking about these issues and people are listening. I think that they are best punk bands in the scene right now, whatever the ‘scene’ means, DIY music, I would look at them as one of the greatest bands playing right now. They are making a point to make these issues the forefront of what they’re doing, and I think people [in general] are doing that now more than ever before.

"Brainstorm" still sounds like Kitten Forever. Tell me about “Brainstorm."

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CH: It’s a funny song on the album because it was one of the last songs that we finished writing. Now that we do this thing where we switch instruments and songwriting duties, we try to divvy up the sounds in such a way that we have this even workload across bass drums and singing. We already had the music for it pretty early on but never finished it and set it aside. We had the idea that we’d write a song that we all sing on.

LIZ ELTON: It’s one of the only songs we’ve all written together, except for maybe “Get Loud." It was written with the intent of being chanty, it’s not a well-developed ballad or something.

CH: I think this song has a really weird inspiration in the beginning. One week before we wrote it, I had this idea, “I want to write a song that sounds like this Kanye song.” I think it’s “Power,” the one whose intro is clapping and chanting. To say that that Kanye song was the inspiration for this song is really funny, but it’s true, it was.



What else were you listening to while writing the new album?

CH: We got asked to do this cover show that they do here in Minneapolis, where you cover famous women artists. We got asked to do it and we chose to cover Beyonce.

LE: For some reason we thought, “let’s cover a really complex pop, something that’s completely out of our range,” instead of something like Bratmobile. They suggested to us that we do Bratmobile and we were like, “We’re gonna do Beyonce!” and we were like, “How dare they suggest that [Bratmobile], we’re gonna do Beyonce!” It turned into three practices a week for five hours. Beyonce songs are just beats, and Laura, was able to turn them into bass parts. It was insane and all-consuming. I was dreaming Beyonce songs. I feel like it influenced the new album in this way where there’s things that are the direct opposite of Beyonce songs.

CH: It’s definitely one of the weird things that influenced the writing of the album, because we stopped writing the album in the middle to learn how to play Beyonce songs. Some of the new songs, I’ll hear parts of them and think, “Oh man, that sounds like that one Beyonce song,” but it doesn’t, because it just sounds like that bass version of a cover we did of a Beyonce song that is vaguely similar to. No one else will ever hear that. I think it pushed a little in our songwriting.



Before I let you go, there are so girl bands now and it's awesome. One thing the riot grrrl got right was putting women on the stage, giving us bands to idenitify with, and teaching women that we can play music too. Do you think it’s rad that there are so many women passing the torch or do you think that feminism is being exploited?

CH: It’s weird to think that feminism is trendy right now, especially for those of us who have dedicated our lives to something that is now a pop-culture trend. But it doesn’t bother me that much, I guess, because there are much worse things that could be trendy. I feel so glad to be alive in a time when feminism is trendy. When I was 14 or 15, the music I was listening to rap rock and nu-metal, like Korn and Tool.

Sounds like we had similar high school experiences.

CH: That’s what was trendy when we were kids, and I would much rather be a 15 year old today and have things be so accessible to me. I’m so happy to be alive and participating in a time that that’s happening. If young girls see a million women playing in bands, then maybe they will continue it after the trend is over.

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