Coolgrrrls :: Cool Girls Rock! » My Interview With Kat Robichaud

My Interview With Kat Robichaud

Interview By Rebecca Kane

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kat Robichaud of The Design. As the suffix of her last name suggests, this woman is extremely hot, intelligent, and taking over the world.

I was surfing the web one day and came across a video called “Burn” from a band called The Design. Known for my curiosity, and my love of words like “burn”, I couldn’t resist watching it. I was impressed with Kat’s showmanship and her intensity intrigued me. My favourite part of the video is when she belts out the lyrics, “If I burn, you burn, too”, and stage dives into the anticipating crowd, wearing lacy tights and leopard print platform heels. Not something I would recommend trying at home.

I researched the band online, checking out their web presence. Kat is extremely photogenic, which comes across in every beautiful photo of her. One photo that grabbed my attention, is of Kat wearing a pair of gold sequined shorts, complete with sexy black thigh highs, garter belt, and American flag platform heels. She is squeezing the band tightly into a hula hoop, perhaps reminiscent of some eccentric bondage ceremony on the planet Krypton. This scene, however, is taking place in front of a ride at the fair, with blurred colours whipping in the background. How cool is that? I had to track down the band and get an interview.

I met Kat Robichaud at the Duke Coffeehouse. I walked into the intimately sized venue and The Design were in sound check. I sat at the bar and watched as the sound man checked their mic levels. I think it’s awesome when artists dress up and have a look of their own. Kat had on the striped suit she wore on the cover of The Design’s new album, “Young America”. When she was finished, I walked over and introduced myself. She was very friendly and came to sit down with me immediately.

RK- “Are you from Raleigh?”

KR- “I’m from Concord originally. I moved to Raleigh to get my graphic design degree at NC State, and I’ve been here ever since.”

RK- “How much of your graphic design talent comes into play with your music?”

KR- “I have fun doing all the graphic design for the band. That’s also how The Design got our name.”

RK- “I love that you took the art concept and incorporated it in your music. I checked out your website and noticed your photo shoot at the fair. How were you able to pull that off?”

KR- “Well, I wanted to go somewhere with atmosphere. (Laughs) So, we get through the gate at the North Carolina State Fair, I’m wearing these skimpy clothes and I’ve got this hula hoop as a prop. We are posing in front of the rides and as you can imagine, I start drawing a crowd. A couple of cops are approaching us, and we realize that I am dressed provocatively in the middle of the bible belt. There was already a scene, and tons of people were stopping to watch our shoot. The cops mentioned to us that they had their hands full because Dionne Warwick was at the fair, and they didn’t have enough cops to split between us for damage control. They told us that they understood we were just doing our thing, and they told us to come back when the fair was closed. We did and we were escorted around for about an hour and we were able to get some killer shots. It’s important to add energy and an aesthetic to a photo shoot.”

RK- “Those photos turned out great! Is there anything else you would like to accomplish, as well as your music?”

KR- “I’m into fashion. I would love to have a clothing line like Gwen Stefani. It’s hard to find the time to do anything extra, as I do a lot of networking for the band. I create the fliers and album covers. I’m currently working on a stop-motion music video concept with Lite-Brite that I’m doing in After Affects.”

RK- “That sounds really cool! I was wondering if you do most of the songwriting in The Design?”

KR- “It depends. It’s a collaborative effort. Some songs I wrote on guitar like, “Don’t Stop Loving Me” and “Scream”, they are ideas I brought to the band. “Burn” started with Bryan on drums, Michael came up with a riff, and I recorded it on my iPhone. I went home and shaped the lyrics and melody. For the song “It All Goes On Without You”, it was formed around a riff and then we laid down the chord structure.

I learned in school that design doesn’t just come from you. It comes from a collaboration and since everyone in the band has a different background, it helps make the music unique. My influences are David Bowie and Queen, Mike is into punk rock, Bryan is into Rush, The Cure and The Police, while Keith is all over the map and loves jazz.”

RK- “I have to ask: How many pairs of shoes do you have?”

KR- (Laughs, then thinks for a moment) “It’s probably around 30. My favourites are Jeffrey Campbell’s. They look cool, they’re comfortable, and they grab your attention. They are visual art.”

RK- “What is the most interesting gig you’ve ever had?”

KR- “There was a wedding gig that the band had in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The groom was a producer from MTV and we were playing in this giant field, right at the foot of the Teton Mountains. We were half way through the set, and everyone stopped to watch the sunset. It was so beautiful and the crowd was so happy and into it. It felt cool to be a part of that experience.”

RK- “Since you are well on your way to superstardom, are there any behind the scenes tips that you would like to share with other Coolgrrrls that are out there trying to make it?”

KR- “For sure!

Number 1: Promote yourself like no one else is promoting you. Hand out fliers and do everything you can to get yourself out there. Don’t just let someone else handle it.

Number 2: Be professional. You are in the public eye and you never know who is watching you. The way you dress can also get you noticed, so make sure that you are dressed for the part.

Number 3: Be humble. Play every show like it’s your best show. There is no small show, so be appreciative whether there are 20 people in the audience or 20,000.

Number 4: Reach out and connect with fans. Eye contact is so important and it makes a difference. Connect yourself to your audience before and after the show. Respect your fans and be courteous. Let the audience leave with a piece of you. Meeting and greeting fans helps establish your fan base, and leaves them with a positive impression.”

Kat definitely left me with a positive impression. I stayed for their full set, and Kat graciously let me take some pictures. During the show, she wasn’t afraid to take her own advice, as she ran into the audience, incorporating them into her show. She mentioned how much she loved Tim Burton, and during one point, threw silly string onto the crowd. The highlight was when she bursted out singing the first few bars of the American anthem (hitting every note perfectly, I might add), and then immediately rocked into “Young America”. The crowd went wild and she had the whole room under her spell. 

I strongly encourage going to see The Design. Kat’s showmanship exceeded all my expectations. I have a feeling that world domination is right around the corner, and I’m pretty sure that Kat has a funky pair of platform heels stashed for just the occasion.

Rebecca Kane

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