Kate French interview with Metal-Rules.com 11/4/2004
I think that the question that everyone wants to ask is why so long between albums? Seven years is a long time.
Kate French: I had a son, Trevor, and in a little ones first years, I think a mom really needs to pay undivided attention to their children, so that's what I did I gave my undivided attention to my son.
The title of the album is IN AN OUTRAGE and your tone throughout the album is very aggressive. What is the significance of the title?
Kate French: IN AN OUTRAGE is pertaining to 9/11. I started writing that song the same week the World Trade Center was hit. I think every one of us where "in an outrage" and plain just did not believe what had happened. I wrote this song pertaining to that event, but also to life ..how intimidation and negativity can make you stronger when you fight to overcome it.
OUTRAGE was produced by David Chastain. How is David to work with in the studio and what does he bring to a recording project that makes him such a great producer?
Kate French: We worked in separate studios and produced our own parts. David writes the music and has the last word on everything. He has an awesome ear for melodies, harmonies, what sounds good together and what doesn't.
The band also has a new rhythm section comprised of Larry Howe and Dave Starr who were previously in Vicious Rumours. How did they become involved with Chastain and the new album?
Kate French: They are both really great friends of mine and wonderful musicians. I suggested them for the project, David approved, they accepted, and the rest is history.
You wrote all of the lyrics on the new CD. Does writing lyrics come naturally to you? Where do you draw your inspiration for what you write?
Kate French: Anything that I feel or that is affecting me at that time, also the music. I get a vibe from the music. Last but not least, the chorus. I usually start with whatever comes into my mind while listening to the music and write around that, so there are several things that give me writing inspiration.
How does the writing process work? Does David give you the finished song and then you write the lyrics or do you give him an idea of the lyrical direction you want to go or do you sit down together and hash out the song?
Kate French: Each of us in this band have our specialties, and we all know it, so we let each individual shine at what they do best and it works out SO much better..no ones opinions, just trusting in each other that we will each do the best job we can. David writes the songs and plays all the guitar parts, I write lyrics melodies and harmonies, Dave plays all the Bass parts and Larry plays all the percussion. David has the last word. We correct what he doesn't like and walah!!..... Though each of us are multi talented this is how Chastain works, and it works well.
What songs are the CD are your favorites and why?
Kate French: New Beginnings because its about not sacrificing your standards just to live, but fighting for what you believe in and overcoming adversity and basically realizing change is hard, but it's better to change then to be unhappy. I think a lot of people are stuck in that rut, and Rule the World, because as I get older, I become more aware of how important it is to strive for what you want NOW, life is so short I truly believe, if anyone really wants something, anything bad enough, they can have it.
Can I assume by the album liner notes that everyone in the band recorded their parts separately in different studios? It must be an enormous undertaking to record a CD when everyone is not in the same studio. What effect does recording the CD in different studios have on the finished product and do you think the CD would have turned out differently if everyone had recorded together?
Kate French: Well, I've had both. I've been in a situation where there was constant rehearsing before recording, and then I've been in this situation where we record everything individually. I'd have to say I think the rehearsing or constantly giging makes a band tighter, but this situation is more professional. It would have been nice to have David and the guys there, but then it might have been nerve wracking?? So there are pros and cons to each.
How have the media and fans reacted to IN AN OUTRAGE? Was the reaction what you were expecting?
Kate French: People seem to like this CD more then any other I have done with David, and no, I was not expecting it, but I'm very thankful just to get the opportunity to be heard. Thanks to everyone for listening!!
Chastain also filmed a video for "Bullet From a Gun". Can you tell me a little bit about where you recorded the video and why you picked that particular song?
Kate French: The record label picked the song. We recorded it at Studio 880 in Oakland and had a frickin BLAST!!! Those guys are the coolest funniest bunch. I had the time of my life! 880 is a huge complex and they have several really cool rooms ..we recorded in the Cave room ..it looks like an ancient gothic castle that the earth somehow took over inside trippy.
Travis Smith, who also has done work for Jag Panzer, King Diamond, Katatonia and Death among others, did the cover artwork. How did it come to pass that Smith did the cover for IN AN OUTRAGE?
Kate French: David had a few covers for us all to choose from, that was the one he liked the best. To be honest with you, I did not know Travis did the work. hey Travis!!! ..Kudos!!!
Do you think that Chastain will tour in support of IN AN OUTRAGE?
Kate French: It's up to David. We shall see.
In a perfect world if you could choose one band to tour with who would it be and why?
Kate French: Judas Priest because I admire Rob Halford so much.
Some people criticized IN DEMENTIA and SICK SOCIETY as not having that classic "Chastain" sound. How do you feel about that criticism and how do you think IN AN OUTRAGE compares to those albums?
Kate French: Sick Society was my first time out and In Dementia was a little more alternative so I can understand someone who is used to that classic sound but then again some people where totally into it. Music is like art, not everyone is going to dig on the same painting or life for that matter, not everyone is going to like you ..so what. If your having a good time then that's all that matters, right??. I'm having a killer time and I love doing this that's all that matters.
Have you ever thought of doing a solo album or working outside of the confines of Chastain?
Kate French: Yes I have several songs. I'll probably do a Solo thing within the next couple of years ..trying to decide how to produce it. I want to combine heavy guitars with some different rhythms. It should be interesting. We shall see. Then again, I may just end up sticking with commercial Metal??
Do you ever have to deal with Chastain fans who are still hung up on the fact that Leather is not in the band anymore?
Kate French: Yes, but I'm still hung up on Leather, she ROCKS!!!
You are also the new singer for VainGlory which features guitar player Corbin King, who by the way posts frequently on the Metal-Rules.com message board. How did you get in contact with VainGlory and will there be a VainGlory album in the near future?
Kate French: Oh Yeah ..wait till you hear it, sounding amazing!! Hopefully it will release this coming fall.
How is working with Corbin different from working with David?
Kate French: The songs I'm writing to are very different musically.
How are Chastain and VainGlory different if at all?
Kate French: The songs have totally different sounds ..both are awesome , different, yes...very.
How did you first get into singing and what bands or artists served as your primary inspirations for getting into music?
Kate French: Leather, the first singer for Chastain was my main influence, ironic that years later I would end up taking her place.
Do you do any exercises to keep your voice in tiptop shape? Tell us your secrets!!
Kate French: I practice relaxation while I sing. I find worry about your voice limits you. It makes every muscle tight and you end up stressing your chords and loosing your voice, placement is the key to range. Not pushing. I also do a lot of trills (switching to different notes in a scale quickly) before I sing. This allows me to have more control over my placement and gets me ready to sing. Always warm up, and if you thrash your voice, what I do when it's too late....go to 7/11 and get and Slurpy. It takes away the swelling and you may be able to recover before the next show.
Have you ever had any problems being a female in the male dominated world of metal? Or do you use that fact to your advantage?
Kate French: Never had any problems. It's about people not the industry. Some will agree and some will not as with any art form. But I can truly say I love all the guys in this business I have met and admire anyone in it for what they do, it's not easy. They are all pretty cool mellow people. I do what I do because I love it!! I will be a Metal Grandma.
How do you balance motherhood and metal? Has becoming a parent changed your outlook on music and the music business at all?
Kate French: Trevor was born into this. He has been around it and heard it when he was inside me. We where rocking out to Fight on the way to school this morning. I hope to take him to a festival soon. No changes, just having a great time introducing Metal to my son and he loves it.
When you are home and have the chance to listen to music what bands or artists do you listen to? Are there any new bands that you really like?
Kate French: Anything Halford does is amazing. Zakk Wylde writes some pretty awesome songs, but mostly I just like to look at him (: I have his latest DVD. Very cool when he's cool.
What are your thoughts on the proliferation of mp3 downloading on the Internet. As we speak IN AN OUTRAGE is probably being downloaded somewhere on the Internet? How do you feel about that?
Kate French: Hopefully there will soon be laws and regulations to intercept this. It is hurting the industry and the artists.
You posed for a very provocative picture which ended up being the cover for the first Southern Gentlemen CD. How did you end up on the cover and whose guitar were you posing with!?
Kate French: I have a friend who is a photographer, he has been taking pics of me for years. That pic was submitted to David for whatever he wanted to use it for and it ended up on his CD cover. I'm honored. I really think Stephen took a great pic. That is one of my many guitars .. I'm playing lead guitar for a band right now , got a gig in a couple weeks LOVE to play!! It's like having this big cool toy to throw around and entertain with on stage. A lot different then a mic. Gonna play rhythm and sing on my solo stuff.
Thanks Kate. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
Kate French: Yes, If you guys get the chance go to "http://www.leviathanrecords.com" and listen to some sound clips off the new CD In an Outrage, It will be in the "Chastain" band section. Also, if you would like to here some clips off the up coming Vainglory CD, also on Leviathan Records, you can go to "http://www.corbinking.com" and click on the Bands/Music section. And mostly thanks for your time and taking the time to read this or listen to the sound clips. I've been doing this for so many years now, it's cool to know others might be entertained by what I do, Thanks. Lastly, Fight for what you believe in, be the first to forgive but don't forget. Strive to be happy always and remember METAL RULES!!!! Rock on!!
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