Home Hear Kait Warner Is Eager To Be Your Rodeo Clown

Kait Warner Is Eager To Be Your Rodeo Clown

The N.Y.C. singer-pianist navigates different kinds of heartbreak on her debut LP.

Kait Warner rides into the ring with her colourful and compelling debut album Rodeo Clown — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

On this nine-song set, the singer-songwriter and pianist reflects on how different kinds of heartbreak necessitate evolution and change, and how the end of something can whittle you into a new shape entirely. Joining her in a collection of literate chamber-pop is a talented and close-knit group of multi-instrumentalists who met in middle school and have been playing together in one way or another ever since. With Kait’s songs and a hive mind to arrangements and orchestrations, this family of friends have nurtured a nine-song album that conjures the type of music you would hear at the end of a classic Twin Peaks episode, or a haunted circus.

“For the first time ever, I was completely unsure of what my own future looked like, and I had to have faith in myself before I could begin to have faith in those around me again,” the New York City artist shares. “The whole thing felt like a circus. It was sad, and absurd, and all I knew how to do was to gather a ghost chorus of relationships gained and lost and set it all to music. The songs on this album have been my guide to moving through pain, loss, and heartbreak.”

Photo by Sydney Tate.

Kait’s songwriting sensibility is both surreal and sincere. Her songs teem with ominous metaphorical narratives, love missives, dark feminine archetypes, and journeys to the shadow recesses of our subconsciousness. Her music is a dramatic and eerily beautiful mutant strain of pop informed by her background as a lifelong choral musician, a classical music lover, and her lifelong practice in experimentation and genre-bending. Kait’s songs are arranged like one-act plays with instruments that cleverly support thrilling narrative arcs. Orchestrations are intriguingly nuanced with oddball instrumentation and experimental textures, and her harmonic sensibility manages to be cinematically sophisticated. In addition, Kait’s penchant for thoughtful and dramatic arrangements are tastefully aligned with the symbolism and literate nature of her words.

Rodeo Clown opens with the track Future, which feels like the album’s fanfare with its ceremonial and ethereal opening bars that smoothly shift into dancing classical-inspired piano melodies with Kait’s pristine vocal melodies and harmonies that feel like they descended from the heavens. However, Kait wastes no time in letting things get weird, and the album’s second track — the title cut — exudes a warped concoction of seasick circus artistry and taut indie-rock. In some ways, Rodeo Clown is the emotional centerpiece of the album. Here, with almost a whimsical flair, Kait expresses the destabilizing feelings of the album’s core topic of deep meaningful friendships suddenly and dramatically ending. “There also definitely a crush element to this song as well. It’s about making yourself into a fool for the person you’ve fallen for, and the deliciously agonizing back and forth between two people who want each other but whose egos get in the way,” Kait reveals. She sings:

“Oh you know she’s got me
Stepping inside her ring
Messing with her ego
Watch me catch her off guard
I want her more than anything
If she runs the rodeo
Then I’m a rodeo clown
Take me to the back yard
Watch me bleed from my mouth.”

The fragile and ethereal ballad Over Again is a confessional, and its main theme — a cyclical meditation structured around two chords — symbolizes the internal conflict of leaving behind old relationships that you have outgrown. Deep in the dense soundscapes are found-sound percussion, a match strike swapped in for a drum hit, and layers of sampler recordings representing a conflicted inner psyche. Pit And All is an eerily ambient track that conceptually is themed around being in love, and Kait’s love of horror movies. “It’s about how the experience of falling in love can be all-consuming, like a demonic possession,” she says laughing. “It’s about falling in love with the thing that possesses rather than a person.”

Rodeo Clown was recorded at Business District Recording in Johnson City, New York, a space bursting at the seams with a wild assortment of vintage gear and musical instrument curiosities — many of which were used during the sessions. Joining Kait in the studio is producer Hunter Davidsohn (Porches, Frankie Cosmos), percussionist and co-arranger Spencer McKee, bassist and brass instrumentalist Daniel Thomas, violinist Raina Arnett, guitarist Ryan Sheehan and drummer Elli Caterisano. Kait’s past releases include the singles Over Again and Good Behavior.

Listen to Rodeo Clown below and find Kait Warner on her website and Instagram.


Photo by Sydney Tate.