This is the Kit is the musical project of Kate Stables. Formed back in 2003, her travels have taken her across the channel and build the band in size and shape. She’s collaborated and performed with a number of artists from both sides of the Channel, and her touring band incorporates a range of talented musicians in their own right. Ahead of Long Division Festival 2013 MG's Rob Aldam caught up with her to discuss making music, talented friends and Gaelic audiences.
MG) You're playing Long Division this year, can we expect to hear any new material in your set?
Kate )Yes, I reckon. We're finishing a new album at the moment and a few of the numbers on it we've been playing out and about for a little while. But there are also some more recent ones that folks might not have heard.
MG) Do you get time to catch any other bands at festivals or is it a case of playing and moving on like a normal gig? If so, who are you looking forward to seeing at this year's Long Division?
Kate) We always try to see other bands. Especially if there's a band/artist that we know we like.
It'd be great to see a bit if Darwin deez if we can, from what ive seen of him he seems like a very creative guy. And of course theres loads of bands that ive never heard if that id live to find out about.
But I really hope to see sweet baboo. I think he's just so excellent.
MG) You play solo, with Jesse or as a full band. How does this effect the way you approach performing live?
Kate) Well, different every time I suppose. It's good to not get too comfy. Stay on your toes. Keep paying attention.
MG) What’s the most unusual venue you’re played in?
Kate) Possibly a hairdressers in Japan. A very lovely show and great to see people using the space they have to put on gigs.
MG) You’re from Winchester, but have lived in Bristol and Paris. What effect have the places you've lived in had on your music?
Kate) I suppose there's something about travel and keeping on the move that is present in the music. But mainly the musicians I've met all the different places have had quite a strong effect on me and how I hear and write music. The people you meet / work with teaches you a huge amount.
MG) How do audiences differ between France and the UK?
Kate) I think you're more likely to get an encore in France but I'm not sure if they always mean it. :)
In my experience (I'm sure its different for everyone) people are more vocal about how they found the show afterwards. But in England people are maybe a bit more shy about it.
MG) Is the song writing purely a solo affair, or do you collaborate with Jesse and other friends during the creative process?
Kate) Maybe 70% solo but then what the rest if the musicians bring to it musically and arrangement and vibe wise is so important and quite a transformation to witness. They're a talented bunch.
MG) Has your song-writing process changed over the years and how do you feel your music has developed?
Kate) The writing process probably hasn't changed as much as it could/should have. But the material definitely has. And lyrics as well. Although I'm not too sure if I could put my finger in how.
MG) You have a talented bunch of musical friends including Rozi Plain and Rachel Dadd. Are there any young talented upcoming folk musicians we should look out for?
Kate) Well there's plenty if artists I'd very much recommend to people if that's what you mean.for some reason I've ended up sorting it into countries. I hope that's ok! British guys I like are Jamie Harrison Richard Dawson, David Thomas Braughton, Sweet Baboo and The Magic lantern (maybe technically Australian, pardon me Jamie). French bands I like are Arlt Eliot and the rutournelles, Hyperclean, Aquaserge, Archipel and Moodoid, and the Belgian bands are V.O, Soy in caballo, Hoquets and Castus. There's many more in all three categories but i'll stop there.
MG) You’re signed to Bristol’s Disco-Ordination Records. Do you feel it’s important to support smaller record labels?
Kate) Well signed is one way of putting it: Disco-ordination is in fact the label of my partner Jesse. It's just handy to have your own label so you can release what you like when you like. But in fact our main label that we're signed to at the moment is an excellent little label from Brooklyn call Brassland. They have some great artists like jherek bischoff and Buke and Gase. Top guys worth hunting do. And yes I think it's so difficult for smaller labels to stay afloat. They deserve all the support we can give.
MG) If Jeffrey Lewis drew a comic of This is the Kit, how would it end?
Kate) Oh, what a dream that would be. Well let me see. It might end in us giving back the bass guitar we borrowed off him once.
(Which has already been returned I'd like to point out.) which involved a very drawn out and accidentally elaborate hand shake.
MG) Will you be a paying attendee of any festivals this year?
Kate) Alas nothing planned this year although that could change. Mainly my aim this year when I'm not playing shows is to hunt down some truly holiday time.if I'm not playing a gig then most hopefully ill be sitting by the sea somewhere with a huge hat on.
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