Interview: The Great Kat, violin-guitar virtuoso and self-styled Beethoven reincarnate
A few things to know about the Great Kat: she's declared herself God, as well as the reincarnation of Beethoven. She speaks about herself in the third person. She favors leather, fishnets, and other dominatrix-inspired garb, and her signature talent is the ability to "shred" the electric guitar. She's a Juilliard-trained violinist, but she's declared classical music "dead."
I requested a phone interview with the England-born musician, but her publicist responded that "the Great Kat prefers to do an e-mail Q and A." Here are the Great Kat's emphatic responses to my e-mailed questions.
How did a Juilliard-trained violinist transform into the guitar-shredding powerhouse you've become today? Did you suddenly have an "aha" moment, or did the change evolve over time?
First of all, The Great Kat is the REINCARNATION of BEETHOVEN, Juilliard graduate Violin Virtuoso, "TOP 10 FASTEST SHREDDERS OF ALL TIME" (Guitar One Magazine) and the ONLY Guitar/Violin DOUBLE Virtuoso since Paganini!
I was BORN listening to BEETHOVEN, so I had the highest level of ear-training since BIRTH. My mission in life was ALWAYS to bring Beethoven to the world. I won a Full Scholarship to study at The Juilliard School and graduated with HONORS as a Violin Virtuoso. I toured the U.S., England and Mexico, won the Artists International Competition on violin, performed my Solo Violin Recital Debut at Carnegie Recital Hall and a solo violin performance at Gracie Mansion for NYC Mayor Ed Koch and in Coahuila, Mexico for Governor Oscar Flores Tapia.
After touring as a violin soloist and a lifelong dedication to Classical Music, I realized that Classical music DESPARATELY NEEDED to be updated for the masses. By accident, I happened to see a Judas Priest music video on TV one day and loved the sound of the metal guitars and operatic-style vocals! THAT DAY I had the "AHA" MOMENT and realized that METAL was the way to UPDATE CLASSICAL! I picked up the electric guitar and began transcribing my intricate violin solos to the guitar. I developed a new genre of music: "SHRED/CLASSICAL" Music — Fast, Furious, and Virtuosic. The Great Kat GUITAR-SHREDDING POWERHOUSE was BORN!!!!!
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Did you nurture a love of metal and punk rock (or other types of popular music) simultaneously while training in classical violin?
I ONLY listened to BEETHOVEN'S GENIUS MUSIC!!!!!!!!! I was TOTALLY OBSESSED with PERFECTING the CLASSICAL VIRTUOSO VIOLIN repertoire and did NOT want to listen to anything else! I never even HEARD any rock or metal music until after graduating Juilliard, when I saw the Judas Priest music video.
When did you start playing guitar? What does the instrument have to offer that a violin doesn't? When you play violin in your current style, is it informed by your guitar playing?
After hearing Speed Metal (Judas Priest) I loved the POWER of the electric METAL guitar and began shredding guitar. I REALIZED that I was the ONLY VIOLIN/GUITAR VIRTUOSO in HISTORY since PAGANINI!
The Great Kat Queen of Shred's GUITAR technique comes DIRECTLY from my violin technique, which I perfected with years of playing VIOLIN CONCERTOS (Paganini, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and more) and VIOLIN SHOWPIECES (Sarasate, Bazzini, Paganini and more)! The Great Kat uses the "Paganini" technique on BOTH Guitar AND Violin, which requires that you take your fingers and you make them like claws. The vibrato is extremely tight and fast. My pure Classical violin technique is always the DOMINANT force behind my ShredClassical guitar and violin playing.
Besides you, who is the most punk rock classical musician? If you could go back in time and speak to that person, what would you say?
NICCOLO PAGANINI!!!!! Paganini was the FIRST ROCK STAR VIRTUOSO!! PAGANINI was called "The Devil's Son" and "Witch's Brat" for his demonic and amazing violin virtuosity! Audiences thought Paganini made a pact with the devil!
If I could go back in time and speak to Paganini, I would say: "BOW to THE GREAT KAT GODDESS OF VIOLIN AND GUITAR SHRED!!!!" He would LOVE it!!!!
Do you consider yourself a feminist? Can you describe any challenges being a woman in the music business? What do you do to stay on top?
The Great Kat is a FEMINIST KICKING MY MALE COMPETITORS IN THE BUTTS with PERFECT CLASSICAL VIOLIN AND GUITAR TECHNIQUE, SPEED and BRUTALITY — which they think only MEN can do!!!!
JEALOUS MALE GUITARISTS DON'T WANT a POWERFUL, TECHNICAL and AGGRESSIVE FEMALE to CHANGE their STATUS QUO of MALE GUITAR DOMINANCE!!! The Great Kat is TEARING DOWN their ENTIRE WALLS of STUPIDITY with the HELP of LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN!!!!
The Great Kat is also an ENIGMA, who is a VICIOUS, BLOOD-DRIPPING GUITAR DOMINATRIX, as well as a CUTE, LOVABLE, ADORABLE GODDESS!!!!!!
Where do you get your ideas for your fashion style?
The Great Kat is an OVER-THE-TOP leather-wearing Guitar DOMINATRIX, WHIPPING my SUBMISSIVE SLAVES while I SHRED Classical Masterpieces at HIGH SPEEDS! I get style inspiration from the GENIUSES, such as a Wagner opera (Die Walkure), Strauss opera (the bloody Elektra), and historical figures: Marquis de Sade, Vlad The Impaler, Marie Antoinette and more!
Sometimes you can seem a little angry. Is there something in particular that really ticks you off, or is yelling just how you express happiness?
BEETHOVEN was ALWAYS ANGRY!!!!!!!! THAT'S why his music is SO POWERFUL! The Great Kat IS the REINCARNATION of BEETHOVEN!!!!!
In your bio it says that after your world tour, you realized classical music was dead. What made you realize that? Any way to bring it back to life?
I realized that Classical Music was DEAD because NO ONE was LISTENING to CLASSICAL Music!!!! It was destroyed by NON-VIRTUOSOS like Cage, Glass, Schoenberg, and other "composers"! They destroyed the Classical VIRTUOSIC Tradition that goes back to Antonio Vivaldi: YOU MUST be a VIRTUOSO to make EXCITING MUSIC!
AV Maniacs declares: "The woman that I now believe is a dark superhero sent by the ghosts of composers past in order to make darn sure nobody forgets who they are, by any means necessary, the one, the only, THE GREAT KAT!!!!""
The ONLY way to bring Classical Music back to life is the way THE GREAT KAT IS DOING IT: make it fast, short, virtuosic and ENTERTAINING FOR THE YOUTUBE GENERATION!!
What draws you to classical music? Performing in contemporary forms, what excites you about composers like Beethoven, Vivaldi and Paganini?
What I LOVE about shredding Beethoven, Vivaldi and Paganini is that their music is VIRTUOSIC and COMPLEX, with layers of counterpoint, melodies and harmonies ALL CONSTANTLY RUNNING, MOVING and stimulating your brain!!!!!
A PERFECT example of Vivaldi in a CONTEMPORARY form is The Great Kat's VIVALDI'S THE FOUR SEASONS, featured on TESCO'S CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS TV Commercial!!! It's Fast, Furious and totally virtuosic music, mixed with the power of CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS visuals!!!
Do you ever compose your own music?
YES!!!!! Go listen to THE GREAT KAT HIGH PRIESTESS OF GUITAR SHREDS CDs and DVDs, which include SHREDCLASSICAL versions of Classical masterpieces, PLUS my own SHREDCLASSICAL creations, such as "IslamoFascists," "Terror," "War," "Humiliation," "Torture Chamber," "Torture Techniques," "Blood," and more!!!!! The Great Kat's own music mixes PURE VICIOUS SPEED METAL, SHRED GUITAR and CLASSICAL MUSIC.
How do you describe your style? What inspires you?
The Great Kat's STYLE is UNREPRESSED, UNINHIBITED, GENIUS Music AND Attitude!!!!! I am SINGLE-HANDEDLY RESURRECTING CLASSICAL MUSIC for the FUTURE by combining CLASSICAL with METAL, THEATRICAL INSANITY and TOTAL VIRTUOSITY!!!!!!!!!!
The Great Kat's Inspiration: BEETHOVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!
THE GREAT KAT IS GOD!
Interested in writing about classical music for American Public Media? Have a story about classical music to share? We want to hear from you!