PopWrapped:What was the first thing you did after you got home from The Voice? What did you learn the most about yourself during that whole time on the show?
Kat Robichaud:My husband and friends, along with a news film crew, surprised me at a bar near our apartment. I was shell-shocked, considering that I hadn’t gone to sleep until 5 AM in New York the night before, but I was deeply touched. I had just told Guillaume in the car that all I wanted to do was take a shower and go to sleep, and we roll up to this bar and there are 50 people waiting outside with signs. What I learned from the show is to always be yourself, no matter what. Never follow a trend.
PW:Your Kickstarter to help fund this album ended up DOUBLING its goal which is a huge accomplishment. What were your thoughts going into it? And how did you feel when you exceeded your goal?
KR:I was nervous that we wouldn’t reach our initial goal, so I was gobsmacked when we hit it in three days. The whole process of promoting myself was kind of bizarre. I’m just this little girl who wanted to make a record, and it’s strange to ask people to invest in me. When you’re in a band, it’s different because you can say, “People want this band. This thing.” But when it’s just you, it’s you they’re investing in. I remember recording the album and having all these lovely people learn my songs and work hard to bring them to light, and thinking, “Whoa. This is humbling.” It’s more pressure, too, because you want so badly not to let down the people who have put their trust in you.
PW:Walk us through the album process. What musicians did you work with? Where did you draw inspiration from when you wrote it?
KR:Some of the songs and parts of songs had been gestating for years. The first verse of “Definition of Pretty” had been written for an entirely different song, and I poached it and reworked it. “The Apple Pie and The Knife” came to me the night I was eliminated from the show. “Why Do You Love Me Now” was the last song to be written for the album. I wrote it in the shower while staying in Vegas. Originally, it was an up-tempo dance track, and Ian Schreier, my producer, suggested slowing it down and making it into a ballad, and it worked. While writing the album, I floated in and out of Manifold Studios, presenting my songs to Ian and communicating my ideas to him on a beautiful black Yamaha grand from the '80s. The Kickstarter funds gave me the luxury of hand-picking my band members, some of whom I’d played with before, and some of whom were in bands that I admired. Eliot Wilcox, my guitarist and the man behind the silly British musing on the album, was my Brian May/ Marc Bolan lovechild. My bassist and trumpeter Keith was my Doctor Who aficionado. I met my drummer Matt Rose from a band I had played with in the past, Dirty Names, and I knew he’d be perfect for the album. Joseph Combs, my keyboardist, had played on previous albums and I adored him so he was a shoe-in. I was lucky to have extra musicians as well, including Joseph Kwon from The Avett Brothers. He plays cello on the album and it’s so beautiful. Watching him work was magical.
As far as inspiration, I got to totally geek out on this album. This is the third album I’ve written, but it’s the first time I’ve had complete control and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. My rock inspirations are Bowie, Queen, Amanda Palmer, and Marilyn Manson. I also have a very squishy place in my heart for musicals, and any chance I got to slip that into the album, I took it.
PW:What inspired the song 'Apple and the Knife'? It's very "I have no apologies for who I am" and I love it.
KR:Everyone that worked on The Voice 100% accepted me for who I am. They were incredibly generous and supportive. However, I didn’t feel that love from a lot of people in America. I don’t want to discount the immense support that I did receive, and I don’t want to sound like a spoiled child, but there were people who were definitely turned off by me. Some people called me cocky. One lovely individual called me a skank because my back is exposed in one of my earlier music videos. I was too loud. My shorts were too short. They didn’t like my haircut. And I started to feel these criticisms were specific to me being a woman. No one was calling James Wolpert cocky. And Caroline Pennell, as lovely of a person as she is, was the polar opposite of me-sweet, docile, pretty, gentle in her musical choices. If I were a man, my behaviors would have been just fine. So I felt the sting. There’s a lot of slut-shaming going around and we all need to cut it out. Women are just as guilty of it as men. We need to be nice to each other.
PW:And then there are songs like ‘Why Do You Love Me Now’ that absolutely tug at the heartstrings. Were you worried about being too vulnerable on the album?
KR:Not at all. Be real or go home.
PW:You’ve been touring a lot lately, and from the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like such a good time! What can people expect from a Kat Robichaud and the Darling Misfits show?
KR:People can expect a weird, theatrical experience. I’m trying to bring something different to the show each time. Last month we all wore elephant masks and treated the stage like a circus ring. Last night I was a lounge singer on a pirate ship. Next month I’ll be covered in fake blood at the Boom Boom Room on February 13th.
PW:I know you’re a big fan of David Bowie, who is such an iconic visionary. I see a lot of similarities between you two. What was it about him and his music that drew you to him?
KR:Well, Labyrinth was my first exposure to him, me being an ’80s baby. That bulge is like a tractor beam. All of the universe exists in David Bowie’s area. There’s actually a website about it, or there was. Look it up. Anyway, past that, I think Bowie has just always been in my life. His fashion and the theatricality he brings to his music and his performances is otherworldly. It’s sexy as hell.
PW:And of course, I can’t forget your love for Doctor Who! Your new music video for “Somebody Call The Doctor” has so many beautiful Doctor Who references and images. It’s amazing. What Doctor is your favorite and how did your love of the show help inspire the video?
KR:David Tennant is my favorite Doctor. And Rose is my favorite companion. I’m a helpless romantic and a sucker for a good hopeless love story. “Midnight” is my favorite episode. I get obsessed with things and sometimes the only way to get over the obsession is to write a song about it. I know it’s not exactly cool to admit it, but I got completely sucked into the Twilight series. I cried when I finished the last book because I was sad that it was over. Haha. That’s so embarrassing but it’s true. I wrote a song about it, and The Design played it out a few times, but ultimately it got dropped. It was called “Lose the Life.” Anyone remember it? Anyone? Anyway, I got obsessed with Doctor Who right around the time that The Design was breaking up, and the happiness the show brought me helped ease the pain of my band falling apart. I think that’s the whole point of music and books and movies-they help life hurt a little less.
PW:I see that you’re coming back home to North Carolina on February 20th for a record release party! How excited are you to be performing all this new music for family and friends?
KR:Terribly excited!! I miss North Carolina BBQ. I’m going to have to load up on Smithfield’s and 12 Bones while I’m home. I’m going to get to spend time with my mom and her two giant, unruly golden retrievers, too. I might also have dental surgery while I’m home. I can’t find a dentist in San Francisco. I grind the hell out of my teeth and it’s taking a toll on my mouth. Sigh. I’m going to have to start wearing a very unsexy mouthguard at night. The woman sleeping in the advertisement looks so peaceful and pretty, and that’s bullshit.
PW:Lastly, I have two questions from two of your fans from Twitter! First is from @DDFrey, who wants to know if you are still doing those infamous Kat “leg kicks” that we all love. Second is from @taryn_minahan, who would love for you to take a trip down memory lane, and tell us all a story about your first kiss.
KR:Everyone made a big deal out of the leg kicks, and now I’m self-conscious of it. I haven’t been doing them lately, but maybe someday I will. My first kiss was horribly embarrassing. It was Halloween and I was in 7th grade. I had a boyfriend who didn’t want to be my boyfriend, because what 14-year-old guy wants to be forced to walk down the hallway holding hands? I told my friends that I wanted to kiss him and could they tell his friends to tell him to kiss me? He reluctantly did, in front of everyone. I was disappointed because it was so short of a kiss. I meant to seductively say “longer,” but instead I awkwardly blurted “louder!!!”. He broke up with me the next day. Be sure to download Kat Robichaud and the Darling Misfits on iTunes! You can also catch Kat onTwitter and her official website: KatRobichaud.com.
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