Brendan Crabb of Australia's Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Morgan Lander of Canadian metallers KITTIE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loud: It seems like all of your albums have been very personal and vitriolic, but [2011's "I've Failed You"] even more so. Have the past two years just been particularly dramatic for the band members?
Morgan: Well, for me in particular, yeah, it has been; which is why the album seems so personal and writing it was a very cathartic experience for me. I definitely had to go outside of my comfort zone in terms of what I wanted to talk about. A lot of the subject matter on previous albums, while it's personal, it's not necessarily all that obviously so. And with this new album it was basically an entire life upheaval. I've had a really crazy couple of years and everything that I thought was my life really wasn't. So I was left to pick up the pieces and then it was like, "Okay, well, it's time to write an album. Where do you start?” And so I just kinda poured my heart out and for me I think it was something that I needed to do in order to look at the situation objectively and then be able to get over it.
Loud: I understand Mercedes [Lander, drums/vocals] also contributed a fair amount to this album as well?
Morgan: Yeah, Mercedes did. Well, everybody has. Mercedes has for the last couple of albums has written some lyrical stuff as well. She wrote "We Are the Lamb" and contributed to a few other things as well. So it definitely is a band effort when it comes to making albums.
Loud: Has it always been that way within the band?
Morgan: Well, we definitely haven't had the benefit of having such a stable lineup. So for a lot of the earlier albums, it was mostly just Mercedes and I. But because we've had such a stable lineup now, Tara's [McLeod, guitars] been in the band for seven years, we do more writing with the three of us. It definitely helps to have another perspective and another brain at work there. It's not like in the beginning the idea was to not have it be a collaborative effort, but it just kinda ended up being that way for a little while, because of the nature of the lineups, people were coming and going for a long time. We were in a little bit of upheaval. But it's nice that we feel settled and stable and that definitely comes out in the music. When you're friends and you are around each other a lot and you grow as a musician together, it really helps you to create the best music and the most cohesive music you can.
Loud: You've definitely taken a heavier direction on recent albums. Is that a reflection of your headspace, or an indication that you've been listening to heavier bands of late?
Morgan: Well, I mean, if you look at all of our albums over the last ten-plus years, we've always been a heavy band, but we've sort of evolved into a more mature, more age appropriate kind of version of KITTIE. I think with the last couple of albums, I feel like [2009's] "In The Black" was the album that was like the foundation that we built to try and well, build on from there on out. "In The Black" was sort of written and recorded the way it was in response to [2007's] "Funeral For Yesterday", which was like a complete 180 from a lot of the things that we were doing before. We've had a long career and we are allowed to experiment, to try new things. We like to keep things interesting, but first and foremost we are a metal band and we wanted to get back to our roots and get back to basics. With the new album, we're just building on that foundation that we started with "In The Black" and it's kind of like the jumping off point. That's the direction that we're going to continue to head in.
Loud: It seems the past two albums have been far more accepted by critics as well. I remember reading a review a few years ago on Blabbermouth and the journalist was almost apologizing for praising the album, like he was in utter disbelief that you had created something worthwhile. Have you found you've received a lot of those kinds of back-handed compliments from reviewers and fans, especially recently?
Morgan: Well, it is difficult for us, because I still feel like our first album, it was the biggest-selling album of our career, and it was also written when we were 14 years old. From there on out, we were judged solely on that. That's what most mainstream people when they hear about KITTIE, that's the music that they think of. We've actually grown and matured. I mean, I'm 30 years old now; we've become a viable band. I think anybody that's kept up with our career could be like, "Well, yeah, of course, of course they're a great band now and of course they put great albums out. They've been honing their craft for over 12 years." But for a casual listener that all of a sudden they hear the new KITTIE, they've heard what people say about us or the rumors or they've heard stuff from the first album, and they listen to like "In The Black" or "I've Failed You". They're gonna be like, "Wow, I'm actually really surprised, this is a great record." And it's like well yeah, we've been around for a long time and we've been working very, very hard to continue to make quality music that reflects where we're at emotionally and musically. I don't know, coming from Blabbermouth, even a back-handed compliment is still a compliment, (laughs) For the most part, Blabbermouth is pretty brutal, so I'll take it.
Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.