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An interview with Kate Salt - Musician

February 25, 2019

Tell us about yourself in your own words.

I’m Kate Salt, I’m from England and I play drums. That’s kind of all I do, and I don’t know how else to explain myself.


How long have you been playing music?

My parents made us take piano lessons when we were like 7, which I think a lot of people’s parents did. I started on piano but I hated it and then when we went to school we all had to  choose another instrument to play and I wanted the loudest instrument so I chose the trumpet - little did I know that the guy at the shop was lying to me. So then I discovered drums when I was 12. I’ve been playing drums since then, but music has been a big part of my life, my whole life.


What made you want to play music? 

I don’t know really. It’s just always been part of my life and I guess it’s just the way it makes me feel. I love playing it and listening to it and the lyrics and things.


Tell us about some of the bands or projects that you’ve been involved with over the years.

I played in a band in England when I was just finishing uni called ARXX. That was a garage rock duo and we played a few things around Brighton and London. 


Was that your first band?

That was not my first band.


Tell us about your first band.

My first band was when I was in high school and it was this stupid indie rock band called ‘The Professional Amateurs’. It was so terrible. We were actually kind of good but the name was terrible. It was with a bunch of dudes and I got kicked out when they decided I wasn’t cool enough to play music and they replaced me. That kind of upset me at the time but I don’t give a shit now. They replaced me with another man who wasn’t as good at drums as me. So it was literally just because they were cool. Such is life unfortunately.


Tell us about some of the other bands you’ve been in?

For uni I did music so I did a few things at uni but it was all just focused within the classroom and I didn’t really like anyone at uni either so that didn’t really go anywhere. Then after ARXX there was Mortgage. At an ARXX gig I met Mike who played guitar in Mortgage and formed a friendship and that’s the reason I came to Australia. I wasn’t doing anything at home. I also got into a band called Crushing with my friends Jay and Kerry and they’re beautiful angels. We got into a kind of indie pop thing and we had some fun playing some shows around with that. Now I’m in a band in Sydney called Sports Bra.


What is your creative process and how has it changed over time?

I don’t really view myself as a very creative person because I find it very hard to make something out of nothing. I mostly rely on other people in order to do things like that and I can usually work off of other people but  I can’t just go from scratch. Mostly someone will come to me with an idea of a bit of a riff or a melody and then I will listen to it and help put drums to it. Then we can go from there. But from scratch it doesn’t really happen with me - it’s too overwhelming. I was forced to write my own songs and stuff at uni, none of which were particularly good. But I guess I didn’t really like it because I never liked what I created enough to enjoy doing it. When I was 15 I started playing guitar. I taught myself how to do basic chords so I’d write really stupid songs in my room. I’m not going to elaborate on that. I think I have a folder on my computer that has all of my old lyrics.


What sort of themes do you like to explore through music?

Those lyrics were just about having a terrible time at school and relationships that probably weren’t worth dwelling on as much as I did. You know, when you’re 15 you just write shit. At least I did. In terms of things I play in now, I like playing in projects that talk about different aspects of the world and about different relationships and things. It gets really boring when songs are just all love songs. It interests me more when things are about politics or even relationships with friends and parents and things like that.


What do you as an artist stand for?

I do a lot of sitting. I do too much sitting I think and I probably should do more standing. Which sounds funny but it’s actually kind of literal. I do too much sitting around and not doing stuff. That’s why I chose drums. I partly like playing drums because I can sit at the back and no one can see me. I guess I do the things I do because I love playing music so that’s the first real reason. But then, there are things I completely support - there being more women in music and things like that. So I guess by being involved in that I’m helping to create something towards that. This is a really hard question.


What is the biggest obstacle you face when expressing yourself creatively?

Myself. Pretty much. Just never thinking I’m good enough so then I don’t put myself out there because I don’t feel like it’s worth anyone’s time. I often think about things as in whether someone else needs it rather than whether I need it if that makes sense. I think that holds me back the most. Apart from that one band in highschool with the dudes, I’ve not experienced too much negativity or anyone pushing me down. So the hardest thing is overcoming my own mental things.


Do you think that first band might have screwed you over a little bit there? 

I don’t feel like that’s going to happen to me again. I feel like I’m valued more than that now, which is very nice. It’s a nice place to be in. But I definitely have issues from school that are still hanging around of not feeling worth people’s time, but year by year I’m getting more confident and meeting new people that are very supportive. It’s great.


What is the best piece of advice you could give to young women and queer folk who want to make art or music or just be seen and heard?

Do it. That’s the main thing. Get out and do it and don’t be like me and worry about what everyone thinks. You do you is what I say. If you find it hard to do things on your own, look for other people doing that thing and go to gigs - that’s how you meet people. There is so much social media and stuff nowadays and I just don’t think it’s that helpful anymore - not with meeting people and making real connections. I think making real connections is the way to go. If you’ve got something, get it out there and show people. They’re a lot more open than it might feel like.


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