Singer-Songwriter with the band Kat Jones & the Prophets, Director of Community Development in Experimental Music at abrasiveMedia
Interview by Paul Polycarpou
Photography by Hunter Armistead
What would most surprise us to know about you?
That I have been ordained by the Church of The Latter-Day Dude, a church dedicated to the memory of The Big Lebowski.
I am a Dudeist priest.
I moved here originally for a boyfriend, then, six years after moving here, I moved to Portland, Oregon, as a result of PTSD that I acquired while in Nashville. Then I moved back here to work with abrasiveMedia and reunite with my band and friends.
What do you like best about the city?
It’s an incredibly collaborative community. I love the storytelling that exists in all of the art forms here.
What do you like the least about Nashville?
I wish there were more control over the development. I would like there to be a bit more architectural control so we could really define the character of the city.
What was the last great book you read?
I read a lot. I’m in the middle of Anna Karenina, which is wonderful, and I’m reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
If you could be somebody else for a day who would that be?
The First or Second?
Where else would you live if not Nashville?
Either Edinburgh, Scotland, or Berlin.
What movies have you seen recently?
The Babadook, a horror movie with a nice ending.
Who would you like to have a long conversation with?
Lou Reed, Ed O’Brien from Radiohead, and Yma Sumac, a Peruvian soprano with a nearly five-octave vocal range.
Who are your favorite poets?
Philip Levine, he’s close to my DNA; Kenneth Rexroth and Weldon Kees.
What’s it like being you these days?
I eat, sleep, and breathe the next production. Right now I’m working on Dear Apocalypse, August 5th and 6th. I spend a lot of time reaching out to the PTSD community. It’s a lot of coffee and conversations about collaborations.
Who’s been a big influence on your life?
Nick Cave, the percussive quality of his style of living, is really interesting to me.
What characteristic do you most like about yourself?
How much I like community development and helping the city become the version of itself that it is becoming.
What characteristic do you like least?
When we’re in production mode I can be very, very bossy, so I try to calm myself down, look at things from the outside, let go of my vision, and let the process of collaboration take over.
Are you always the best person for the job?
No, absolutely not. I am definitely a follower who can be a leader if there is no one else to lead.
What other career would you have liked?
I would probably be writing poetry or working on writing fiction.
What talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could dance with choreography, but I can’t. It’s embarrassing.
What would you tell the 15-year-old Kat?
Chill out! Don’t try to control everything. It won’t work, so relax.
When or where are you happiest?
I’m happy most of the time. I love being on the road.
What’s a treasured possession?
I have a classical guitar that my mum gave my dad when they got engaged.
What’s your mantra?
I want to always be better at loving people.
Who are you listening to these days?
Brian Wilson, My Brightest Diamond, The Beta Band, The Birthday Party, Stevie Wonder, and Damien Jurado.
If you could take one album with you . . .
OK Computer by Radiohead. That’s it. I could listen to it over and over for the rest of my life.
What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is of hurting people.
Which artists make you weak at the knees?
David Landry, who created the world’s largest graphic novel; it’s stunning. I adore John Martin. Whenever I am in St. Louis I go head to the art museum so that I can take in Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion. It’s my absolute favorite painting of all time. Roy Lichtenstein is also an all-time favorite.
What changes have you made recently?
I’m letting my hair grow out. Haven’t cut it in over a year. I think it’s a way of reclaiming my younger years when my hair was long but terribly managed and therefore embarrassing.
What must you have when leaving the house?
A great pair of shoes, and I’m compulsive about my eye makeup being symmetrical.
See Kat Jones & The Prophets in Dear Apocalypse during the Sideshow Fringe Festival on August 5 and 6 at Belmont’s Troutt Theater. For more information, visit www.katjonesmusic.com and www.abrasivemedia.org.