The Goldilocks Chord: How Sit Kitty Sit Found a Sound that Suits Them Just Right
San Francisco piano punks Sit Kitty Sit will play King Wah’s in Medford on Wed., April 13. Which is impressive, since they were never supposed to be a band, just a single song on pianist and singer Kat Downs solo album.
“Every song on the album was a different genre,” she says. “For one, I wanted to combine Rachmaninoff-style piano with thrash-metal style drumming.”
Downs says the inspiration for that song came from the desire to listen to something in that vein.
“I was trying to find another place to listen to it,” she says. “I was like, someone has to have done this. And I couldn’t find it. So I said I guess the only way I’ll be able to hear it, is if I write it.”
That single song wasn’t even supposed to include the other member of the duo, drummer Mike Thompson. She originally had another drummer lined up for the recording session. But he embraced that old drummer stereotype and flaked. Thompson took his place. And once the session was done, it was all the pair could think about.
Before long their classical meets classic rock blend was turning ears around the bay. It wasn’t long after that they hit the road across America and Europe.
The band doesn’t like to force its writing process, writing tunes in pieces as they come.
“We always want to make it sound like us, sound unique, sound fresh,” says Thompson. “With two people, it’s kind of hard to keep it sounding fresh. Because there’s only so much you can do.”
But the duo also admits that the new wave of technology offers them a lot of options to expand their sound they’re not taking advantage, instead sticking purely to an acoustic piano and a drum kit.
“Certainly, we’re not opposed to adding samplers, or synthesizers,” says Thompson. “But the essence of this band is stripped down piano and drums. That’s what defines our sound. AC/DC didn’t change shit. The wrote the same fucking song for 50 years. If you find the right formula, then you can make it work.”
And they’re found the right formula with equal parts punk, cabaret, and classical. It’s almost impossible not to compare them to the Dresden Dolls or early Regina Spektor.
And that’s a sound the band says has always struck a chord when it plays in Medford.
“Make sure to mention that we LOVE Oregon,” says Thompson. “All our rowdiest fans are there. Hands down.”
Sit Kitty Sit, with Haywood Macabre
9 pm Wed., April 13
King Wah’s, 1182 Court St., Medford