Siblings can be both a blessing and a curse, but for Kitty Daisy & Lewis – two sisters and a brother from London’s Kentish Town – disagreements act as fuel their creative fire. The multi-instrumentalist trio have sold over a quarter of a million albums worldwide, sold out headline tours, and they’ve opened shows for Coldplay and Jools Holland. We caught up with guitarist Kitty to talk about the band’s upcoming show at Koko (11th February), what it was like working with Mick Jones on their new album, and…Egyptology?
Hello Kitty! How are you? What have you been up to recently?
I’m good, thanks. We came off of our European tour in December, and we had quite a bit of time off over Christmas, so we’ve just been relaxing and getting ready for February’s show.
Your new album – The Third – was produced by Mick Jones of The Clash. What was it like working with Jones and his knowledge/experience of the music industry?
It was interesting because we’ve never really had a producer before, we’ve always done it on our own. It’s just the five of us in a room – usually arguing over stuff! – so it was nice to have an extra pair of ears. We knew Mick before anyway, he’s like a part of the family and he’s always really enthusiastic about everything we do. He never has anything negative to say, and it was good to have his opinions on our songs.
As with your previous recordings, this album is also an analogue production. You recorded it in a derelict Indian restaurant in Camden Town. How did this influence the overall sound of your album? Why do you choose to record in analogue?
Previously, we recorded in the back room of our Mum’s house, which is quite small, so we wanted to up our game with the new album and get a more polished sound. If you’re recording in a small room, naturally, the sound is small; so using a larger room gave us a much bigger, better sound. We spent a lot of time making sure we got everything right. We recorded the drums first and that took over a week.
With regards to recording in analogue, my Dad’s always been really in to old music gear, because it has that kind of ‘magic’ about it – if that makes sense? It’s also an obsession for my brother Lewis – he’s a bit of a geek about it – and that’s how we came to record in analogue. It’s not for everyone- and digital is really useful for loads of artists – but we’ve just always recorded our music this way.
You’ve met Mick Jones, and you’ve opened for some big acts; Coldplay, Razorlight, Jools Holland. Do you ever find yourselves star-struck?
We don’t really get star-struck to be honest. I mean, we’re aware of a sense of “awesomeness” about the bands we’ve played with. We were well aware that when we supported Coldplay, we were supporting one of the biggest UK bands on tour. They were really nice guys and they made an effort to include us and talk to us, so we felt like we were on the tour together.
You’re playing Koko on February 11th. Your song ‘Developer’s Disease’ directly addresses how London town is being ‘torn down’ – particularly Camden. Do you still enjoy playing in London, despite seeing the changes these developers have made?
Yeah, definitely. We don’t really play in the UK that often, so when we do it’s incredible. Playing in Camden is always a privilege because it’s just up the road from where we grew up. It’ll be good to play ‘Developer’s Disease’ to a home crowd, too. I mean, the stuff we talk about in the song is happening all over the world, but I’m looking forward to the London’s reaction. We’re all excited for the gig – hopefully people will turn up!
You’re all multi-instrumentalists. How do you decide who plays what on each track, or is it something which naturally reveals itself to you when you’re writing?
Usually we write separately, then play and develop the songs together. I write and play my songs on guitar, and Daisy writes and mainly plays the piano. Whoever writes the song, gets to sing the song, and we all have different styles. Even when we’re just mucking about with songs and playing them together, one of us will say “hey, play that again, that bit sounds good!”. For example, ‘Whiskey’ originally had a Bollywood vibe to it, but it completely changed as we developed the song together.
I’m one of four, and I loved growing up with loads of siblings, but what’s the reality of being in a band with relatives? Does it make things easier/harder?
That’s kind of hard to answer, because playing as a family is all we’ve ever known! I mean, this has been my life since I was a kid, so for us it’s just “normal”. There’s five of us in the band, including my parents, so I guess we have a connection that’s pretty unique. We know each other inside out, we know each other’s abilities; so we fit together really well, especially when we’re playing live.
Your choice of band name is direct and unambiguous. Did you ever consider playing under a different name?
We did, but in the early days we weren’t really an established band, so when a friend asked us if we’d play at a festival they were organising, they put us on the bill as ‘Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’. That’s why it’s in that order, and we decided to keep it that way!
What bands/artists are you currently listening too?
I discovered this guy called Boogaloo Joe Jones, who’s a guitarist, and I’ve been listening to his album Introducing the Psychedelic Soul Jazz Guitar of Joe Jones (1968) over the last few days.
I’m always looking out for new music – well, not necessarily “new music” – but stuff that’s new to me. Now that we’re starting to write new material I think it’s a good idea to listen to loads of new stuff.
Finally, if you weren’t making music, what kind of job/career would you have pursued?
I’d probably be fucked if music wasn’t my career!
Erm, when I was a kid, I thought about being an Egyptologist. History really interested me at school, but I’m not really sure that career would’ve worked out for me!