By Tyler Fox (@TylerFox585)
I have a soft spot for some good country/folk punk. I grew up binging on “Reinventing Axl Rose” and Ghost Mice so I can’t help but enjoy the stuff. I came across this up-and-coming Austin, TX band, Free Kittens & Bread, who took me back to being 13 and screaming impassioned folk punk at the top of my lungs.
Free Kittens & Bread just released their first full length album, “American Miserablist,” at the beginning of April, accompanied by a video for the first single, “Brainless.” Also, the band just got done with a tour supporting the new album, hitting several cities throughout the Midwest and South. I got to speak with Chase, and briefly with Mark, regarding the new album, tour and what keeps the band ticking. Be sure to grab “American Miserablist” from their Bandcamp page and like them on Facebook to see what happens next….
So Free Kittens & Bread has been around for a while, but has taken many different shapes. How did everything begin and how did you guys get to be what is now Free Kittens & Bread today?
Chase: It all began when I graduated college and had zero idea of what to do with my life. I was working at Half Price books in Plano, TX earning minimum wage with a college degree and I decided it was stupid not to at least TRY and pursue music. So I recorded an album by myself DIY style (literally inside of a shack in my back yard) under the name Free Kittens & Bread. It was mostly acoustic stuff. Then I moved to Austin to form a band around the name. We’ve gone through a lot of changes since as far as the music and the members, but here we are now.
Austin, TX seems to be a breeding ground for amazing new music. What is it like being in an area with so many great acts? Do you find it difficult to stand out in such a saturated scene?
C: Standing out here: yes, nearly impossible. Especially for our genre of music. The market is definitely saturated. I don’t know, pysch rock is really big here. Austin is really clique-y. I feel like the next big thing in the Austin music scene isn’t necessarily the next big thing for the rest of us, if that makes any sense.
Being in an area that has so much music going on, I have to imagine that the band has played some pretty amazing shows. What has been the most memorable show the band has played in Texas?
C: Honestly, our best and most memorable shows have been on the road. I’m biased because touring is my favorite, but we find more people outside of Texas that genuinely like our music. Our most memorable show in Texas for me was at Macaroni Island, in Denton, TX. It’s not there anymore, but it was a great house venue.
The band’s first full-length, “American Miserablist,” just came out April 1st, but the band is no stranger to recording and releasing music. What was different in the writing and recording process this time around, doing the full-length as opposed to the shorter releases?
C: Well for our “Puppet” release, which was our EP before this full length, we basically went into a studio and recorded as many songs as we could live as fast as we could. No click track, nothing but us in a room. 6 songs made the EP, we recorded about 9. But the full length was entirely different. We took 1-2 months to write all of the songs that were to be on the record, then went in and hammered out our parts separately over the course of 2 to 3 months. The recording process of “Puppet” was 2 days. I guess the major difference is that we took our time for this record.
Before “American Miserablist” came out, the band released the album’s first single, Brainless, with a music video to go along with it. Was this the band’s first music video? What was the shoot like for it?
C: It actually wasn’t our first music video. We shot a music video ourselves for a song called “Wishful Thing” that was on the first acoustic album I recorded by myself. It’s on the internet somewhere. But the shoot for Brainless went well. I basically got day-drunk on Lonestar while our friend Michael shot me singing lyrics and then us jamming in our practice space aka Mark’s garage.
You guys are rounding out the “American Miserablist” tour right now, having played what seems like 15 shows a day. Has it been tough hitting the road this hard? What has been the craziest thing that has happened so far on tour?
C: This tour has been tough. This was our first tour where we played a show every single night. Some days we had two shows. On previous tours we had days off, so this one was a bit more physically/mentally demanding. 3 of us actually got sick on the last day. The craziest thing that happened on this tour was we got pulled over and had our car searched on our way home in Texas and the cop didn’t find any of the (numerous) purchases we made in Colorado.
Mark: those purchases primarily including kale chips and ginger kombucha of course!
New album is out. Supporting tour is almost over. But what else can we expect from Free Kittens & Bread over the next couple of months?
C: There’s no telling.
We’d like to thank Chase, Mark, and the rest of Free Kittens & Bread for their time as well as the photos they provided courtesy of Andrew Dominguez. We’d encourage you to follow them at the links above.