Feb 15, 2022

How to Get People’s Attention With MARINA & THE KATS


The Vienna-based 4-piece MARINA & THE KATS has been one of the most exciting and trailblazing bands in Austria (if not Europe) for years, as anyone who has ever had the chance to catch one of their many high-octane shows will confirm. We have talked with the front woman Marina about artist’s egos, stupid questions, and an unusual stage set-up.

gigmit: Hi Marina, what makes the sound of MARINA & THE KATS Indie-Swing?

Marina of MARINA & THE KATS: It has been quite a journey from our first album “Small” to the current one called “Different”. We started out sounding more like a traditional swing band but lately, our love for indie music started to show naturally. So it has gone from acoustic guitars and brushes to fuzz, electric bass, heavy drums and that’s why we call it Indie-Swing. We always challenge ourselves to push it one step further with every album.

What immediately strikes someone who sees you live for the first time?

We have a very unusual stage set up as we’ve split one drum set between three people. Peter plays the bass drum as well as the bass, I also have a snare, a tom, and a crash to bang on while singing and Hari handles the remaining parts like a floor tom, hi-hat, and some cymbals. Originally that happened out of necessity as we wanted to add more drums but didn’t want to add a drummer. Now it automatically makes for a very special sound and you can do things a single drummer would not or could not do. But it doesn’t make things easier as you have to really lock into each other and that takes a fair amount of practice. But then it’s great fun!

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What is the most difficult thing about working with other artists?

Most of the time I think it’s the own ego. For example, if you are writing together with someone else things usually get very personal and intimate pretty fast. I know I have strengths but I also have weaknesses that I don’t want to show to everybody. I can be loud and proud onstage but in private I’m also insecure and shy sometimes. In that writing situation, I have to stay open and communicate and maybe also talk about uncomfortable things to get to a point that’s fruitful. It’s hard to get there but it’s always worth it.

What questions can’t you hear no longer?

Sometimes you do an interview and instantly feel the person asking is really interested and at the same time respectful. And then there are times where it starts out with some usual superficial questions like “How old are you?”, “How tall are you?” or “As a woman in the music business…..?”. And I always wonder: what does that have to do with our music? Most of the time it ends with “Why Kats with K?”

gigmit artist Marina & the Kats
MARINA & THE KATS – Photo by Tim Cavadini

What’s your view of the music industry today?

I do like the fact that it has gotten way more easy to produce and publish music and also reach out to potential fans directly. The downside to that is that – due to the vast amount of music that is out there – it has also gotten more difficult to get people’s attention. Not only music but art, in general, is consumed in a rush and all that matters is the number of clicks and followers. Maybe I’m old school but to really reach out and touch someone it needs more than 3 seconds.


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