Kilo Tango Talks DIY, Her Local Favorites, and A New EP!

“Gone Baby Gone” the latest single by Kilo Tango —project of Los Angeles based artist Katie Mitchell— is an authoritative shift from the hot tub of rasp, reverb, and sunshine-stained lovesickness of Bummed Out, Suns Out.

Recorded at the age of 19 in Tallahassee, Bummed Out, Suns Out immersed us in tender stretches of heartbreak and longing. Songs like “Long Hair Boy” captured a helpless moment of slow drums and slurring chords. Nostalgic and angst-driven, Kilo Tango has a mark similar to the likes of Best Coast, Colleen Green, and The Cramps.

However, “Gone Baby Gone” launches forward with heavy rhythm and sliding, echoing, wet riffs. A personal favorite and one of five songs that will be on her upcoming EP; “Gone Baby Gone” is upbeat, confident, and battle-scarred.

Her lyrics showcase a security amongst uncertainty and chaos. “A few years older more on my shoulders/ Everything is out of order/ Look on over know what I see/ My dreams so far away from me” They capture maturity at it’s core, awareness. Like walking up a down escalator, everything is falling, moving backward. But you still trudge toward a destination. One that is not entirely out of reach.

We were so happy to talk to Mitchell about Tallahassee DIY, writing music in college, her favorite local bands, and recording her new EP. Check out our interview below and be sure to pick up some Kilo Tango gear at a show near you!

Katie Mitchell of Kilo Tango

Whether it’s the people who come out or just the positive vibe that a space gives off, we all have our favorite venues. Where are some of the best places to catch a show around Tallahassee? How is the scene different in LA?

Tallahassee has a very special and unique DIY scene. Since it’s a smaller city houses serves as DIY venues. Landmarks that are no longer (RIP), include The Shark Tank and TV Land. The Shark Tank was a legendary house venue that made you feel like you were in a 90’s teen dream. Bands such as Colleen Green and Peach Kelli Pop have even played there! TV Land was a basement that had rad graffiti on the walls and kept the spirit of rock alive. Now there are other really rad venues such as a house called BFF HAUS and there’s a bunch that have been started since I moved. So I’m a little out of touch. Club Downunder is the student-run venue on the Florida State Campus that is really awesome. So many people have played there it’s insane! I’ve seen The Growlers, Twin Peaks, Shannon and The Clams, Jonathan Richman, and a lot of others!

LA is totally different. I worked a festival in Santa Ana called Way Too Fun Fest and it was amazing because I got to really see what the DIY scene here is like. There’s a lot more girl-fronted bands here. The music is different; Tallahassee is more of a punk/hardcore/twee scene. LA is so many things haha. It’s hard to explain. It’s just so different. There’s more variety and more of something for everyone because it’s huge! That’s why I love it. I feel freer to be myself as a musician here.

Playing a set or moshing out can leave you sweating and starving for some fries. Where are some of your favorite late night spots to grab food after a night out?

Oh Definitely In-N-Out or Del Taco.

Your cat is adorable! What’s his name? Has he been able to make it out to see Kilo Tango live?

Thank you! His name is Sampson but I call him Sammy. Unfortunately, he has not made it to a show but he has served as my audience when I practice at home! I try to take his criticism with a grain of salt though because he can be pretty harsh sometimes.

College comes with an incredible amount of stress and social pressure. There’s also a flush of freedom and independence. How did going to art school in Georgia influence Kilo Tango? What did you study? Did you meet anyone that introduced you to music?

Art school is one of the reasons I started Kilo Tango! I really hated it and just always had this feeling that I just need to play music somehow and that’s the only thing I want to do. I started out majoring in fashion and then I switched to writing. I felt really intimidated and had major anxiety going to class every day and having to read a personal story in front of people! So then I decided to write really personal music that I sing in front of strangers! Funny how that works out but performing has helped me gain a lot of confidence I lacked in college. There’s a really cool record store there I would frequent. I mostly spent my time messing around writing songs haha.

Was there a professor, class, or experience that prompted you to pursue songwriting?

I actually did have this one writing professor who was so great. He was obsessed with The Velvet Underground and made us study Lou Reed’s lyrics. His favorite song was “I’m Waiting For The Man” which I thought was hilarious. He was just really honest, but encouraging and interesting. We would just spend the whole class talking about life. I started getting really into The Velvet Underground after that.

There are our hometown favorites, local bands who are passionate and personable, who should we go see if we’re in Tallahassee? What about in LA?

Tallahassee has some good stuff going on right now my friend Catherine Vinale put out an EP under the artist name Winded. She’s so talented and an amazing person. My old band mates have their own bands now 😦

What were some your earliest attempts at songwriting like? How have your themes and ideas evolved? Have they stayed the same?

When I first learned guitar I immediately started writing songs and they were so terrible haha. I just played all the time and wrote all the time until I had something that actually sounded like a song. At first I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t really) but I’ve figured out more of a process that works for me which is just to let the inspiration come and have fun with it. I’ll usually just demo it on my computer and listen to it, change it up and also playing live has helped me develop more of the type of music I want to play.

A new record is on the way! You posted a couple pictures with a pianos? Are we expecting synths!?

Yes! It will be an EP of 5 songs including previously released tracks, “Psychedelic Heart” and “Gone Baby Gone”! Maybe….?

What was it like recording with Zeh Monstro?

It was so great he’s such a talented musician! We recorded the drums and guitar live and he also did bass. I had only sent him the demos like 2 days earlier and he had it all down and it turned out really great.

What was the process like for your upcoming EP in comparison to Bummed out, Suns Out

Soooooo different. Bummed Out, Suns Out happened really fast. I wrote it, recorded it, and released it. I also recorded it in Tallahassee when I was like 19. For the new EP I wrote some of these songs before I wrote Bummed Out, Suns Out and they’ve changed a lot since I first did demos of them. I have been playing this EP as a full set now for about a year and recorded the same songs last year but they just didn’t turn out. I recorded them again here in LA at an awesome studio in Glassell Park called Route 2 Recordings. The studio was so nice, they were really helpful and understood exactly what I was going for.

Your merch is awesome! I gotta scoop me up a Kilo Tango candle. Do you make all of it yourself? What can we expect to see on a table at show?

Omg thank you! Haha I do make it all! I love designing and making cute things it’s so much fun! Lots of candles!! Pins, Bottle Openers, stickers, t-shirts, maybe some zines;)

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