Kittie’s Morgan Lander Talks Evolution of Band’s Music, Women in Metal + More
Canadian metal act Kittie have been on tour relentlessly in promotion of their sixth studio album ‘I’ve Failed You,’ and Loudwire recently had the chance to sit down and chat with frontwoman Morgan Lander prior to the band’s concert in New York City.
Lander talked all about the band reuniting with bassist Trish Doan, being in the music business since she was a teenager, some of the other women in metal she admires and much more. Check out our full conversation with Morgan Lander below:
You and the band seem very hands on in setting up your own instruments onstage prior to a performance. Is there a reason you do it yourselves as opposed to having a crew do it for you?
There’s a few factors, just basically the industry the way that it is, we’ve had to downsize and downscale a lot of things as a lot of bands have, but for the most part it keeps us grounded. I know how I want my stuff, I know exactly what I would like it to sound like – the other girls feel the same way. I don’t know it’s just something that keeps us humble and grounded, we’ve always kind of been like that – even at the height of our career we’ve just been very involved, even in the business aspect of things.
We’ve been very knowledgeable; it’s not like just throw it up onstage and play and that’s all we do. I feel like it’s better that way, you know what’s going on. In some regards it does take away from the whole mystique of the show but at the same time we like to push the idea that we’re normal human beings, as well; we’ve always been like that – go into the crowd and talk to people. We’re not above anyone and we’re not above doing that.
How do you think Kittie’s music has developed since the release of ‘Spit’ in 1999 to your current release ‘I’ve Failed You’?
Well that’s really difficult and easy to answer – obviously I’m 30 years old now and when ‘Spit’ came out I was 17 years old, so there’s a good 12, 13 years of life experience, of touring professionally, of being immersed in the industry and also learning your instruments and getting deeper into the metal scene. Even if we didn’t try obviously our music would have evolved over time just by default and by sheer being thrown into the water. It definitely has not been a conscious effort to try to evolve the way that we have I think it’s all been very natural – with every album you can hear the progression.
Nowadays, it helps that we have a bit more of a steady lineup so we’re all able to grow together as a unit which has, especially in the last few albums, has been really apparent musically. You can tell it’s been the same people for quite a few years, it helps.
How has it been bringing Trish Doan back into the mix?
Awesome, it’s been really fun. Trish has been one of my best friends for quite a while and it was really nice to have her back. It wasn’t something we originally thought would actually happen just because of job logistics and that stuff – she expressed interest right away and it just worked out. We’re happy to have her back.
You and your sister Mercedes have been doing music for a long time. When you were growing up, was there a female influence or just a moment where you realized how strongly women can affect the metal scene?
It’s funny because I’ve never really had role models musically that were female and maybe that’s why we chose to walk down the path that we did but that’s not to say that there aren’t amazing, strong great musical female role models out there. It’s just for myself I never wanted to emulate them. I don’t know what it is, my mom is a great role model for me – coming from a family with a very strong female matriarch it definitely helps.
I think when we started this band, we were too young to understand the impact we would have or the controversy surrounding being a woman in metal, taking on what are perceived to be male roles but I think it’s cool that people are into what we do. It seems like we’ve gained a lot of respect over the years, it’s still an uphill battle obviously but I feel like the more you point it out, the more people are going to see that it’s pointed out so we try to not make it about gender ’cause it’s not a genre — being a woman in a band is not segregating women, the answer to that question could just go on forever, it’s a huge topic.
Who are some of you favorite contemporary females in metal right now?
S— that’s really tough. I think it’s really cool that two of the Canadian bands [we're touring with] have women in them. I think Justine [Ethier] is an amazing drummer, she’s f—ing phenomenal, I have a lot of respect for her. Alyssa [White-Gluz] as well – been a fan of The Agonist for a while, we’ve wanted to do this tour for a while.
Obviously Angela [Gossow] of Arch Enemy – I appreciate her stance on the whole women in metal thing like how she’s very opposed to the Revolver Hottest Chicks in Metal thing. She’s spoken publicly about being against it and that sort of thing and I can really appreciate that – I would love to sit down and talk with her about all that stuff. I really dig Ipek from Wykked Wytch, they’re pretty cool – I’ve talked to her many times and she’s a really rad chick. There aren’t too many women in metal that I gravitate towards or listen to, but I’m surrounded by them obviously.
What is one thing you must bring on tour with you, no electronics.
Clean underwear, duh. [Laughs] Seriously packing for this tour it was like okay we have 46 shows in a row, no days off – I’m counting out my underwear 1 to 46, it’s a lot of underwear. It’s so important.