It’s not enough to say EDM pop artist Kat Solar is dedicated to her craft – the artist staying weeks at a time with producers to garner that desired sound, and locking herself away days at a time with only sheets of music and a guitar before emerging with fresh melodies and rhythms. While Solar has some specific influences, at the root of her inspiration is the desire to just write good songs – music that shines no matter the genre it’s played in.
Solar started out her musical crusade with a debut record titled Snake Eyes, but we’re here today to discuss her latest effort, a collection titled Infinity. She told us what to expect: “I worked with a few different producers who had tracks that really inspired me so most of the songs began with the track first which is not always the case. I co-wrote all the songs with my writing partner Jay Max. We are close friends and creative partners on many aspects of Kat Solar so we had a lot of fun. It’s always really intimate to write a song so it’s important for me to have a connection with whoever I write with. Jay is a kindred spirit so the writing process is always really special.” She continues, “My new album is much more dance EDM driven in terms of the production, but I think you could take any of the songs and play them on acoustic guitar or piano and have a completely different sound. It has a lot of different influences and inspirations. Each song tells its own story and comes from a personal place. It’s EDM with heart and soul.”
Click to http://katsolar.com to check out Infinity and Kat’s live show schedule – it’s been said her stage performance is like “Cher plays Arlene’s Grocery”…clearly, you don’t want to miss out. Click away quickly as Solar is already working on new music…of course, right after you finish reading every answer to the XXQs below.
XXQs: Kat Solar
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?
Kat Solar (KS): It’s difficult for me to describe my sound. I would say musically I have lot of different influences. I think everything starts with a good song. My new album is much more dance EDM driven in terms of the production, but I think you could take any of the songs and play them on acoustic guitar or piano and have a completely different sound. In fact, I did that with “Infinity” and a new song called “Never Stop”. It was really fun to strip them down and sing them that way with just me and guitar. Infinity album had a lot of different influences and inspirations. Each song tells its own story and comes from a personal place. It’s EDM with heart and soul.
PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
KS: I was into and loved a lot of different music. I grew up listening to a lot of Pop and Soul and Motown. Had the influence of two brothers a decade older than myself as well and my parents who have eclectic taste. Not sure which was the very first concert I went to, but when I was very young my babysitter had me help at the door at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit for The Cranberries and also for Hole. Dolores O’Riordan and Courtney Love were both so powerful and such amazing forces as performers in very different ways. I had never seen anything like it. Totally blew me away. Depeche Mode was my first larger concert. I went with the same babysitter and her husband who was in the band Nitzer Ebb so I was able to go backstage and meet the band. That was quite the experience for my little self. Got a real glimpse into the ‘rock star’ life.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like?
KS: I feel like I lived many different lives in the city as an artist. In the very beginning, I didn’t have any of my own material recorded yet but I wanted to sing and perform so I would go around to different jazz clubs and sing cover songs trying to make them different from the original. I spent a ton of time in Lincoln Center library printing off sheet music to bring to give the piano players or the band. I remember one of my favorite covers was “Nightswimming” by REM and “The Logical Song” by Supertramp. I also sang with a few different indie rock bands. Then I met a producer who I worked with for many years. At one point I actually moved upstate with him and his wife. I had my room there with my books and my guitars and all I did was work on music 24/7. I learned so much from him and during that time. It changed everything for me.
KS: I like to take people away with me during my shows. Expect the unexpected :-). Even when I started at the smallest clubs in the city, I was dragging along a huge truck with costumes and props, headpieces. One bartender was overheard telling someone who asked what my show was like that, “It’s Cher plays Arlene’s Grocery” – the club I was playing that night. For anyone who knows the city, that story always gets a laugh because it’s not a typical performance you would expect at that club. I always love it so much because it’s kind of an oxymoron to have a Cher-like production at Arlene’s Grocery but I will take it any day.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?
KS: In a way my mind goes totally clear. When I am about to go onstage I enter a different world. In that world, I can be anything.
PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?
KS: The connection between myself and the audience. Taking people away and connecting with them and sharing a feeling, whatever that feeling is. Songs change when I play them for an audience. They become alive and go beyond how I experience them when other people share the experience with me.
PEV: What was your underlying inspiration for becoming a musician?
KS: Music is a kind of magic. Music connects people everywhere in a way that goes beyond words. I love that.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
KS: Yes. It has been such a journey and such a process. I feel like I have had many different lives and chapters that all kind of led me back to what I loved doing when I was 5; telling stories, putting on shows, playing imaginary games and dress-up, make believe.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?
KS: I think people would be surprised to hear that I am very shy. I’m not that way around close friends and I am not that way when I am on stage performing. In many other ways, I am very much an introvert. There is a little thing circulating on the internet of a tiny little kitten alone with a caption ‘when you’re at a party with people you don’t know and your friend disappears.’ I totally relate to that.
PEV: What do you do when you hit a brick wall in your writing? What are some methods to get over that?
KS: I had a teacher who said you just have to write, write, write, every day just write. I think that is true but I also think sometimes you need to take a walk or go to the park. My writing partner Jay and I take a lot of walks or we will take a break and watch something funny like Veep.
PEV: How do you think the industry has changed over the years, since you started out?
KS: From what I know the industry has changed a lot in terms of artist development. Now it’s sort of up to the artist in some ways to develop themselves and their career and make things happen. They need to create a fan base, create their sound, their show. I think it gives the artist a lot of amazing freedom in a way, but I also think it makes it incredibly challenging for many artists to break out. I think artists have to be very creative and resourceful. At the same time, social media and technology has made it so anyone can make an album in their bedroom and share it with people all over the world. For this latest album, I worked with a producer in Italy on a few tracks whom I have never been in the same room with or met face to face.
PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, Infinity? What was the writing process like for this album?
KS: I worked with a few different producers who had tracks that really inspired me so most of the songs began with the track first which is not always the case. I co-wrote all the songs with my writing partner Jay Max. We are close friends and creative partners on many aspects of Kat Solar so we had a lot of fun. It’s always really intimate to write a song so it’s important for me to have a connection with whoever I write with. Jay is a kindred spirit so the writing process is always really special.
PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
KS: I would love to travel and play shows in Asia.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
KS: My family and friends have been very supportive. However, some friends have told me they were very surprised. I have a rich inner fantasy life that comes out in my performances and music that many didn’t know existed.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
KS: I love, love, love to travel and see new places. I love big cities, but I am a total nature girl at heart. I love cooking, getting lost in a good book, long walks. I love food and wine with a passion. Ha! Sounds like an online dating profile.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?
KS: Just one!! So hard. At this very moment, I would say Michael because he is Michael and he is everything. And the first dance move I tried to learn was the moonwalk. Current, maybe Eminem or Prince or David Bowie or Sam Smith. Ok that is four but still.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
KS: Taylor Swift. I think she might just be big :-). Just kidding. I love Troye Sivan. My friend who is a radio host in Melbourne turned me on to him and I can’t get enough.
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what would you do for a career?
KS: Maybe being in the CIA. That would be exciting. Or being a part of some other world and life changing company like Apple or Oculus Rift, you know? Or like a combination of ALL these things wrapped up in a superhero vigilante :-). In reality, this question always makes me have so many ideas because there are so many things I would love to do. For my shows, I conceptualize and help design all the costumes. Fashion is something I have loved ever since I was a child. I love to write and am working on a couple screenplays. Someday, I would love to have a farm with a restaurant maybe near Lake Michigan. Finally, there are several causes I am passionate about like the fight for equal rights and marriage equality as well as helping to educate and empower woman. These are long term life goals I have.
PEV: So, what is next for Kat Solar?
KS: Superhero vigilante/Designer Farmer? I’m working on my new live show and finishing up my album.
For more information, click to http://katsolar.com/.