Kate is a feminine given name. It is sometimes a short form of Katherine, which is Greek meaning pure, blessed, virginal and popularity.
Indiepop nights are an uncommon sight in New York City, so initiatives like Kip and Maria’s “Rough Smooch” are very welcome in town. Three bands and two DJs playing indiepop tunes at Legion Bar in Brooklyn was the perfect excuse to go out on a Sunday night. A cold, bleak and wet Sunday night. And even though it’s never ideal to go out on a day prior to a workday I think the turnout was more than good.
I want to say it was a success but of course, I don’t handle the numbers of how much beer was consumed. I assume that’s how it would be qualified if successful or not because it was a free cover show. But if I can throw some numbers, just a wild guess on the attendance, I’d say around 60-70 people came to the show. For a first night, for an event that was only promoted through facebook and twitter and because of the dreary weather, it was great. I reckon that the amount of people yesterday was the perfect number. I say that because the back room, where bands play, was properly packed while bands were on.
I expected to see more familiar faces of the NYC indiepop scene, not that it exists but there are people who do like this music. Aside from the omnipresent Maz from Mondo and NYC Popfest, and Michael Grace, from My Favorite and The Secret History, there was no one else. I wonder where was everyone else. It is at nights like these, at events like these, when people have to come together and support. So these can keep going. I was glad though that there were new faces, new people, that enjoyed the gig very much. There was dancing, and there was even some sing-a-long. But I cannot be cynical and not be disappointed by those who didn’t show up but do expect being supported when they play or organize something.
The venue was new to me. Someone around said that it was a failing bar. I couldn’t tell. It was spacious and as I mentioned before, it had a back room that was perfect for bands. The beer selection and the prices were fine too. The brick walls were cozy, and there was even a small little fireplace. A side door for a small little fenced area on the street for smokers to go, and one unassuming bathroom were among the comforts of the bar. And of course it had it’s hipster tattooed bar tenders but it’s Brooklyn, can’t expect the bookish kind in this area.
Music was good throughout the night. From Kip’s laptop both DJs entertained us the whole evening while Beetlejuice was being screened on top of them on a projector screen. A young Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Joan Cusack were invited to our party as well. Indiepop staples as Black Tambourine, The Clean, The Wake, The Field Mice and so on were heard and you could see people giggling, commenting and feeling secretly partners in crime of the whole indiepop thing. It was a happy crowd.
I was surprised by the first band, Grand Resort. A four-piece of Dominican expats in NY making proper jangle-pop that reminded me of The Bodines. Even more surprising to know that they have never heard the band. They were familiar though with the Sarah stable and The Close Lobsters who the vocalist told me was his favourite band. They also must like The Stone Roses as they covered their classic “I Wanna Be Adored” with a pretty faithful rendition.
The other two bands were “Kissing is a Crime” and “The Hairs” and they drew a bigger crowd. I mingled and socialized while they were playing so I can’t give a full account. My jangly purism made me skip the second band, Kissing is a Crime and well, I just stayed in the front room gossiping about indiepop, learning who is coming to NYC Popfest, and having Hoegaarden pints with old and new friends.
Will this event happen again? That’s the question I’d love both of the organizers to answer. They did say that they would love to repeat but not too often. As often as once a month would be ideal. But of course it all depends on the venue. They are the ones who decide always. If you are profitable or not. I’m going to be crossing my fingers for this to keep going and hopefully at last a pure indiepop party can happen in New York. It was proved yesterday that, for a small venue, there’s enough people interested and supportive of our beloved music.
Thanks Kip and Maria for a fun night!
Continuing with this excitement I have about this trip to Stockholm in March, and now that I have finally booked plane tickets from Madrid to Sweden’s capital, I want to bring back the good memory I have from Stockholmer duo Don’t Be Kate!
I had my doubts when I first emailed them back in 2007. I wanted a label of just jangly guitars but they made the sweetest, the catchiest, the best electropop I had heard in years. My preference and my love for electric guitars is no news, but I have loved and enjoy electronic sounds as any other kid that spent their teenage years in the 90s. Though not always picky, carrying a big baggage of guilty pleasures, I loved tons of europop and ended up re-discovering italo disco years later after being terribly curious after Nixon’s “What My Italo Disco Collection Sounds Like” song. Don’t Be Kate! were in the category of electronic pop I loved. And I would have crushed the Cloudberry motto and belief of an only guitar label just for them. But it didn’t happen.
At some point I also considered that it would be a good release for Plastilina, the other label I was involved at the time. An EP would be perfect. To discuss the topics we were in touch on MSN Messenger. I think I haven’t opened that program since those days! I used to talk with Karin, after contacting them on Myspace expressing my interest in releasing them. They were keen on it but we still had to reach a deal. My main worry was that their songs, the beautiful songs I wanted to release, the ones that were on their Myspace (those being “Good Times Leave”, “7 Months Still Running”, “Passport”, “Cul de Sac” and “Dance Kate”), were lost after a computer failure. They didn’t have the masters. Just the MP3s. Just the same quality as the Myspace stream. I said I wouldn’t mind. I loved these songs so very much. But that wasn’t their idea. They were going to record an EP, some new songs and they were going to get a class producer for it. And I think, if my memory doesn’t fail, the most tricky issue. I was just starting the labels and money was short, not that it’s abundant now mind you, but affording a class producer was going to be impossible. But they really wanted. They aimed high, and why not, their music was pure quality and bliss.
Of course all these decisions and how things worked out weren’t how we all expected to be. I would have loved to own their EP. Even if I haven’t released it. I wouldn’t have minded. But it should have been out. I don’t know if it was ever recorded. I think the girls were students at that time and I assume it might have been a bit difficult to self-release. Why nobody else picked them up? It startles me. Though by doing a bit of research for this post I barely found any mentions in the blogosphere, I guess, they weren’t much known, not a household name in the indiepop crowd. And shame on you all, because you were missing one of the most talented bands of that time. Listening to their songs, especially my favourites “7 Months Later Still Running” and “Cul de Sac”, I feel always the urge to put them out. And I’ve tried! I wrote them this year, but sadly I never heard back from them.
Don’t Be Kate! were Karin Forsberg and Nahla. They sang in English but Karin also had her own project were she sang in Swedish. It was great as well. They had a blog for a bit, but after three entries they stopped updating it. There were never much news about them. I think some of my Hamburg friends got to see them live once as Hit the North booked them once. The clinical ear of Jens never fails and he always booked the best new bands from Scandinavia for the pleasure of the port at the river Elbe. That was late in 2008. Even later that year, at Stampen! a club in the city centre of Stockholm they also played a gig.
The only other gig I’m aware they played was at Volga, a club at the Hötorget stop of the tunnelbana, in 2007. I wonder if these were the only three appearances of the band.
What happened after?
It seems our story gets blurry, we lose track of Nahla, and we follow Karin become part of a DJ duo called Indikaar. The other girl in this duo is Ida Larsson and it’s said they are based both in Nykoping and Stockholm. They played 90s music. Don’t know if they are still going, their facebook page dates of 2010 and their last DJ gig of September 2011. They seemed to have DJed many times around Nörrköping at this point.
I want to say Karin studied music business but can’t be 100% sure. Her name appears linked to a company called Oh! Productions which organized gigs and festivals in Sweden. Seems she had been representing a band called Musikkollektivet. The last update from Oh! Productions dates from 2010.
Today I believe she works at Spotify in Stockholm. It’s good to know she was always involved with music, though I wish, and not secretly, that she makes music once again. And why not, bring back those fabulous Don’t be Kate! songs!
If anyone knows about their whereabouts, whatever happened to that EP they were recording, or if they played more gigs, or anything else, anecdotes or happy memories, please share. I go back to their songs so often, that learning just a bit more about them would make my day.