AGL Live Session: Kate Dressed Up
Posted: by The Editor
Photo by Dova Photography
Katie Miller, who fronts her own indie-folk outfit, Kate Dressed Up, freely dived into this kind of conceptualization on her latest single, “History & Art,” which was released on her birthday in early May and recently shared with the friendly Sounds from the House crowd.
The band adorned Miller’s transfixing guitar picking with dancey bass from Vin Karaitis and Chris Miller’s crisp drum style, completely pivoting from the studio single’s synth rock elements. The trio, put together by Miller, crafted a mindfully melodic sentiment that is rooted in its powerful chorus, “My love we are bound by history and art/ I only understood after tearing us apart.’” When sung in harmony with Karaitis, Miller carried the tenderness of her realization with the warm folk nostalgia of singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Miller spoke in further detail about her feelings toward the song, her own history as a musician, and her favorite moments from her SFTH set. Read the full interview below.
When did you start playing music as Kate Dressed Up? Where did the name come from?
Kate Dressed Up started right at the beginning of 2016 after I moved near Philadelphia. I knew before I started the project that I would need some kind of moniker because my name is too common to look up on the internet. Right at the end of 2015 the name Kate Dressed Up popped into my head and it just felt right.
When did you put together the band that played with you at SFTH?
I mentally put this band together two and a half years ago when Kate Dressed Up first started. However, the team was not actually assembled until January of this year when I started planning my Philly residency with Lost Compass and Shxt Happens. The KDU band members are my best friend, Vin, on bass/vocals, and my cousin, Chris, on drums. When she’s available my other best friend, Elyse, joins us for vocal harmonies. She has a beautiful voice so that’s always a really special experience for all of us. I feel very lucky to get to have people so close to my heart–not to mention talented–on stage with me all the time.
The chorus to “History & Art,” actually made me realize just how binding context/time (history?) and the creation of art can be with a loved one. What does this song mean to you?
Yeah, you pretty much nailed it on the head. The song itself was written at a time when I had left my boyfriend Roger and then soon realized that I had made the dead wrong decision. This song for me was just about the realization of what we had, as well as the hope that he would be accepting of my sudden turnaround (he was). The phrase History & Art itself has a couple meanings to me. First, on a personal level it refers to our origins as a couple–we met as history majors in college and became friends over music. But, like you said, in a bigger sense it also refers to that passage of time between people and how that naturally deepens their connection through shared experiences, both good and bad. And then Art is just about the way you manifest your whole existence, both as individuals and as a unit. Roger isn’t a musician or a painter but I personally believe that existence itself can be art, and I think we are creating something really beautiful together. Cheesy but honest.
When can we expect the full length?!
Haha, good question! Probably not as soon as I had originally hoped earlier this year, but for good reason. Through a series of extremely fortunate events I was introduced to a sound engineer named Ravi Bhavsar, who after recording a song with me offered to produce my entire album at Flux Studios in NYC where he works. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity. So the album was started over in earnest on May 30, and we’ve made some really exciting progress already. This album is definitely going to be a step up from my previous work; crystalizing this artistic vision with Ravi has been a dream so far. He’s very talented and also oddly like-minded to me artistically even though our musical backgrounds are super different. The process itself has been such an inspiration and I could not be happier with where it’s all headed.
How’d it feel playing SFTH? Any favorite moments from the set/night?
SFTH was freaking awesome! I love shows with intimate vibes and this was definitely one of my favorites in that category. Ravi actually came out to support, as well as Chris’s two sisters. It’s always extra special to have friends and family at the show, whether it’s a full house or they’re the only ones there. One of my favorite things about the night was my impromptu performance of “A Song To You” (working title), because it was the first song I recorded with Ravi and I almost never perform it, but I did because I had extra time and he was there. It felt good to play something we both worked on but haven’t really showed anybody yet.
Mixing and Mastering: Ryan Hillsinger
Video Production: Savan Sekhon
Videographers: Savan Sekhon, Anthony “Big Body” Comi, and Ryan Hillsinger
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