KT Homes plays Boulder International Film Festival this weekend and so we needed a good 'ol fashioned catchup.
We first got in touch with local artist Katherine (KT) Homes when she played Denver’s RAW event last November. Back then we introduced her as one talented musician- she’s been referred to as as “the female version of Bob Dylan” and has opened for acts including Trampled by Turtles and Nathaniel Rateliff. But what we liked most was KT’s strong intent to “shed light on environmental and social issues” with her music. And after chatting with her, we learned a lot more about that intention, her upcoming album, and her artwork. Check it out:
So KT! We know you were in the Boxcar Daisies prior to your focus on a solo album. What’s that transition been like?
It’s been an incredibly creative and overwhelming process. When Elli, the second half of Boxcar Daisies, and I played gigs we were both all in 100%. We came to the table and co-wrote songs, split the work of sending out our EP and setting up gigs, and so on. We were incredibly dedicated and I think that made us really successful, really quickly, in getting shows. It was also the only thing we really had to throw ourselves into. Now, I’m juggling two different jobs and trying to relaunch my music and art career at the same time and sometimes I wish I wasn’t solo. But working on a solo album has also been amazing! Going out on my own has forced me to make friends with myself and not rely on someone else to stand next to me in order to feel comfortable on stage. I only have to answer to myself for this [next] album. That is a challenge but also really rewarding.
That’s great! Give us the deets on your upcoming album- what studio are you working with? Do you have a producer? When are you planning its release?
I was working with a wonderful studio, but it wasn’t quite the right fit. Since then, I’ve been waiting almost 6 months to hear back from someone I really want to work with. It looks like it’s going to happen, but I’m keeping it a secret until I’m actually sitting next to him recording. Lets just say it’s going to be brilliant if this talented and incredibly chill producer fully commits. My lips are sealed until it’s a done deal though!
Fair enough! So we know that activism is a big part of your songwriting and musical process- talk to us about how that started, why you have that drive, and what current events are inspiring you to take your position and express it through music.
Wow, where do I even start? I’m fascinated by other cultures- mostly the remote or the forgotten. The wisdom in their history and their connection with nature; the way they live in harmony with the natural world... I’ve seen things and heard stories that are straight out of a children’s fairytale, but are very rooted in their way of life.
While I was traveling through West Kalimantan working as a photojournalist with an incredible non-profit, my family members lost a child to gun violence. In that moment I wanted to do something much bigger than the path I was on. I had no idea how or what I would do, but the answers just kept showing up in my music and I knew I wanted to share these songs because they are so much bigger than myself. I’ve always believed that a song has the power to change people. It’s my way of feeling like I can help shift things by writing about these issues and possible solutions, and singing about them.
What I have also found while I’ve traveled is that two things quickly connect me to the local people: music and being a woman. There are often language barriers, and they quickly show up, but as soon as I start singing or playing the guitar, it’s incredible how quickly these walls evaporate. It doesn’t matter what I’m singing about. Music is the universal language. And being a woman, well, as soon as you get in the kitchen, or hold someone else’s baby you are immediately a part of someone’s family. The song, “Put Down Your Gun”, which the [new] album was almost named after, is about a war being fought in Afghanistan and a woman speaking to another woman about what that war means for her and her family. This conversation happens in the kitchen, while they are both bouncing babies and cooking for their families. Their conversation quickly turns into a dialog about disarming anger and to instead to really hear one another.
I’ve also been incredibly passionate about the environment from a young age. I’m obsessed with plants and wildlife. I’m very committed to bringing awareness to environmental issues through art, music, and my non-profit work. I’m a big believer that the natural world provides most of the answers to some of our biggest problems. I think if we could just sit and feel and listen to the silence and songs of the natural world, we could know what to do to generate more love and steer away from hate. Fear and hate are created because we don’t understand something. Anger is generated from feeling unheard, unloved, and sad. Right now we see that with the overwhelming destruction of the natural world and I think that is a direct reflection of how we are treating ourselves and each other. This [next] album really focusses on sharing these thoughts.
Wow. Thanks for sharing your powerful motivations with us. That’s awesome. We also know you paint- any art that you’re currently working on?
I absolutely love to paint. It is my down time. I can get lost in the world of color for days. It’s quiet. Painting is peaceful and healing. It’s kind. I know that’s a funny word to use, but I use watercolor on wood and it is so fluid and beautiful; it’s those moments when I feel like everything is right in the world. Painting is also something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember, so it’s never left me. It’s a great way to really see the world you are in. It’s so slow, and for me that’s a really good thing. This past year, I’ve created paintings for two organizations that are doing really incredible work: Project WOO and Health in Harmony. I love creating paintings to help fundraise and raise awareness for projects that I believe in.
Sweet. Beyond your 2016 release plans, what else will you be up to this year?
The album is full-on for sure. At the start of the year, I was asked to sing on a children’s book, which I’m excited about! I’m also launching my own art website. My life is pretty fun. I feel like everytime I turn around something new comes crashing into it. But really, this year I want to focus on getting my music and my message out into the world to as many people as possible, so that will be my primary goal.
We can’t wait to hear more from you- thanks for sharing your message with us KT.
Check out the multi-talented KT Homes at her Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) performance this Friday. Details on more live shows, her current art projects, and more can be found on her website here.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.