It’s hard not to like Kat Robichaud, especially when she starts singing Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul” over the phone and then proceeds to rhapsodize about the brilliance of Aladdin Sane. “That beautiful piano intro, the way it makes the hair on your arm stand up,” she gushes, “It’s a song that picks you up for four gorgeous minutes then gently drops you back down to earth.” It was my how-much-of-a-Bowie-fan-are-you-really question and she passed easily. I already liked her because of her latest album, the eccentric glam rock/pop epic Kat Robichaud and the Darling Misfits, but now I was in complete awe of the raspy-voiced, Raleigh native.
Though involved in music for nearly a decade, Kat made a splash on mainstream consciousness with her appearance on The Voice, that insipid, corporately-sponsored, glorified talent show that somehow stays on the air like all those other irrelevant music-themed reality programs that have long since descended from the peak of their popularity – The X Factor, American Idol, the Grammys, etc. In other words, a show Kat was cool enough to get kicked off of. Thankfully for the Bay Area, she decided to bring the momentum gained from the appearance to San Francisco, perfectly fitting in with the city’s indelible weirdness.
The Bay Bridged: As a relatively new addition to San Francisco, what’s your impression of the Bay Area music scene? How receptive has it been to your music?
Kat Robichaud: It’s great, I love this city. I’ve never felt so accepted anywhere before. It’s a place that makes you feel like you can do whatever the hell you want and get away with it. As for the reception, it’s been awesome. I don’t know if it’s the album or the city itself, but its all been good so far. I’ll never talk down about my hometown Raleigh, but rock in general just wasn’t too popular in the south. My musical sensibility didn’t quite fit in with the scene – I took a lot of shit for liking Marilyn Manson and David Bowie. I always wondered why you would make fun of somebody for liking a certain type of music. It’s so subjective and personal. Perhaps life would’ve been easier if I listened to what everybody else was listening to, but then I guess I wouldn’t be who I am today.
TBB: I hear mixed reviews about Kickstarter from musicians all the time, but you were able to successfully fund your new album through a campaign. How were you able to utilize the campaign so successfully?
KR: Well I had three big things going for me: The Voice, the fanbase I gained from my appearance on it, and Amanda Palmer. She invited me to play a show with her in New York and afterwards in the green room I asked her whether I should go with a label or Kickstarter. She told me, unequivocally, to go with Kickstarter. As long as you’re smart about the process, you won’t take a loss. My manager at the time devised this really intricate spreadsheet laying out all the details and made me feel secure about the campaign. Promotion from local news stations and newspapers helped as well, and I always felt in control. It was well-planned from the start, and if I had to do it all alone I probably wouldn’t be nearly as successful.