Katrine Ottosen, aka CALLmeKAT, premieres her alternate version of the title track, “Where The River Turns Black (mountain version)”, developed from her 2012 album of the same name. Listen as the electric winter gospel of the original version gets covered in the thick of a blanketing audio avalanche. Katrine along with Joe Magistro and Daniel Fridell turnout the tabernacle revival tent for an even closer and intimate engagement, evolved out of live performance renderings; recorded and relayed now ahead of their West Coast tour.
Taking the snow fall season on submarine ride beneath the frozen surface of the river, CALLmeKAT displays a new rhythm track and a new cadre of keyboards. “Hiking back to where we used to play”, Katrine transforms her track as a natural excursion for mountain side hikes where the drum machines and synths siphon together like water trail origins. The Hammond B-3 organs become flipped into the theremin tones of walking ghosts carrying Northern melancholia talismans that contain dark chord properties. Between the mood of the floorboard crawling bass and snowed-in sentiments; CALLmeKAT creates a kind of cabin fever ready for car ride comforts on their touring road trip, and a pensive synthesized pendant to shine forth in time for ski season.
On the eve of CALLmeKAT's West Coast tour, we caught up with Katrine to discuss anaglogue, electronic mediums, the alternative version, and received the revelation of her upcoming Hidden Waters EP trilogy.
What first attracted you to the electronic medium?
I don't know if my platform is so electronic. I guess when you play around with keyboards and pedals it automatically seems very electronic, but in my head I am actually working from a point of view that is pretty organic. I get asked this question on a pretty regular basis, and so I guess I view upon my devices more as electric things, not so much an electronic frame of mind. Also, I think I only have two things with me on stage that is not analog. I am a sucker for vintage keyboards, and simple analog instruments that have soul and you can feel it when you play them. What attracts me to keyboards and pedals are the way I can manipulate them and create a new world with the same three things, when I approach them. It's like one big jigsaw puzzle – but with endless ways to solve it.
How did you develop your first name Katrine, into CALLmeKAT for a stage pseudonym?
Early on I was touring a bunch internationally and I hadn't come up with a stage name, so the booking agents just booked me under my real-life name. It always sounded funny when it was pronounced and I really didn't want to do that. A stage name is nice, sort of a coat you can wear and do all kinds of crazy things, but also I couldn't come up with a good band name. I ended up with this because my friends/family were calling me Kat anyway. So… I have a real crooked relationship with my own stage name. I sort of dislike the mere fact that I didn't come up with the greatest band name in the world – and also sort of that it is written in one word, but it ended like that for my very first release, so it was easier to find online… And now I am just stuck in that alley, Ha!
How did the this alternate version of “Where The River Turns Black (mountain version)” come about from the version off your 2012 release?
It developed itself during a US tour I did last summer. It was my first cross-country roadtrip and we played a lot of shows in a row. Sometimes when you do that, the songs take over and do chameleon tricks and get new colors and textures. That's what happened with that song. And I grew to love playing it so much that way that I thought it should be recorded. So my producer Joe Magistro [of Prophet Omega] and I recorded it this spring, in his studio in the Catskill Mountains. It was really simple, just me and the stuff I have on stage. Usually when recording I have a much broader palette of instruments, but for this one I wanted to keep it simple.
What sounds and scenes have you found yourself enjoying around Denmark lately?
Since I split my time between Denmark and the US, I often feel that I am really out of touch with any sort of 'scene' back home. What I really like about Denmark when I am there, is the easy life. I think this carefree lifestyle brings with it a light-heartedness that I think seeps through a lot of Danish music, even when it is drenched in Northern melancholia and dark chords.
Given that you are about to take on the West Coast, what are you most excited about in your upcoming tour of America's westward territories?
I have never had the chance to drive up the US West Coast and it is a huge fantasy of mine! So that is really exciting. I grew up in a forest and often feel very inspired by nature, so I am stoked to get a chance to experience the Redwoods and drive through Oregon, which I only drove through once on tour last summer and I have wanted to come back ever since. Then I am excited to be joining the lovely ladies of Au Revoir Simone. I have supported them in Europe a few years ago and I think they are great. Really happy to be joining their caravan of keyboards! Also I am happy to see some West Coast friends and play my music for completely new ears – and on another note I really have been having some food cravings, that need to be satisfied when I reach California. One word: Taco.
Who are some of your favorite East/West Coast American artists?
I am a big fan of classic stuff like Devo, Neil Young, even if he is Canadian, Bob Dylan, Ike & Tina Turner… I tend to gravitate towards 'older' music for recreational listening. Also I've really been listening a whole bunch to old Thelonius Monk albums since I got them earlier this year. However, my new favorite band on my mind is actually a project that I am involved in myself, ha! It is a collaboration with called Gene Gene and it is actually the perfect music for a roadtrip up the coast. Full of guitars and organs and evil beats. More 'rock' than CALLmeKAT, you could say. Turn up the music and just drive. Ah. The music will be released next year sometime.
Favorite global artists?
The Zombies. I know that they are touring again now! I wonder if it is good. I hope so.
Releases in the works we need to be taking note of?
YES! I just finished the first EP of a trilogy. It is called Hidden Waters and I will be playing a bunch of songs from it on this tour. It will be released in my native Denmark in November and later in Europe and elsewhere. I hope to release it in the US in early 2014.
CALLmeKAT will be touring the West Coast on the following dates, supporting Au Revoir Simone.
22 Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
23 San Francisco, CA- Slims
25 Portland, OR – Doug Fir
27 Seattle, WA – Neumos
The album Where the River Turns Black is available now via iTunes.