KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS
As her fellow students at the Acland Burghley School in North London were looking for part-time jobs this summer, 16-year-old Kitty Durham already had hers lined up: opening for Coldplay’s U.S. tour. Of course, her classmates might’ve appreciated the enormity of that more than Kitty. She doesn’t listen to much music made in the last 40 years.
“There’s some good stuff out today,” she says, “but the kind of music from back then had a good sort of energy. You can tell even in the recordings that the musicians were having fun. It has a certain feeling that makes you want to get up and dance.” She wasn’t alive for the birth of rock ’n’ roll and R&B, but Kitty recaptures that magic with her brother, sister and parents in the rockabilly quintet Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. Kitty was only eight when her then 10-year-old brother Lewis was asked to play some banjo at a Camden pub that hosted country bands on Sunday nights. Kitty jumped up with him and got behind the drum kit. After a few gigs with the pub owner on guitar, their 12-year-old sister Daisy and father Graeme joined the band. Eventually, they made their mother—Ingrid Weiss of all-girl post-punk outfit The Raincoats—learn double bass to complete the family affair. “We’ve always been sort of playing at home together,” Kitty says. “My dad used to sing us songs on the guitar when we were little. We always had lots of instruments lying around the house, like a piano and banjo and stuff. We couldn’t really properly play, but we’d pick them up and bash them around. A lot of parents these days would be a little wary and be like, ‘Don’t touch that, you’ll break it.’ But our parents were just like, ‘Yeah, go on, do what you want.’ So we picked it up and learned it ourselves.”
The siblings each play a handful of instruments, taking turns singing and playing drums, banjo and guitar, as well as ukulele, trombone, accordion and lap steel. In 2007, they released their first album, A to Z of Kitty, Daisy & Lewis: The Roots of Rock ’n’ Roll, and began playing music festivals such as Glastonbury. Their self-titled U.S. debut dropped this August, just a few days after their last show with Coldplay. “Obviously, whether the band lasts or not, we’ll always be playing music together at home,” Kitty says. “We only do it because we enjoy it. It’s nice to know that other people enjoy it, as well—that’s why we do gigs. We don’t really aim to get anywhere, so we’re just kind of playing and seeing what happens.”-Josh Jackson