Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kat Smith: Q&A

Kat Smith: The Q&A Interview, by K.K.W

Every once in a while you cross paths with a seriously interesting person, but don't know it until a little later. Kathryn Smith, A.K.A: Kat, DatKat, is in her way like "Birth of the Cool". She's a DJ who has played NYC, L.A, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe(Kiev). Stylish, savvy, serious, silly, and sexy, Kat smith is a wonderful person, a great DJ & an amazing visual artist.   
Kat Smith: DJ/visual artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

            SP: Thanks for taking the time for Q&A Kat.

            KS: Your welcome, I'm glad we got it done.

SP:  What got you into the DJ scene, and then actually doing it?

KS: That's a tough question. The line from where I started to how my career as a dj has evolved is blurred. Not to sound cliched, but I think it was really just passion and drive. I've never wanted something more. My twin sister also worked as the main buyer and Store Manager for Dance Tracks, which was a legendary record store in the east village, before the sad demise of many of the record shops in nyc.  Being surrounded by endless music and other djs definitely helped me get my foot in the door.  I was a bedroom dj for a few years, literally practicing every day. Then i'd play parties if I was invited and eventually the bookings just started to roll in regularly.

SP:  Everyone can tell a story when it comes to influences, what's
some of yours(as far DJ's and music)?  

KS: I was in LA in 98' and went to my first real underground house party. Eddie Amador was the resident. I had never felt such a connection with a sound before or with a group of people for that matter. It was a very spiritual experience. Imagine your body being deprived of something you weren't even aware you needed and when you finally get it, you feel a sense of completion. You feel alive.  This was the moment my life made sense and I knew I had a purpose.  When I returned home to the Bay I immediately starting digging for house. But it was when I discovered Mark Farina that I knew my calling was to be a dj. I would listen to his Seasons album and United Djs of America incessantly. To this day, it's very rare that I hear a better combination of both musical selection and technical skill from a dj. But there's a host of other artists who inspire my sound. James Stinson, Robert Hood, Dopplereffekt, Moodymann, Luke Vibert, Dj Shadow, and Chick Corea to name a few.

SP:  As  a woman would you say it is, or was tough, in what 
can still be considered a "boys club"? 

KS: It can be challenging at times to be a woman is this industry. Some men have a tendency to not take you seriously, or expect the worst of you technically.  To be quite honest, it doesn't bother me at all.  I actually welcome it as an opportunity to prove them wrong. There's something gratifying about being the underdog.

SP: When it comes to visual art, where are you right now?

KS: Art from the Visual standpoint was never really something I wanted to pursue rather something I was good at and just wanted to foster.  I definitely hold it in high regard and it's certainly an important part of my life.  I will go to the occasional opening or museum, however, much of my interest in art lies in my surroundings and nature.  My canvas is now my apt in Brooklyn. Finding that perfect knick knack for my coffee table.

SP:  Aside from Egon Schiele, who else do you favor and gain inspiration from?

KS: Although my pieces aren't directly influenced, I really admire street art and graffiti. I love Os Gomeos and of course Banksy and Shepard Fairey. But I find inspiration and beauty just about everywhere, just walking down the street.

SP: Your painting "The blue way home", what influenced it and helped 
bring it out on Canvas?

KS: I was about 18 or 19 when I did "The Blue Way Home" and it was my first piece.  Its central theme would also influence my subsequent paintings. I was majoring in Visual and Fine arts at Chabot, a Junior College in Hayward, California.  My first real stint at "art school". We were just starting to learn painting techniques. I've always been the type of artist who could replicate any image I saw but unable to create an original work of art from my imagination. So in an effort to get the most out of the lessons, I went home and found a random calendar in the house and came across this image depicted in "The Blue Way Home". I was so drawn to it, that I immediately grabbed my canvass, newspaper, brushes, and oils and set up shop in my mom's room. My version became an exact replication of the one in the calendar, except I changed the colors from monochromatically purple to blue. I've been looking for the calendar ever since. I have no idea who the artist is but would really like to credit him/her. 

SPI'm not the only one who wants to see more painting from you,
where do you stand on that?

KS: I haven't picked up a brush in 13 years. Primarily because I really haven't been inspired until now. Its difficult for me to create just for the sake of creating.  My work doesn't have the same integrity.  True art regardless of its medium, renders the most beauty when its honest and stems from emotion.  I'm excited to see what the adult version of me will put to canvas next.

SPGiven that those of African decent(in America) are still not as..well represented or known for Art/fine art/DJ'ing in most parts of the world, do you think its important for us to make contacts and exchange ideas through social networks? Given its broad reach? Pro vs Con. 

KS: Yes, I think that social networks are important for both making connections and exchanging ideas but they also serve as a useful platform for self promotion, largely because of its obvious global reach.
"The Blue way Home",
image courtesy of the artist
SP: Really good interview Kat, thanks for imparting wisdom about yourself to one who did not know very much. Cheers!  If you would like to know more, or listen, go to:http://soundcloud.com/dj-datkat, "Art is the reason, art is the way".




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