The Katherines keep things Primitive
Vancouver band talks JUNOs and the place music has in their hearts
By Bigoa Machar, Arts Editor
When Kate Kurdyak decided to expand her musical knowledge beyond her own experience of singing solo in bars and clubs in Vancouver, she looked to some familiar sources.
“It’s honestly a lot less nerve wracking performing with a band, especially if the band is your sister and your best friend. It makes it just a fun time always,” says Kate. “If you’re ever on stage and get nervous, you can look over to your right or your left and the smile and everything is okay. It really makes everything more comfortable and everything seems less like a job and more like fun.”
Lauren Kurdyak, sister of Kate and second third of The Katherines, says performing with her sister has a certain level of comfort that makes everything easier.
“If Kate looks dumb, then I can say ‘Kate you look dumb.’ We’re brutally honest, but I think that’s a nice touch because it keeps us down to earth and grounded,” says Lauren. “We want to see the best of each other, and we already know what the best in each other is.”
The terrific trio is rounded out by Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher, life long friend of Kate and fellow music enthusiast. She says that this opportunity has provided a gateway for her to explore music.
“Well it’s been such a great experience because we’re all so close. I went to preschool with Kate, so it’s been forever,” says Hansen-Boucher. “Coming into it would normally be a scary thing, but since we’re so close it makes it easier. I don’t think I would have done music alone, so I’m glad I got a way into it. It’s just so exciting to see everything progress.”
While The Katherines haven’t been in the music industry all too long, Kate says it’s a beautiful thing she’s been fortunate enough to be a part of.
“Once you see what it’s like to do a career in music you’re like ‘Welp, this is it. There’s not going to be anything better than this,” says Kate. “It feels like the only option at this point because if we stop now it’ll just be what could have been. It just makes it really easy to do it and give everything you have to it because you love it so much.”
Despite the definite risks, Hansen-Boucher says music allows the three to express themselves in a free and creative manner.
“That’s all that music can be. It’s such a divine thing. I can never tell you how to write a song. It’s not something that’s scientific or there’s a formula for. You really just sit down and write what you’re feeling,” says Kate. “Whatever’s in your head comes out on the keyboard and through the lyrics, so I think there’s no way that music can’t be an expression of yourself. It’s kind of nerve racking because you’re giving your heart to someone.”
This originality is important to The Katherines, as Kate describes this as what keeps them as unique and happy as possible.
“You never really go into writing saying ‘I want to be that person or do what they do.’ We take everything in when we listen to music, but it’s never a conscious effort to try and be someone else,” says Kate. That’s why our album is all over the place. It’s really more of an expressions than falling into a certain genre.”
One thing The Katherines appreciate about music as a whole is that they can make it whatever they want it to be. Hansen-Boucher describes this creative process as free flowing and happy.
“‘When we listen, it’s like ‘I like that sound, I appreciate that sound, now I want to do my own thing with that sound,’” says Hansen-Boucher. “We’re super lucky to have the freedom to do and say what we want to. We don’t have someone breathing down our necks saying ‘This is what you need to do.’”
Not everything is all balloons and roses, however. Lauren says that marketing the band and differentiating themselves from other brands is difficult, especially when people have a pre-dispositioned opinion about you before they hear your music.
“Social media is very hard. For female performers, you get stereotyped very, very easily,” says Lauren. “Some people expect dance moves and streamers to fall.”
While it still remains a struggle, Hansen-Boucher says The Katherines were able to get over their advertising hump by taking their life lessons on uniqueness from writing music and applying it to marketing.
“We sat down and realized that we don’t need to worry about our image as much and just really stay true to ourselves and to each other,” says Hansen-Boucher. “We’re much more chill and relaxed now with our marketing.”
That strategy has seemed to work for The Katherines, as their musical journey as taken them to new provinces, most recently to Calgary for the JUNOs, where Kate says it’s an honour to be up there with the best in Canadian music.
“We were so happy when we found out we were coming here. You never know what’s going to happen when your next opportunity is going to happen,” says Kate. “It’s all about putting yourself in a position to get the most opportunities. In highschool, we entered every single competition.”
As The Katherines learned first had, taking every opportunity possible can lead to going many different places, with hopefully many more in the future.
“I just think it’s cool going around to different town and seeing what music is like there. Meeting other musicians and people who just love music is amazing,” says Lauren.
“It’s cool seeing how the music industry is different in different cities,” says Hansen Boucher. “Seeing what it’s like in Vancouver compared to Toronto and compared to Calgary so nice because they all have something that’s a little unique to them.”
“There’s a lot of room for growth. Our overarching goal is to try and make music a full time career,” says Kate. “I love music more than anything, more than I’ve loved any other person. I want to keep this relationship alive.”
While the sky’s the limit, The Katherines want to continue to grow their musical influence and their fan base, as it’s what continues to drive them forward.
“I want to play as many shows as possible in as many places as possible. I adore being on stage. Before the band, I was doing musical theatre and there’s was something missing,” says Hansen-Boucher. “I realized that I’m not an actress, but I loved being on stage. Dancing and singing on stage is the most amazing thing and I just want to do that everywhere I can.”
Kate says a large part in continuing to grow is to be as genuine as possible, even if that means stepping out of their comfort zone.
“Never turn down an opportunity. You can’t be shy and you have to put yourself out there,” says Kate. “You don’t have to be fake, but you do have to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. It’s very hard, but what are you doing if you’re not trying.”
Be sure to to follow The Katherines on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and keep an eye out for their album coming later this year.