Operatic piano-punk artist Kristeen Young has been making music since the 90s. Co-produced by Tony Visconti and featuring a diverse lineup of guests, Live At The Witch’s Tit (due to be released September 15th) is vibrant, confrontational and fiercely smart.
Q & A with: Kristeen Young
Interview By: Hayley (Fr.U.N.T. Music)
Q. You’ve worked with Tony Visconti before – what was it like co-producing Live At The Witch’s Tit with him?
A. He was less involved. He acted more like a consultant/saviour…..helping when we were a bit lost…..which is not to underestimate his role. He was a godsend at times.
Q. You’ve also collaborated with a lot of really interesting people in the past – who would you most like to work with in the future?
A. Hmmm. Kehlani. Kanye West. JG Thirlwell. Needlz and Donut. Pop and Oak. Esperanza Spalding.
Q. Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
A. The same as everyone else’s most likely.
Q. Your style has evolved over the course of your career so far. Has your writing process changed too?
A. No. I’m the same. And I’ve fought to not be sandpapered and whittled down. That’s the fight.
Q. You’ve been exploring femininity in your music in a really interesting, almost confrontational way for a while now, and this new album is no exception. What can you tell us about that?
A. I went to a party in LA a couple of weeks ago…..and the way I was spoken to and treated and the way other women were spoken to and treated ….it could have been 1960. And this is not unusual. Sometimes I’m in the mood to say something (in the moment) and sometimes I’m not….sometimes I’m not in the mood for the eye roll or worse. The hatred and resentment of women is so deep and ingrained that it’s unconscious. “Woman” (the very name of our gender) continues to be a somewhat accepted insult and joke. And many women play along….the estrogen plays along. But, we have to be smarter than the estrogen. So, yes, it’s still a part of my writing…..but not the main subject. I think my main subject is about being human…maybe a human on the outside…..I support the individual’s experience…..not the group really.
Q. You’ve made some amazing videos – are the visuals an important aspect of the music for you?
A. Thank you. I do what I can with what I’ve got: not much money, being DIY……not being a film maker, having to trust others and trying to communicate when maybe I’m not the best at that. This is all not the easiest. I’m very glad you like the videos. I have ideas….sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
Q. What’s playing live like for you? Do you enjoy being in front of an audience?
A. Hmm. I like singing. I am compelled to sing. When I don’t have a show for awhile….I’ll sing to myself. That’s the animal I am…..a noisy one. Being in front of an audience is not required. But, it can be enjoyable now and again….and I’m appreciative of any person who gives me their evening when they have so many other choices in life.
Q. What’s your favourite song that you’ve ever written?
A. This is difficult. I could probably make this decision on an album to album basis. Or maybe not. Right now, on this upcoming album, I’m liking These Are the Things I’m Not the Most.
Q. What have you been listening to lately?
A. PnB Rock and Kehlani almost on a constant loop. Also, I feel like lately, I’m sorta remembering who I used to be …..I’m more in my body….I’m more 17….and I’m enjoying it. I’ve been in my head, predominantly for 3 years…..and it’s not been pretty. I don’t recommend it as a vacation destination. The ideal is both. always both and everything.