An interview with vocalist/guitarist Morgan Lander
by Aaron Manogue
September 2011

Is it just me or does it seem like the biggest thing in hard rock and metal lately is to throw a pretty face up on stage and hand her a microphone and pray that the fans take notice? Record labels using the age-old sex appeal to sell records. The thing that happens then typically, is that pretty face is nothing more than just that, a pretty face. This isn’t the case when it comes to the metal shredders in Kittie. Not only do they all have that pretty face to start off, but then they leave your asses thinking, “What the hell is this? I love it!” The femme-fatale quartet are maidens of destruction on their new album “I’ve Failed You” and continue to produce high-quality, ass-kicking metal that erases the underlying notion of an all-female metal band. They’ve demolished so many mosh pits and ruptured so many ear drums that they are simply a bad ass metal band with immense talent and enviable stage presence.  Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue sat down with lead vocalist and guitarist Morgan Lander to talk about why they chose metal, their new album and the personal struggle purveyed throughout it.

Maximum Ink: First of all, why metal? You four are a bunch of good looking, talented musicians. You could have just as easily made it big in pop or some other genre. Has it always been metal?
Morgan Lander: Yeah it has, actually. I mean, it’s just the music that we’ve gravitated to and I think the four of us are of like-minds. We all had similar upbringings in terms of the kinds of music that we were into growing up and it was the music that our parents were into. That seems to serve as our introduction to metal or to hard rock. It’s just kind of like, “Why do you like certain foods?” You kind of just do, there’s really no explanation of it and the four of us are all on the same page.

MI:Your first single “We are the Lamb” is absolutely devastating.
ML: Thank you!

MI: To me, from following you guys for a long time, there’s no fucking around, it’s just there in your face. Your vocals are very heavy whereas in some of your earlier records you went with more of your singing voice as opposed to your metal voice. Was this a translation of the strength you saw in yourself?
ML: For me, when I chose what kind of vocals to do, it has more to do with the feelings that are behind the lyrics. The entire album is very diverse and I don’t think there’s any more or less singing than our last album. I don’t know. It is a very personal album and there’s a lot of depth to the emotions and ties personally to the lyrics. I just kind of lifted the veil and just kind of went ahead.  I just fucking let it all out. Sometimes you have to do that. Sometimes it just feels appropriate.

MI: The whole album just kicks your ass, but at the same time begs for mercy.
ML: Hell yeah!

MI: It’s a lot of “Fuck you!” but at the same time you’re saying, “I’m sorry.”
ML: Absolutely! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with that, for sure.

MI: Is that the direction you wanted to go with this record? A personal cleansing of sorts.
ML: I think it has a lot to do with the particular subject matter and the things that I’ve gone through in the past year and a half. A lot of times I like to leave things vague and that’s only because I don’t like to expose the more personal side of things. Being vague also allows people to kind of read into however they feel it or see it. They can associate with it and feel connected to it.  But for me, just based on what I’ve been going through, I felt like in order for me to use this process to heal or to move forward, I really had to look within myself and just really let it out and not be so vague. Put the cards out on the table kind of thing.

MI: Do you think each night you try and purvey that with the fans? This is where I am, here is my hand, come with us?
ML: Oh, of course! I’ve had tons of people come up to me and say, “Your music has helped me through my situation.” Everyone seems to be able to relate to the emotions and the pain and hopelessness. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and that’s the sort of message we like to put across, if there was a message. Sharing a room with a bunch of people like that is cathartic because everyone is just letting loose and enjoying it.

MI: Is it ever scary? For me, it’s would be scary to share feelings with other people, especially because you don’t know those people there watching you.
ML: The live show part of it is probably the easiest part in terms of getting across the message. It’s the energy and it’s the vibe that you’re feeding off the people. So to me that’s not all that exposing, but actually writing them and recording them and having other people ask about them, that to me is on the exposing side. For instance, when we went to record the videos, we were doing some promo stuff and it caught me off guard because I was asked, “What are all these songs about?” And I would think “Do I really have to do this?” And then I had to get into each song and every song is about the same fucking thing.

MI: Lately there has been an emergence of female musicians in metal and hard rock. What’s it like to be a pioneer of sorts in that new ideal? I’ve had numerous female musicians mention your name when I asked them who they looked up to in the metal world and they all say “Kittie.” What does that mean to you?
ML: Honestly, it’s not like we feel like we did something major or we started it.  There were all kinds of powerful female musicians and icons that were before us and now after us as well.  We’re just definitely at the right place at the right time and obviously the success from the first album helped perpetuate things that we’re able to do now.  At the same time though, I really am honored and feel really humbled that people would site us as someone who was Seminole as an all-female band. I think that’s really cool. It’s weird to think though because we’re as young as we are. I’m twenty-nine and it’s weird to think that that’s on the list of things we checked off.

MI: Do you ever listen to other bands with female musicians that you really admire seeing as you’ve had people look up to you like that? That has to be really fucking cool.
ML: It is really fucking cool! I’ve had a really cool life, I can’t lie! I still find it hard to grasp those concepts.  I’m just me I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. We’re all just really humble and down to Earth. We were at the right place at the right time and I’m just honored that people would mention us like that.

MI: Do you think being humble contributes to your success though because there’s so many people out there that get big heads?
ML: Maybe, yeah. I don’t know. I guess it allows us to be more accessible to fans and stuff like that. We’re pretty cool and we don’t feel like we have to hide.

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CD: I've Failed You Record Label: E1 Music Group
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