While we’re all familiar with pop-rock – the guitar-driven, 3-minute jams from bands like Green Day and Weezer – there’s a movement in the music scene that might as well be branded rock-pop, where driving rhythms and propulsive synths bridge the gap between the genres. Kit Major is one such artist, and her songs are relentless in their catchiness. We caught up with the Chicago singer-songwriter to get the inside scoop on how she builds tracks like Scene Queen, her latest anthem.
Your music tends to fly across the genre spectrum, diving into vibrant synthpop, stripped-down singer-songwriter, and aggressive rock at a moment’s notice. At what point in the songwriting process do you begin to decide which instrumentation you’ll use for a track, and how does that decision making process take place?
It changes all the time. The soundscape either propels the story being told or it’s inspired from how I’m feeling or what I’m listening to. I like songwriting from my personal sound library and perspective but I don’t think about genre writing.
Your lyrics often exude a defiant, personal agency. Where do you funnel that power from?
I like that you called it personal agency. I think that’s a good way to put it. My songwriting is both a form of escapism and how I cope with being alive. It really is fueled from personal feelings and stories.
The pandemic has struck musicians especially hard in regard to limiting income generation through touring, and it’s clear that those shows are a major part of what Kit Major is about. Can you describe how you’ve weathered that difficulty?
I’ve been really lucky that I live with my collaborator and best friend, Noël Dombroski. She’s a talent of many traits and is not only a photographer, videographer, and editor, she’s also a production designer. We’ve been able to create worlds in our apartment and film shows on Zoom which has been so much fun. That way we’ve been able to keep Kit Major shows transformative during this time when it’s been harder to travel and be with people.
In a perfect, COVID-free world two years (or less!) from now, can you describe what kind of effects and theatrics your dream performance would feature?
Heavy metal guitar solos. Live drums. Costume changes. A safe place. And a wild fucking party. There’s nothing I would want more than to have my shows allow an escape for people to be exactly who they want to be. I’m so excited for the day we can have shows again.
You have a number of excellent covers on your YouTube channel alongside your original songs. What role does performing and recording covers play in your artistic process as a whole?
Thank you so much! It’s been really fun just to create. The covers are things I can do in my bedroom and I record them and edit the videos myself, so it’s been a way to keep my hands busy and socially distant. I really value the creative exploration of recording the covers because I like finding ways to make them my own by adding a personal spin to my favorite songs.
Have you always felt that being an artist and / or musician was a central part of who you are? Were there moments in your journey that you found especially affirming or enlightening in taking that path?
I’ve always been an artist. Playing with my imagination is a big part of who I am and how I see the world. I’ve been creating since I could remember. If it’s not with music, it was with writing, acting, and I’ve been very lucky to have grown up in such a creative household. I think the biggest moment in my musical journey was gaining the confidence to go after it. I didn’t hear myself in music when I was younger until I got really into rock music. Rock music is really freeing. It shook me out of wanting to be perfect and took me back into writing and exploring my own sound and going back to that instinct of just creating without judgement.
Image courtesy of Kit Major
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