Rotten Interview: The Bottom
January 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
Are you ready for The Bottom of this two-piece interview with Singer/Songwriter/Fashion Designer Gina Katon? She talks about her balls, growing her nut sack and what it takes to face your biggest fears. Learn her amazing journey to center stage as well a some great advice about going for your dreams. Get inspired. Happy New Year!
The Internet Bachelorette: Starting a band takes a lot of work, it doesn’t just happen. What compelled you to pioneer such and undertaking?
Gina Katon: I was in my old girl group for a couple of years and all along I was very unhappy, stuck and frustrated. I live with a music producer and I watch him produce all these other artists. In my group I never got my shot to stand out, I couldn’t even sing my own line, I was always back up. I felt like a back up dancer when I really wanted to be an artist. So watching Marc [Jordan] do this with all these other artists, I said, “fuck it, I’m going to write and produce my own songs, record it.” And I did. I did it behind my group’s back. I quit the girl group with two songs already recorded. It was so empowering. I released them online the day I quit. Jumping out of a girl group and going solo takes a lot of balls. I’m really proud about that.
GK: You know what? My whole life I really wanted to. All I would watch was Brittany Spears, Madonna, Xtina, all the famous pop stars when I was a little pup, and my jaw would drop. I was so jealous of them, thinking, “I could do that.” But really I couldn’t because I was too afraid to sing in front of people. That is what held me back my whole prior life. That was the ultimate dream for me. To be able to go on stage and have my own dancers and still dance and sing and make my own music, but I was too afraid.
TIB: How did you get over that fear?
GK: Thank God for my girl group, because that gave me the opportunity to ease into it and break down those freighting walls of, “Ah! A microphone is in my hand and everyone’s about to hear me.” It was kind of scary and I still get scared, but I do it because I like to do things that challenge me so I can overcome them. I still sit there before a show panting with nerves. The whole day is butterflies. But it’s so worth it the minute I step on the stage. I always knew I needed to grow my nut sack a little bit bigger.
GK: They knew where my head was at the whole time. When I started the group I wanted to put in my creative input, but they wanted me to be more of a soldier. There was no collaboration after awhile. I wanted to be very hand’s on. If I could be there when they were making the beats, I would be there. But I wasn’t allowed. They knew what I wanted. When I quit a couple of the other girls quit too. Maybe it was a shock I released a song right away, but I don’t care because they never gave me the chance.
TIB: We’re you afraid you wouldn’t get support from them or other collaborators?
GK: I don’t really care what other people say. In the dance world there’s a lot of cattiness. And when someone breaks out and does their own thing people talk, but it’s only because they are insecure and wish that they could do what that person is doing. That held me back when I was younger, wondering what everyone was going to think, was I going to get support. Now I don’t give a shit. But I am getting support and lot of people love it. I’m going balls to the wall. I’m not going to waste anymore time.
TIB: Speaking about wasting time, how has social networking and online platforms help with the fan base for the band? Do you think you’re reaching a broader audience?
GK: I run 45 things online, which is so time consuming. I guess if I did need help doing anything it would be running the businesses online so I could keep creating. But right now I’ll do it by myself because that’s how things start. I have a twitter and a Facebook, website all that stuff. Unless you pursue putting it in people’s faces no one is going to follow along. It’s a big job to constantly update, sharing. I add new fans everyday.
TIB: It’s all about being viral on the internet, going viral, spreading like a virus. When you think about it like that, it’s like your infecting people, but in the nicest way possible.
GK: Kind of like that. You can see the statistic of who comes to your page. It looks like we get traffic and plays and it’s increasing. And if you Google search us, all that stuff comes up, no matter where they click all my stuff is on every single site, so it’s very important to keep them all updated.
TIB: Have you had success with Twitter?
GK: Twitter’s hard because people are way too cool to follow you. But Twitter and Facebook are working better for me, because people are still getting to know me, and my music and I can answer back.
TIB: What are you inspired by?
GK: I was performing in Vegas with the girl group and we were invited to see Lady Gaga. Watching that show, I just thought how cool it would be to have my own show. In between her songs she would go on a rant about what ever she wanted and everyone was forced to listen to her because she had a microphone. I thought that was so cool and to be herself like that and go full force. After that I quit the group within the month. I think that’s where my balls come in. I’ve already started there’s no turning back. It’s not a hobby. I really want to do it.
TIB: It’s your life now. It’s consuming.
GK: Yeah. Being a back up dancer for so long, I was literally jumping out of my skin. I want to do things that people wouldn’t expect me to do. I’m rebellious.
TIB: Just one person has to doubt you, and you need to prove them wrong.
GK: Being held back in the girl group when I thought that was my chance. That really drove me crazy. Always being behind someone. So I wanted to go and do it for real. I was ready to release in a big way.
TIB: What’s your inspiration behind some of your individual songs?
GK: I write about true stories. And I write about people who have fucked me over, or interesting characters, or situations in my life that have left a damper on my soul. That’s the easiest for me to write, it just flies out when I’m on a rampage. Then I get to perform that in front of people, like a therapy.
TIB: Do you think your music is a sort of therapy for your fans?
GK: If I apply it to me as a fan of music, I love some hard core songs that I will bump the shit out of to get riled up, to get the heart pumping and I hope it happens to my fans. In fact, it does. During one of my shows, a fan was in the front row, so into it. It was my third show and I didn’t think people would know my lyrics yet and she was in the front with her hands up mouthing every line. When I got back to the chorus she looked at her friend like that was her favorite part. It was a great feeling. I was like, “Oh my god, you just sang along.” It was so cool because she obviously felt that and it was a powerful part of the song for me. I’m so glad other people can feel it too, even if it’s kind of angry.
TIB: You’re allowed to be angry. Music is a good release. What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started?
GK: The importance of video, I was pretty studied up on the music industry so I felt confident when I went out on my own. I knew what to expect and I was prepared for the struggle. I didn’t make fast enough moves on releasing a song with a video, people need that visual, I had little videos. You Tube is taking over the world and people will look up and watch a video to listen to a song for the first time, rather than just listen.
TIB: What was your response when you finally released the video?
GK: People love it! I have haters—but that’s a good thing. I worked with the editor, and I was afraid it was going to be too bright and green since we shot in a jungle, I wanted it dark. I’m a bit of a dark person. I thought it might be too ‘pop’ for me, but people think it’s nasty and rotten and I love it. The response has been good. We got thousands of views right away, lots of great comments. People love the dance breaks.
TIB: How has this changed you as a person, this decision to break out with your own band?
GK: Well, I’m working a lot more and creating. It definitely gave me confidence. I think that singing or deciding to have a solo career was probably my biggest fear in my whole life. Five years ago I’d rather jump in front of a train before I’d sing in front of someone. Now, I feel like I can do anything. Like one night, after a performance at Key Club late night, there were all these rappers and they play a loop and freestyle on stage with a bunch of mics. I’m the only girl in there, and get up on stage and I’m freestyling with all these gangster rappers from east LA. I would have never had the balls to do that before. It has opened up the door. I’ve realized you have to do things your afraid of, don’t be scared. Now I’m busy all the time because it’s my decision to do things, it’s my goal that I set, my business, my art, my creativity, and my future. The drive is fully there because it’s all me. I’m not going to let myself down.
TIB: What empowering advice would you give your peers, other modern women?
GK: I’d say just do it. Sometimes you have to leave something behind to get somewhere else, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Be yourself and do something different, don’t try to fit in. If you have an idea go for it. No one else is going to live your life for you, and no one else is going to push you as hard as you should push yourself. Don’t be a pussy, grow some balls.
Don’t miss Gina and the Eastern Block‘s next performance February 17th at the Viper Room. DJ sets by Semi Precious Weapons. TICKETS: $10
* All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL L.A.
Photo credits from top to bottom: Pablo Hernandez, Pablo Hernandez [Todd Weinstock (guitarist, Left) Marc Jordan (drums, Right)], Bruno O’hara, Pablo Hernandez [Todd Weinstock (Left) Marc Jordan (Right)], Bruno O’hara [Dancers: Mimi Saruwatari, Maki Saruwatari, Aya Sato, Laia Martinez], Bruno O’hara, Unknown Candid, Pablo Hernandez