Kat & the Hurricane

“If my music can help someone in their time of need or in their time of healing, then I’ve more than done my job.”
by Teri Barr
February 2020

Kat and the Hurricane - photo by Britni Lynn - Brilynn Photo

Kat and the Hurricane
photo by Britni Lynn - Brilynn Photo

Kat and the Hurricane is like a storm on the horizon. You see it coming, and when it hits, you better be ready. This powerful, talented three-piece is made up of Kat Farnsworth on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Benjamin Rose with keys, synth and vocals, and Alex Nelson on drums and percussion. The band started as a page on Facebook, until Kat, Ben, and Alex realized—together, they could actually be that group. Now, they stand behind the idea, “we’re here, we’re queer,” but the music speaks of so much more including heartache, abuse, and mental health. It’s also why Kat and the Hurricane is growing a great fan base, excited to support the band’s new music. I asked all three members if they are ready for the whirlwind. 

Maximum Ink:  Kat and the Hurricane is moving fast! When did this all get started?
Kat Farnsworth:
Kat and the Hurricane started in October, 2015, and I never thought within five years I would be booking a midwest tour, booking venues like High Noon Saloon or releasing a sophomore album, all with a full band! 

MI:  The band hasn’t wasted any time, and already competed in the 2020 Madison Area Music Association Emerging Artist competition. I heard it was a fierce contest, with Kat and the Hurricane coming in second. Are you glad you took part?
Kat:  We are so proud of what we did in this competition! We got great feedback with the judges saying we have good synergy and stage presence, which we’ve worked hard to achieve. These songs, and this project, have grown so much in the past few years. It’s exciting to let others see—that all the hard work is paying off!

Maximum Ink: Now, Kat & the Hurricane is about to release the new music you’ve been working so hard on. How did you bring it to life?
Alex Nelson: Our new project is a 6-song album titled Libra. It’s a project about heartbreak and healing, about learning to stay vulnerable even when you’ve been hurt in the past. Kat has had these songs for a few years now. In fact, she already had the concept, title and album cover in mind back in 2018 when Ben first joined the band. Together, they turned the songs - which Kat had been playing on her acoustic guitar - into the synth-rock tracks you can hear now.
The musical journey of the album came with a lot of experimentation. For example, the jazzy rhythm of the title track, “Libra,” was not part of the original song. Kat and Ben were messing around one day with various pre-recorded drum beats and came across a syncopated hip-hop beat that they loved. They tried playing the first chords of Libra over the beat - at first as a joke - and it just fit in.

The rest of the album was born with the same spirit of experimentation. Our single, Libra, was originally released in March of 2019, completely recorded and mixed by the duo themselves. After months of trying to finish the record, I came on board and there were three creative minds coming up with unique instrumentation, rhythms, and dynamics to make each song stand out. Once we got into the studio with Matt LaPlant last fall, he was really able to help bring those ideas to life.

MI: And it’s time to get it out to the people!
Benjamin Rose: Our release show is Sunday, February 9th at Bos Meadery in Madison! The show starts at 6:30, and is actually a triple album release show, because our local musician friends Dana Perry, and the band LINE, is also celebrating the release of new music! We have another show at Bos Meadery on March 12th, which is the kickoff show for our tour! We will be playing with 90sdreamboy and Gender Confetti before heading to Minneapolis and seven other cities for the celebration and promotion of our album release.

MI: You describe your songs as being “sad, Lesbian music.” But this music, and your talent, is taking you places. Did you ever imagine it?
Yes, absolutely. When I was in 4th grade and Limewire was still kicking, I learned how to burn my very first mix cd to play on my very first walkman. I would lay awake at night and listen to my favorite songs, over and over again, lip syncing, playing air guitar, dancing, visualizing myself performing those songs on stage, in front of huge crowds. I think all of that lip syncing and pretending paid off!

Ben: What I tend to say at shows about this is simply that representation matters. Growing up as a queer kid in church in Janesville, I doubted that I would ever get out and be able to be loudly and fully myself. By getting up on stage and claiming our identity as queer artists, we’re showing this generation, and the next, that you can be yourself and do what you love.

Kat: During our shows, I talk about vulnerability a lot. That there is power in softness. That softness is not a weakness. How you can be completely let down, disappointed, destroyed, and still find a way to not let your heart turn into stone. We get pretty heavy sometimes. I write about mental health, trauma and sexual abuse. Topics that people don’t talk about because it can be hard and uncomfortable. We need to have these conversations with ourselves, our friends, our family. Communication is powerful. I simply write about my experiences in hopes that it will resonate with someone out there that really needs a break.

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