Press Contact: Denise Barnack – denise [at] sitkittysit [dot] com
Kat Downs debut music video “One of Many”is the latest project produced by the Bay Area artist, and is an exhilarating message that encourages voters to take action and hit the polls this midterm election. Watch here
Best known for her intense piano performances in the hard piano rock duo, Sit Kitty Sit, Downs has now branched into a different genre- mixing hard-hitting electronica with piano and vocals that create an energizing political anthem.
The song was born very shortly after the 2016 presidential election. “It was one of those songs that came very quickly. I think the whole thing came out in about 15 minutes.” said Downs. As the most openly political piece written so far, Downs wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it at first. However, after the release of Tectonic in May 2018, Downs discovered her writing taking a turn and realized the time was right to launch her solo project. In the current political climate of the United States, Downs decided that “One of Many” was the perfect debut.
Despite her liberal outlook, she was raised in a very conservative background and learned at a young age to keep her political views to herself. “I’m curious about other people’s points of view. I WANT to hear ideas that contradict my own. What I don’t like is that so many people get instantly angry and at times, it’s almost impossible to have a constructive conversation with anyone where you can entertain opposing ideas without attempting to change anyone’s mind. I’m ready to stand up and have a voice and I am encouraging others to do the same.”
The video, edited by Ryan Klassa, captures the excitement and determination in this current political landscape. It explores many facets of what like-minded individuals can accomplish when the motivation is strong enough to lead to real action. From demonstrations to marches, the vignettes – presented at times on their own, and also projected onto Kat Downs, gives the viewer a sense that at times they may feel like a small, singular voice in a sea of ambivalence, when in reality, we are made up of all the people and issues we care deeply about.
“People on each side of these important topics may feel that the other side is wrong or misguided in some way, but it’s in the dialogue between sides that we find truth, and our humanity flourishes. This video was not created as an attempt to make anyone switch from one narrow political side to another, but rather as a call to action – the only way real change can occur is by going out and voting for those who will represent the best interests in all of us. We believe it is also about something even more important and more unifying, which is kindness.”
She was Kat Nesbitt when she marched in the band at Green Bay West High School and studied music at St. Norbert College, but she’s been rocker Kat Downs ever since.
A classically trained pianist who moved to California in 2001, she’s making a swing through her hometown on Thursday for a gig with her hard piano rock duo Sit Kitty Sit at the Lyric Room. She’s on vocals and piano and her musical partner, Mike Thompson, is on drums. (Their fans are called “Sitheads.”)
Sit Kitty Sit is on a mini Wisconsin-Illinois tour to promote its fourth album, “Tectonic,” and to open for the Gin Blossoms, Tonic and Vertical Horizon on Saturday in Island Lake, Illinois. The itinerary also includes a music video shoot next week in Abrams.
Downs isn’t the only local connection to Sit Kitty Sit. Her St. Norbert friends, Kari Divine, Appleton, is band manager, and Denise Barnack, Ashwaubenon, handles press and booking.
Doors for the Lyric Room gig open at 8 p.m. Music starts at 9 p.m. with Alley Cat & The Purrfection. Tickets are $7 at lyricroomgreenbay.ticketfly.com.
Kat Downs is a pianist, vocalist and songwriter who makes up half of the San Francisco hard-rock duo Sit Kitty Sit, along with drummer Mike Thompson. After their 2014 release, Everlasting Fire, Downs experienced a string of difficulties—among them a cancer scare, divorce and depression. The aftermaths of these experiences are distilled in the duo’s new album, Tectonic. Sit Kitty Sit plays June 9 at Pignic.
When you first got together in 2010, how did you decide to play rock with no guitar?
I had been working on a solo album where every song was in a different genre, and I asked [Mike Thompson] to play with me on one song. I had always wanted to hear what it would sound like if you added theatrical prog metal drumming to Rachmaninoff. And I tried to find that. … I couldn’t find it, so I was like, “Well crap, now I have to write it,” so I did. It was just supposed to be a one-off thing. That was the song “The Push.” We played together so naturally that we kind of freaked each other out. And then, about nine months or so later, I had gone though the rest of my library. And I realized that … my style of writing just fit that double-percussion thing so well, that I reached out and asked him if he wanted to continue that experiment.
Did either one of you come from a classical background?
Yes, I started studying when I was six, and piano was my main instrument until high school, and I started playing flute in fourth grade, and flute was my major instrument in both high school and college. So I’m actually a classically trained flautist.
You’ve gone through some difficult times. What’s it been like processing those and incorporating them into your work?
Basically, I sat down and talked with Mike first. I knew it was time for us to put out a record, but there was just nothing there. You know how it is when you have someone you’re working with all the time. It’s not just one conversation. It’s one conversation that lasts like a month. So, we had sat down at one point with a piece of paper. We were still kind of coming out of it at that point, so stuff was still pretty raw. It was like, “What do you remember? What pops off the page at you when you scan back through that part of your life?” And we basically just wrote down all the emotions that we felt. There was rage—more than once. That’s why there’s more than one song about rage. It’s like, you’re very angry, and then you chill out for a while, and then you get angry again, so, that was how we did it.
Stress and productivity are a pretty tough combination. It sounds like you just decided to keep up the pace and work. Is that how you went about it?
Yes. Up to that point we had been putting out a record every two years. It was just a personal goal of ours. No one was holding us accountable. It was just us. But we were already a year late. We knew that … having something to focus on would kind of keep the train moving. … It took like an extra year to put the record out. That’s why there was a four-year gap between this record and that one.
Have you built fan bases in other cities besides San Francisco?
Oh! Reno! Absolutely. Our fan base in Reno is—they’re ecstatic people. I think how it happened is, we used to basically start and end most of our national tours in Reno. So, we ended up getting this very family-esque following there, which is really cool. We’ve been on the Worst Little Podcast three or four times now. We recorded at Dog Water Studios with Rick. That whole thing was recorded in Reno. It’s like our home away from home.
Sit Kitty Sit came into New York City like a storm on Saturday, September 3rd to play an ambitious show at Fat Baby. The notable duo of Kat Downs and Mike Thompson took to the stage like the pros they are, to put on a show that was instantly one of my favorite. Together Downs and Thompson are a whirlwind of force, as their eclectic sound of piano, drums and vocal, bring an interesting experience to life.
Steadily playing through their catalog of Indie-Rock hits, we heard crowd-pleasers such as “Birmingham” and “In the Morning,” mixed in with some newer jams of their recent single “Creeping,” and “Blood & Bones.” On stage, the duo brings everything to a whole new level, as their heavy-hitting playing struck a chord and resonated in my ears.
Sit Kitty Sit is a must-see if they’re headed to your town, so be sure to stay up to date via https://sitkittysit.com/shows/
The San Franciso duo of Sit Kitty Sit has been breaking barriers the past several years, with their bold and prominent tones of classic Indie music. The combination of Kat Downs on vocals and keys and Mike Thompson on drums bring an interesting and charming element to the table, as their unique blend of instrumentation sets them apart from the rest. This afternoon we see the group debuting their new single, “Creeping,” to the delight of our ears.
The track showcases Downs’ vocals in a whole new light and sets a bit of a different manner for the duo. Filling the space with thumping drums and an eclectic piano, we hear Downs’ vocals a bit softer than the group’s previous releases; really getting into the heart and soul of the lyrics. Stunning background vocals fill the song as Downs’ voice picks up intensity with a growling and echoing element of surprise; their signature sound. “”Creeping” explores the fulility of attempting to speak logically to someone who is mad. It cannot be done, and in the end, only pushes you to madness as well. Or in other words, you can’t talk sane to crazy”” says Downs.
“Creeping is bound to be one of your favorite songs for the Summer. To boot, Sit Kitty Sit will be on the road this coming September, so be on the lookout!
Kat Downs is a Musician, Artist, Teacher, Composer and Performer originally from Green Bay, WI.
Now based out of San Francisco, CA, Kat’s current projects include the powerhouse Hard Piano Rock duo, Sit Kitty Sit, and the goth rock band, Saints of Ruin. She is the staff composer for Wily West Productions, does composition work for a wide range of theatrical companies and individual artists, and has an exclusive studio of piano and flute students.
You can learn more about Kat at katdowns.com
We talk about why and how she was able to take a $72k paycut to become a full time musician, forcing yourself to grow through your limitations, and how she handles negative energy and people.