Kittie’s Mercedes Lander: Our Songs Evolve, I’ve Never Played Them The Same Way Twice
Kittie's Mercedes Lander was a guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The drummer discussed the band's long-awaited Origins / Evolutions documentary and how the metal scene has changed for women now compared to when the band started. She also went into how the band's song's evolve over time and candidly spoke about what could potentially lie in Kittie's touring future. Check out the chat below.
Kittie have a documentary coming out called Origins / Evolutions. The heart of the documentary is the story of women empowered to defy stereotypes. What similarities are there between today's social climate and the course that you've taken as a band?
Well, it was a long, hard struggle for us. I think things are a lot different now than they were when we started in the mid-'90s. But with today's climate, I feel like there's a lot more of a positive dialogue about female empowerment and stuff like that. And back then I don't think there was a whole lot of that.
It didn't seem very positive. I think people kind of really focused on the fact that we were girls and for the wrong reasons. And I feel like now things are definitely a lot different. It's a lot easier to be a female in a band, especially in a metal band.
Compiling a documentary about your career is something that's both bold and vulnerable. At any time throughout the process did you think this is reliving or revealing things that make you uncomfortable?
Well, I mean, at any point, in anybody's career, you're going to obviously — nothing is gonna be 100 percent perfect. You're gonna have issues with personnel, all sorts of stuff happen, right? So when putting this documentary together I think - keeping that in mind, of course, we wanted to make sure that everybody if they were willing to, got to tell their side of the story. Obviously there are probably some parts of the interview, for other people - and for myself - that were uncomfortable but at the same time, I've lived it once already so, I mean, it can't get any worse, right?
This isn't really just a documentary. It includes a live CD as well. What goes through your mind when you're onstage now playing songs that were written when you were younger and less worldly?
Well, I don't know, maybe, 'Is this gonna be over soon?'
No, I'm kidding. It's interesting because you get to put your own spin on how you play the songs live now. And it's more or less like an updated version of the song, right? I've never played anything the same [way] twice and with this band in particular.
That's just kind of how I am with this band. The songs are going to continue to evolve, especially 20-something years later, playing these songs, they're gonna get a little different. And that's just due to playing them so many different ways every night.
You were really kids when Kittie started. What's changed most about you since then and what will always stay the same?
What will always be the same is just the fact that I like to have fun and I'm never quite too serious about much. And I think you kind of, once you get to see the documentary, a lot of people will think we're a little more serious than we actually were.
For things that have changed... I think with my sister and myself especially, because we dealt with a lot of the business side of things, I think we're a lot less trusting than we were. And that's due to dealing with a lot of stuff over the years. And that's perfectly fine. We seem to get by okay.
Being a band 20 years later probably wasn't on your radar when Kittie started. How has the longevity of the band changed your long term plans as a musician and as a person?
When we started this band, I was 12. So I really don't think I even had a long term plan at that point. I was 12. [laughs] I wasn't even in high school yet. That was really - I don’t think it's ever changed my long-term plan but I feel like it's definitely key to who I am as a person and I feel like 20 years down the road, I never thought i'd be doing this now.
We recorded our first record, our first full length record in 1999, and our plan was to go on tour in the summer and then go back to school and that obviously never happened. We didn't really plan for the future because we don't know what was going to happen. As it turned out, we lucked out.
What are Kittie's plans to support this and what do you have planned for 2018?
We've got some tricks up our sleeves. We did a reunion show of all past members of the band. We bought a lot of people back for a one night performance. So I think if we were going to do anything, performance wise, or a tour or shows we would do something like that where we'd bring - and maybe take it out on the road - but it wouldn't do it for too long obviously because stuffing that many people onto one bus would be crazy. [laughs]
We'll see about live shows. That's something very logistically - we'd have to - and if we just wanted to go out as a four piece, as a band we would have a hard time. Our bass player, Trish, passed away in 2017, so I feel like that'd be a hard void to fill unless we ended up doing like, the whole shebang, right? Other than that we're going to be doing a whole lot of press so I'm sure you'll see our lovely faces everywhere.
Thanks to Mercedes Lander for the interview. Kittie's 'Origins/Evolutions' documentary arrives on March 30 and pre-orders can be placed here. Follow the band on Facebook to stay up to date with everything they're doing and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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