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INTERVIEW: The Lounge Kittens

THE LOUNGE KITTENS‘ approach to music is intriguing and entertaining. The three-piece act from Southampton and have built a reputation based on their cabaret and tongue-in-cheek approach to covering tracks. On the back of the release of their latest record, Sequins & C-Bombs, we caught up with the band before a show in Birmingham to talk about their latest record, the thought process behind what songs the band chooses to cover and the variety of THE LOUNGE KITTENS‘ audience.

We are in the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham and we’re here with THE LOUNGE KITTENS! How are we doing guys?

Jenny, Timia & Zan: GOOD!

Jenny: How you doing?

Not too bad at all, cheers!

Jenny: Did not mean for that to sound like Joey from Friends.

Timia: Steady On!

Jenny: Did not mean that but it just happened…

Zan: Oh he’s blushing now, so are you!
*Collective laughter*

Okay, so you guys are in the midst of a pretty extensive UK tour, you where in Bristol last night, Birmingham tonight how’s everything going, how have the crowds been?

Zan: Amazing, they have been really really up for it, super game , singing along, singing their little hearts out it’s been great.

Jenny: Yeah, met some really lovely people as well, fun people. We had a circle pit last week didn’t we? We had our first circle pit, yes a lounge circle pit you heard it correctly, never thought that would happen in my career.

Zan: Yeah and tonight is sold out so we think it’s going to busy, sweaty and loud!

Excellent stuff! Your shows are always great fun, there’s almost an eccentric sort of atmosphere to it, it’s not unlike a cabaret show, would I be correct in saying?

Zan: Oh yeah we do a lot of cabaret stuff as well.

So would you notice that sort attracts a whole variety of people from all over the musical and cultural spectrum or would you still be attracting a mainly rock and metal crowd?

Timia: No, not at all, you were totally right on the first one absolutely.

Zan: Our fanbase is so diverse, we’ve had everything at shows from grandparents right through to teenagers, lots of people come with their offspring. So you’ll get you know middle age parents who’ll come with their younger kids, not kids kids.

Timia: TEENAGERS!

Zan: Teenagers and mid twenties and things.

Timia: And hairy biker rocker types who’ve seen us at Download Festival and other people who’ve seen us at cabaret shows. So it’s such a massive mix

Jenny: It’s great because it mixes everyone together as well like everyone is ageless when they come to see a show, one of our shows and everyone’s there just to have good fun.

Zan: Yeah and it exposes them to something different that they wouldn’t have necessarily heard and it doesn’t actually matter a lot of the time like if they don’t know the original song. They may have seen us at a cabaret show and they might not be the biggest SLIPKNOT fan in the world, but it doesn’t really matter as they can still enjoy the musicality of what we’re doing.

Okay, your new album Sequins and C-Bombs, has quite an eclectic mix of songs, you know there’s old school heavy metal, hip-hop and also some top 40 sort of stuff in their as well. How do you go about picking the songs?

Jenny: Songs that we love, that’s it.

Timia: We hear a song, we really like that song, let’s do a version of it.

Jenny: We have taken ideas from fans that have written in and have said, Oh yeah you should try this one and some of them absolutely don’t work, but some of them do so it will be like, oh we haven’t thought about that that’s a really great shout and we’ll try it out, but I mean essentially it’s the songs that we love.

So is it more of a trial and error process, try a load of songs and try to whittle it down?

Timia: Sometimes, but we’re getting a lot better at telling before. We’ve put a lot of energy into it now so, there was a time like oh that might be fun and we end up spending a bit of time playing around with it and we realise of it just doesn’t work. Now we are at the point were we can tell almost immediately, like it’s not going to work in our version, but yeah the ear for it just gets better and better.

What would your favourite song off Sequins and C-Bombs be and why?

Zan: Well it depends what mood I’m in and what day it is. When we were recording the album we set out to record as many songs as possible and then sort of scale them down and not put all of them on the album, but we ended up putting all of them on the album because they each had such a different journey for us. Not to sound too twee about it but they were all important for different reasons and so it’s really depends on what of mood we’re in.
Live, I’m really enjoying how Bodies by DROWNING POOL is really going down well at the live shows, it’s really really fun to sing but Love Is Only A Feeling, has definitely been my fore-running favourite when I’m listening to the album for a little while now.

Jenny: Yeah I really like Bodies, it’s one of my favourites because we get to be really shouty and I love the arrangement. It’s so fun and it’s very tongue in cheek I don know there’s just something about it when I listen to it because it’s so dissident as well. You don’t expect it to go where it goes and there’s lots of clashy chords and notes that don’t sounds right and I love that we can create that with just piano and voices I think it’s great!

Timia: I really really enjoy how we’re doing Yeah, I think because we’re mostly known for our rock and metal songs, so every now and then when we pull one of the bag which isn’t a rock song, I super love how the LUDICROUS rap sounds as it’s very very fast and difficult to nail.

Zan: And it’s filthy

Timia: It is filthy as well.

Zan: It’s horrid!

Timia: It’s just kind of funny and it cracks me up and I love everyone’s little bits that they throw in like the extra whoops and hollas it’s just funny.

Jenny: And the fact that we are three, you know white British girls singing it.

Zan: It’s one of the ones that when you are performing it live as well the crowd goes really quiet because they are listening as it’s really fast and it’s just one of those ones when you’re performing it you are like; “Oh are they enjoying it”, but then you can see the little recognition on their faces it’s like “Oh ah ehmm ahh oh”.
It’s been really fun bringing the album tracks to life on the tour.

Timia: Yeah defiantly.

Just to let you know my personal favourite of the new album is Want You Bad, I think it’s lovely.

Zan: That’s got a really interesting story behind it, well I say really interesting. As that was never supposed to be on the album, that’s one of the songs that was on the first batch of songs we arranged about three years ago. We wanted pop-punk as a genre to be represented on the album as we do a lot of pop-punk in our live sets. Actually it was going to be several different songs, it was going to be a GREEN DAY song but then it was like oh no, we had done the pop-punk medley to sort of launch the album. So we battered around all these new pop-punk songs and in the end what we decided was just to breath a bit of new life into Want You Bad and it’s actually turned out to be loads of peoples favourites! It’s one that sort of dropped out of our live set because we had been performing it for so long. So when we put it on the album as it was something a bit different and it has a whole new lease of life which is really lovely. We should do that one tonight, we’ll put it in the set.

In your previous album, Just The Tip, there was a SeanAPaul Medley.

Jenny: Yes! I love the way you said SeanAPaul, the only way!

You are known for doing different medleys you have the BlinkDay medley, a few pop-punk ones as well. On your new album you have two, you have Smack My Firestarter To Outer Space which is a tribute to THE PRODIGY and then you have the RAMMSTEIN Medley. Which medley is your favourite to perform; which one do you think gets the crowd really going? Which one do you think is the crowd’s favourite?

Zan: They all get the crowds going and I think most of us would agree that the medleys are our favourite things to perform because they’re fast, it’s instant gratitude because it’s the best of of the song and you’re like “YEAH!” and then there’s another song and you’re like “YEAAH!” so you’re in like this little euphoric state of “Yeah and this bits coming up!”

Jenny: They do scare me a bit as there is just so much to take it because there’s so many songs and there’s so many different chord progressions and in my head I’m like “I know this, I know this, BUT WHY DID I MISS ONE?!” and that goes through my head every single day.

Zan: Jen‘s got all the pressure obviously with the piano, but also because a lot of the medleys we do derive from a lot of the festivals we’ve played. A lot of the time they go down so well with the audiences because they’re reminiscent of the last time when they were at Download Festival; when they were at Sonisphere; when they first saw us or whatever, so they are like little trips down memory lane which is really cool. I don’t know I’m really enjoying, on this tour we’ve put it out to the fans to chose the set-list so every night we’re performing a different set-list and the fans have been choosing a lot of the old festival medleys which has been really really fun to bash those out again because we don’t get to play them that often.

Jenny: It’s a good excuse.

Zan: I love singing RAMMSTEIN as well as it’s in a different language and I love it when we sing in a different language.

You guys like to keep yourselves busy, when you finish this tour, you’re going back on the road to support the legendary STATUS QUO. How much are you looking forward to this arena tour?

Timia: SO MUCH!

Zan: LOADS!

Timia: It’s going to be a very different experience to what we are doing now. Yeah it’s quite nice, it’s the dream really is to have a really good support slot because you don’t have the responsibility of it being your show. You just turn up.

Jenny: You do what you’re told.

Timia: It’ll be in a big arena, they’ll have nice catering and everything.

Zan: You’re done really early!

Timia: Then you can just enjoy the rest of your evening, it’s brilliant!

Zan: Make some new fans hopefully, entertain a few people at early doors and then you’re done for the evening, it’s really fun and we get to play some of the biggest stages in the country on this tour.

Jenny: And we get to support STATUS QUO and REO SPEEDWAGON, yeah like we get to play with LEGENDS! LIKE LITERAL LEGENDS!

Zan: My Dad is beside himself! I am too though obviously I’ve seen STATUS QUO live so many times and they always put on a really great show so the whole thing is going to really fun!

Jenny: We have a good job to do, an important job to do!

Timia: Yeah it’s going to be a really nice way to easy into a bit of a break.

Jenny: YAY! Sleeping January!

Okay, just one last question. THE LOUNGE KITTENS have played many festivals throughout the UK & Europe over the last couple of years including Glastonbury, where you did seven sets in five days or something crazy like that?

Timia: It was Bonkers.

Zan: Yeah, it was six sets in in two day, the first year and then we did five sets in three days the second year.

Timia: We learnt our lesson!

Zan: No more than two a day, two a day is enough.

Timia: It’s plenty! It was really though.

Jenny: That was the hardest weekend ever, I had to go and be a bridesmaid in between it, so I had to leave Glastonbury and drive to Guildford to be a bridesmaid, do a wedding and then drive back to Glastonbury the Saturday night and then do three shows on the Sunday. IT WAS A TOUGH WEEKEND!

Zan: Basically, it’s our benchmark for everything else.

Jenny: EXACTLY!

Zan: Is it as hard as Glastonbury 2014? If not we could probably do it!

Will we see THE LOUNGE KITTENS grace the stage of any UK festivals this upcoming season?

Timia: I certainly hope so!

Zan: But we don’t know yet, it’s still early days for festival bookings, so headliners are being locked in as we speak so we’re a little bit further down the bill still. So early next year hopefully the phone will ring and we will get a couple of decent ones in in, but we would love to get out to Europe and do a few more European festivals.

Timia: That would be awesome.

Zan: You know we had a couple of years on the UK festival circuit so hopefully we will get out to Europe next year.

That’s great guys, thank you very much for your time!

Collective response: Pleasure, thanks so much!

Sequins & C-Bombs is out now via Grweat Records.

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