This Is Me: Kickball Katy

Another one of our classic This Is Me‘s from the print mag stars Vivian Girls’ bass player Kickball Katy.

Photography by Sam Ashley, interview by Sam Haddad

The biggest disappointment of being in a band is having so many people form opinions about you when they don’t know you. Uninformed opinions. It’s definitely an Internet thing, as everyone can be mean about people anonymously. But then everyone does it to everyone. It’s just the way it is.

I think bass players do have unique shared characteristics. All the bass players I’ve met have this behind the scenes quality, and yeah I’m like that in normal life when I’m not performing too.

At first my parents were bummed I was in a band with a college degree. But then they saw us in the New York Times so now they’re proud. I’ve been teaching physics to graduates and I’m doing a Masters at the moment, though it’s pretty hard to do that and be in a band. Post-Vivian Girls, teaching physics is what I’ll do.

Our band wouldn’t have existed in our parents’ day. Things are definitely a lot different for girls now. We don’t encounter sexism on a day-to-day basis and never with publications, but sometimes individuals on web sites will say stuff, such as these girls are not technically proficient. Where as if it was a guys’ band they’d never mention the gender, they’d just say they can’t play their instruments.

We recorded our first album in three days, as that’s all we could afford the studio for. It made all our songs a lot faster. It was also winter and we were in a basement and the record reflected that. The latest album was recorded in California in eight days, where it was obviously all summery, and we stayed in a Travelodge and got in the hot tub every night. Also the first record was digital and the second analogue, and the first does sound colder and the second warmer. It was like the medium reflected the location.

I prefer playing live to recording, as I’m not that good. If you’re playing live you can mess up a tiny bit but it doesn’t matter you can move on, but if you’re recording everything has to be 100 per cent right or you have to do it again and that can kinda stress me out.

We definitely fight a lot less than other guy bands we know. I’m not sure if it’s a girl thing, I think it’s just an us thing. We’ve all been friends for a really long time and we just get on really well.

I never get nervous but recently we were playing this big gig in Chicago and Cassie and I both got really nervous. As a bass player you probably get less nervous, as less of the attention is directly on you.

I was a sporty kid. I used to play soccer, lacrosse, every sport I could really. I don’t know why I loved sport so much I just did. I was definitely a very happy kid.

My nickname is Katy Kickball because I was in a super secret kickball society seven years ago in upstate New York. The nickname stuck for me, maybe as it’s because the alliteration of the two ks works well.


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