Kittie Interview with Talena of Kittie, by Alice Hammond
Photo L to R: Drummer Mercedes Lander, Bassist Talena Atfield, Guitarist Fallon Bowman, Vocalist Morgan Lander

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Skunk Anansie
Four young Canadians ranging in age from 15 to 17 have hit the big time. With songs such as "Brackish,” off their debut album Spit (Ng Records), in heavy rotation at hard-rock radio stations across the globe, the girls have had to grow up rather fast. Bassist Talena Atfield took a moment out of the band’s hectic touring schedule to chat with NY Rock about some of the finer points in life, such as discrimination, oppression, and, oh yeah, sex.

     NYROCK:

How do you balance touring with schoolwork?

      TALENA:

Right now, we're looking towards correspondence. We're not doing school right now because this is more important to us. Education is very important and we're definitely gonna get that but right now it's really hard to do school and tour at the same time. The schedule and stuff, you get really tired. It looks like [correspondence] is what we're gonna do.

     NYROCK:

Do you discuss it with your parents? How do they feel about the decisions you make?

      TALENA:

Our parents pretty much stay out of it. They're really supportive. They realize that this is an opportunity that not everyone gets. It's a once in a lifetime thing. They say, "We trust you that you'll make the right decisions."

     NYROCK:

What's the male half of the population like when you tour? Are there any male groupies?

      TALENA:

No, we don't have any groupies. It's pretty much 50/50 with the males and females that show up at our shows. It's the same as any other band would get. We have a lot of chicks that like our music too.

     NYROCK:

Is there a message you hope to get across with your music?

      TALENA:

Life gets tough and everyone goes through hard times. Just be your self. Don't do what everyone else is doing. Have a mind of your own.

     NYROCK:

Despite song titles such as "Suck," "Choke," "Do You Think I'm a Whore?" and "Get Off (You Can Eat a Dick)" I've read that you claim your music is not about sex.

      TALENA:


     NYROCK:


      TALENA:

It's not at all.


What's it about then?


Life experiences, basically. Oppression. People mistreating us. People putting you down because you're different. Giving you a hard time because of who you are.
 
Kittie

     NYROCK:

And you experienced or witnessed a lot of this in school?

      TALENA:

Yeah, in life in general. Everyone goes through discrimination and oppression. People look at our songs and try to pick them apart and say that they're about sex, but none of them are. They were written at a pretty young age, so they're not about sex at all.

     NYROCK:

Concerning the issue of sex, how is it being an all-girl group in a rather male-dominated genre of heavy metal rock and roll?

      TALENA:

I think there are a lot of people who are still really ignorant. They're like, "Girls can't play." They hear it and most times their minds are changed but it's a lot different. I mean, you don't look at most bands and say, "Oh look, it's a guy band." But they do that to us. They're like, "It's a girl band."

We're about our music. We don't want to be known as a "girl band." We want to be known as a band. People take that word "female" and automatically have preconceived ideas that we can't play and that we're gonna go up there and try to sell sex. But that's not what we do.

     NYROCK:

You're not afraid to go up there and be aggressive.

      TALENA:

Exactly. It's fun. We can play just as good, maybe better, than some guys.

     NYROCK:

What do you think about other genres of music, the Latin movement, the Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys contingencies?

      TALENA:

I think it's great. They're enjoying themselves. I think it's great that they're getting where they want to be. All the more power to them. You can't have just one type of music. You need a lot.

     NYROCK:

Any final thoughts?

      TALENA:

We're proud to be where we are at the ages that we're at. Music is always going to be music no matter what the age or gender is.

     NYROCK:

What's down the road for Kittie?

      TALENA:

We want to take this as far as it can go. We want to get as much out of this as we possibly can. If it goes for ten years, great. If it goes for twenty, even better. We're just gonna do this as long as we can.

April 2000

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