Something about the song “G#” creates a feeling of uneasiness even as it reels you in. From the first screeching riffs to the beautifully ghostly vocal line, the song launches into a genre difficult to pinpoint.
That’s the allure of music made by Kitten, a young quartet unafraid to make multi-layered, emotionally complex tracks. With a sound that combines hazy, dreamlike tones with bona-fide, hard-rock tunes, the band’s music seems to come at just the right moment. As the music world continues to look for a new direction, Kitten brings its own innovative sound to the table even as it takes from a variety of influences.
Take, for instance, the sound of lead singer Chloe Chaidez’s voice. At 17 years old, the chanteuse serves as the bandleader for songs, matching changes in tempo with otherworldly yelps and swooning, ethereal melodies. Everyone in the band is between 17 and 22 years old, something that makes Kitten especially impressive.
The band met through mutual friends and eventually Chaidez, Lukas Frank, Bryan DeLeon and Waylon Rector joined to create Kitten. After a residency at the Bootleg Bar and the release of its EP Cut it Out, the band is at a very special place.
“We jelled a lot more as a band and after jelling on the road, we were able to bring a lot of what we learned on the road to the studio and the chemistry blossomed there,” Chaidez said.
Even with her young age, Chaidez has a clear sense of where she’s going. When she’s finished with her home-schooling, Chaidez plans to play for Kitten full time, just as the rest of the band’s members do.
“This is my life. I want to set my goals high,” Chaidez said. “I know some people think we’re an indie band, but I don’t have an indie mindset at all. I want to be playing at the Staples Center.”
Naturally, a complicated sound like Kitten’s makes labelling difficult. And while it’s easy to fall into categories like “hipster” and “indie,” for Chaidez the band and its music move past that.
“I don’t necessarily mind it, I just don’t think I’m confined to that title,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think we make indie music.”
The band’s sound doesn’t echo that of a top-40 hit, but when you listen closely, the themes overlap. Topics such as lost love, city life and money get a twist with Kitten’s poetic lyrics and dreamlike sounds.
The chorus of “G#” makes it easy to sing along, but the lyrics don’t prove easy to digest as Chaidez croons, “Through teardrops and haze / from violence to grace / we’ll see you all / we’ll see you all again.”
Another song, “Christina,” focuses on a love story made especially poignant by Chaidez’s vocal chops.
“It’s just a nostalgic love story,” she said. “I feel like it’s always romantic when you use a girl’s name in a song. I do that a lot. But the beginning is actually a reference to a New Order song — it’s about a love triangle.”
Yet the emotional subject matter and sometimes lulling songs of the band transform entirely during the live show. Chaidez utilizes the stage like a true showwoman, and the band’s riffs become even louder.
“It’s a very intense live show,” she said. “I like to do gimmicks like handstands, and I really like to climb on stuff. People wouldn’t get that idea immediately out of us live when they hear our music, but it’s a pretty good show, I guess. Not intentionally, but it happens.”
On Facebook, Kitten interacts with fans and keeps them posted on the latest developments, which include attention from the radio station KROQ and upcoming shows. As Kitten continues to grow, Chaidez only becomes more excited about the possibilities.
“The last night of our Bootleg residency was great because it was over capacity and there was a huge line outside … so people weren’t able to get in,” Chaidez said. “It was such a cool feeling to know all those people are there for you.”
But that doesn’t mean that Chaidez is looking for a huge number of fans. Ultimately, a personal connection to listeners means more to the artist.
“My only goal in what I’m doing is to be able to touch people and build a fan base I can lean toward,” she said. “I’m perfectly content with touching 100 people every night or just connecting with the fans I have and building new ones that have a connection with me and aren’t just like, ‘Oh, I saw your music on a blog today,’ but that they are really dedicated to what we are doing.”
For now, the band continues working on the album and touring in the hopes of reaching out to more people. And if their live shows and recording are any indication, they certainly will.
Kitten will play at the Echo on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. For more information, visit KittenTheBand.com.