Fresh off the release of her stellar new EP, Heaven or Somewhere in Between, which came out on March 5, Chaidez and her new Kittens are set to grace Viva PHX (she's playing the Masonic Temple at 9 p.m.) for the second time in the last three years on Saturday night. We caught up with her on the phone recently and here's what she had to say.
What would like to get out of your trip to Phoenix this week?
A really great time, hopefully. We’re stoked to be part of Viva PHX. I have played Viva PHX before. It was really awesome and amazing.
When I listened to your new EP, I was blown away and I have to admit it was not what I was expecting. When was the last time you came across a band that was not what you expected?
I’ve been really into Die Antwoord lately. I have resisted listening to their music for a while because it is such a huge pill to swallow. I played them at a DJ gig not long ago and I decided to really check them out.
Oh wow ... are you a DJ, too?
I’m not a DJ. If I’m riding shotgun in your car, I’ll be a killer DJ. I like stringing songs together, but I'm not a DJ, per se, but occasionally I get asked to do these things.
Ah, I ask because I'm in the market right now for some DJ gear. It's my wife's birthday soon and she wants two turntables ...
And a microphone? (laughs)
No, a mixer, but yes. I thought you might have some advice on what to buy.
If it were me, I would probably like the easiest setup possible. Sounds like you have a rad wife.
I did get pretty lucky in that capacity. Who is the last band or performer that blew you away?
I saw this band called King last weekend and they were amazing. I had never listened to them before and they blew me away. I looked up and Stevie Wonder was on the balcony, so I thought, they have to be pretty good.
I once saw the Pixies and Happy Mondays in Hollywood at the Palladium, and the rumor was going around that David Bowie was in the balcony, so I get it.
It was crazy. The whole room kind of saw it.
Are you living in New York City these days?
I’m in LA right now. We’re starting our tour on the west coast.
Oh cool. I read you were in living in NYC.
Yeah, I was living in New York for a year. I’m kind of back and forth right now. There are a lot of people in NY that I work with, like Dave Spagno. I met him in NY. He’s our keyboard player now. He’s very involved in the writing. He’s the new guy.
I did hear that you've had some band issues.
I’ve had some band drama, as everyone has.
Are you hard to be in a band with?
Oh, no. They’re hard to be in a band with. It’s all good. I’m cool with everyone that’s been in this band and has left. I wish the best for them.
It’s tough [to be in a band]. What’s the draw of the early ’80s New Wave?
There is a lot of female vocalists from that era. Annie Lennox, Sinead O’Connor, Dale Bozzio … all these people. The vocals really attracted me. I feel like our new music doesn’t sound as New Wave as the older material, but some people seem to think it sounds like [’80s New Wave].
Your new material has a very classic sound and feel.
Oh thank you, that’s really sweet. I was just more inspired by Phil Spector and a lot of ’90s Britpop bands like Pulp and Suede, and obviously the band's the guitar work is a lot like the Smiths and the Cure.
Do you enjoy touring?
Yeah, I do. You know, every tour is kind of different.
How much touring do you do?
We’ve probably done close to 20 tours so far. Some short, some longer … some regional.
What was the biggest learning experience from touring with Courtney Love?
It was just cool to be touring with a legend. She’s badass. It was right when the Kurt Cobain documentary came out on HBO so it was prime time to be [around her].
What do you look forward to on tour … is it a grind ever?
I look forward to seeing the people I’ve met along the way. Whether it is a fan who’s become a friend or people I’ve met in the towns. I’m really excited to play new songs. Just to be playing the new songs is really exciting.
Are you a constant writer when it comes to your music or do you have to be in writing mode?
I hate to say it, but I feel like I need to be in kind of a private place. I need a place where there is not a lot of distraction around. We recorded this EP on a ranch, with not a lot of distraction around. Sometimes you need to be away from people and do your thing.
For a young, out there, creative type like yourself, it has to be difficult to find that space sometimes in this day and age.
That’s why I wrote the album where I did. It’s the over-saturation of content on the Internet and that sort of feeling like everything is constantly on your radar as you live your daily life. It just clutters your mind. …It’s not good for a creative space. You just need to do what you do and not give a fuck which is easier to do when you don’t turn on your devices.
It has to be crazy sometimes.
I feel lucky in that I am not under the microscope that much, for better or worse, and I don’t think anyone cares that much what I’m up to. When I get to be like Kanye West, then we’ll talk.
What are you biggest goals for 2016?
I think making another record that I’m as proud of as the last one. Being confident enough in the music to be able to release it and continue to move forward. I think any other goals I have are out of my control. If I had any advice to give anyone else and advice I give myself daily is to set a goal you can reach (on your own).