From North Florida comes a half-modern, half-retro sound from surf rocker Katie Mitchell — a.k.a. Kilo Tango. With her music, Katie manages to exact the science of laid-back urgency. The smooth, bouncy beats take the songs forward while her dreamlike vocal melodies bring them back down. This intriguing combination makes you want to listen over and over again to learn every nuance and to groove along with her.
I got the chance to talk to Katie about her music, inspirations, and upcoming EP.
Germ Magzine: Hello, and thanks for agreeing to this interview!
Let’s begin with how you got your start in music and what made you want to pursue this.
Katie Mitchell: I’ve always been obsessed with bands and how much fun and life they have — particularly hooligans such as the Black Lips, Mac DeMarco, and, recently, Hinds! I really didn’t have a lot of girl band inspirations until I discovered Best Coast, and the fact that her songs were very simple made me feel like I could do something like that. That’s when I wanted to learn guitar, so I basically taught myself with learning songs and then writing.
That was in my senior year of college, and then I bounced around art school for a year looking for a band — which is really hard for a shy girl with anxiety, so it didn’t happen and I moved back home. I decided to just put out some of my own bedroom recordings and then recorded Bummed Out, Suns Out. I wanted to get professional recordings and decided to put it on cassette with Wiener Records, who has opened my horizons to so much amazing music and so many amazing people out there in the world. Literally all over the world.
I’ve met so many bands I love who like my music and inspire me and keep me going. One band, Name The Band — who are the NICEST people from Brazil and live in LA — asked if I wanted to play with them in LA, and I was wanting to see what an LA show would be like and if i could even get out words in front of an actual crowd. And I did! While being insanely sick! Ever since then I’ve just been writing, writing, writing, and trying to play shows.
GM: That’s great! Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
Katie: I just write about what I’m going through, or just make up kind of funny songs I know people would laugh at; like “Long Hair Boy” was about a guy I had the biggest crush on because he had long hair, and then after I wrote the song he cut it off haha! And then I have a new song about creeps called “Mr. Cool Guy,” which is very relevant these days, and it’s just fun!
GM: If you came across someone who had never heard your music, how would you describe it for them?
Katie: I feel like all my songs are different; I don’t really know. I’d like to say girly garage bedroom pop?
GM: Love it! I’m constantly talking about women in the music industry because it is far too rare, and so many female artists deserve so much more praise and recognition than they’re getting. What has been your experience as a female in this male-dominated industry?
Katie: It’s hard, but a lot of girls have paved the way, so I’m very lucky. I try to just take everything as it comes, stay positive, and, most importantly, I just have fun and love to meet new creative people.
GM: I see that you have a new EP coming out soon. What can you tell us about that?
Katie: Yes!! It will have 4 songs and 1 cover, which I am so excited about. It will make you move and groove.
Katie: BE YOURSELF. CHILL. WORK HARD. ALWAYS WRITE!!!
GM: Finally, where can we find you and your music?
GM: Thanks again for being a part of this. You’re doing some great things and I can’t wait to see what else you’ll come up with!
Katie: Thank you so much!!!
Check out Kilo Tango’s newest song, “Gone, Baby, Gone”: