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KITTEN & THE HIP: COOL FOR CATS

They were on X-Factor last weekend, but DJ Mag featured them back in July...

Scarlett Quinn met Ashley Slater a few years ago when she started writing for the Iconical Music toplining company that Ashley was co-running. “It was a great learning curve for me, not writing so much from the heart and only when I ‘felt the vibe’, but as a day job,” Scarlett tells DJ Mag. “A song a day, like a song factory.”

They naturally started writing together, and their first track ‘Don’t You Worry’ was thought up by Ash one random evening “while I was looking everywhere for a Rizla,” says Scarlett. “Classy times!”

Ashley thought that Scarlett looked like a kitten, so she became Kitten. Ashley, meanwhile, became ‘The Hip’ — “it just rolled off the tongue well when we were making up the band name,” he says. “Kitten & The Bone... too dog. Kitten & The Dome... too architectural. Kitten & The Ageing Pop Star... too wordy and real.” Ash was the singer and trombonist in Freak Power, who had a No.1 hit in 1995 with languid funk cut ‘Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out’.

The band also contained a certain Norman Cook. Under interrogation, he starts regaling DJ Mag with some (frankly unrepeatable) tales about pop star antics in Norway and Northern Ireland. “I think the weirdest thing about Freakpower’s success, though, was that it didn’t really feel like much,” he says. “When we got to No.1 in 1995, we were touring around Germany in a bus and missed all the celebrations and hysteria. If there was any hysteria.”

KATH’s debut album ‘Hello Kitten’ is a candy-coated riot of house, electro- swing, dub, jazz and drum & bass. “We didn’t set out to be diverse on purpose and we’re both very aware of the fact that a diverse album can be a bit of an albatross, but the reality is simple,” says Ash. “We both like lots of different types of music, and we are also very keen followers of many genres, from obscure dance genres like moombahton-step to straight-up commercial pop and everything in- between.”

Scarlett adds that she grew up with Radio 1 pop too, but her mum used to blast dance tracks by Groove Armada, Faithless and Alison Limerick out of the stereo. “I grew up dancing, singing and acting, so lots of auditions and training means that I’m familiar with theatre productions... and Disney!” she says. “I can definitely hear these influences in some of our songs.”

Their goodtime bubblegum dance is offset by more serious tracks like the dubwise ‘Bullet’, produced with Barry Ashworth of the Dub Pistols, and soulful drum & bass cut ‘The Rain’. Scarlett used to go raving to d&b at The Volks in Brighton every Friday night, she says, and is over the moon to sing with people like Netsky on tracks like his ‘Come Alive’. Miaow! 

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