Maria Kohler, a.k.a. rapper Kitty Crimes, sat down with us while she was in town performing at Treefort. We talked with her about her background, artistic process, and her upcoming album, Crimes of the Kitty Volume 2, coming out April 5.
Tell us a bit about your new album coming out.
It’s an amalgamation of the last three years. I’ve decided that the theme is standing in your power or giving it away, so it kind of goes in a few different directions, but the heart of it is the same theme. There are some nasty rap songs in it and there’s discovering Kitty Crimes’ identity, but there’s also me just writing about relationships where I would give all of my me to something else. I feel like the songs individually together — it’s hard to see the continuity. But to me, it’s like the journey towards my own center point.
And did you feel like you were giving all this energy into relationships and not getting it back?
I just felt like, you know, things just felt loopy or like I wasn’t always grounded. And I would find these moments of clarity and I would really feel like myself when I was performing, then I would have these integral relationships where I would just like lose my sense of self.
Can you describe some of your background as a person and as a musician?
I went to Catholic school. I made an album at 13 called Country Clubbin. I was the producer. The album was made quicker and it was longer than this one [Crimes of the Kitty Volume 2] so it’s probably my best work to date. My brothers were the singers and they just said shit like, “Freaky, freak-a-deak!” I went to a really small-town high school in Colorado and then when I came to Denver, I learned how to cut my teeth by playing with people who were more experienced and better than me. There’s a Tim Ferris quote — something about how you need to get yourself into a tribe with mentors that are better than you. I was in some popular indie band that I played the sleigh bells [in], and I played the shit out of the sleigh bells. In hindsight, I’m like, “You ass. You just played sleigh bells and acted like it was the most important part of that whole band.” So I realized I needed to do my own thing.
So what did you do after that?
After that, I had an indie quartet — like psych indie rock — called M and the Gems. And then [I] just started making [my own] shit on Ableton.
You discuss being a queer rapper a lot in interviews. Do you ever discuss queerness in your music?
Yeah. I mean I feel like the queer artists I really look up to try not to lean on that too much but to talk about it to be helpful to other people.
How did you become Kitty Crimes?
I had just made rap songs on Ableton, and the first beat I made was the single I put out [“Find a Penny”]. It was really just the path of least resistance and easy to do. And it was also in the golden algorithm age of like, people will actually be able to share your shit a lot more. I was lucky because that was the time when you could spread that shit on Facebook and YouTube really easily.
Photos courtesy of Lindsey Webb