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Kat Marsh is a superbly talented singer songwriter who wows audiences with her powerful voice and skilful use of a loop pedal, creating her own backing track by recording and sampling her instruments and vocals live on stage. She describes her sound as eclectic and evolving, with elements of blues, pop, soul, dance and funk and a wide range of musical influences all showing clearly in her music. She’s been performing solo since 2006, and recently recorded her live DVD at Press Pack Studios in Plymouth, with the launch of the DVD taking place at Annabels in Plymouth in September 2009. We caught up with Kat and Press Pack head honcho Joe Biddle at the studio just before the DVD launch for a demonstration on just how that loop pedal makes Kat’s sound so unique – check out this exclusive video, filmed and edited by Owen Tanner (Press Pack video producer) and Scot Weller (Fire and Ice Productions).

First picking up a guitar at the age of 16, Kat taught herself to play by learning her favourite songs. “I like playing guitar, but I love playing bass!” she tells us. “I got my first bass when I was 21 and it just clicked.” Alongside her musical talents, her vocal performance is just as impressive. “My voice started to develop when I was about 13. It took a long time to be able to sing properly in front of people, and I’ve never had singing lessons,” she admits. “I’ve kind of accumulated all my knowledge about proper technique and warm ups as I’ve gone along.”

Family videos show a two year old Kat singing for her family, but now you’re more likely to find her performing at venues around the South West with her guitar, her BOSS RC-50 loop pedal and drum machine. She explains more; “I used to loop with a more basic pedal, but I was at Mansons guitar shop in Exeter last year and one of the guys there offered me a big discount on the RC-50 because he’d seen me play before.” She continues, “I went for it and it’s worked out great. It gives me loads more flexibility in terms of making songs and performing. I added an Akai MPC drum machine/sampler a few months after I got the RC-50 so I can record my own beats too.”

Kat’s sound is soulful and funky, and she lists the likes of Whitney Houston and Prince amongst her influences, saying, “I love divas, both male and female – Yma Sumac, Christina Aguilera, Aretha Franklin, Jeff Buckley – they’re all big influences. And in terms of music, I really love Lykke Li, the Mars Volta, Crazy Arm, Fink, Beyonce, Regina Spektor and Rage Against The Machine. That’s just a few, I could go on and on!”

With a string of dates around the South West coming up this month, Kat is also making plans to record her album. “I don’t usually plan too far into the future,” she tells us, “some of the coolest things I’ve done have just appeared out of nowhere. I ended up recording vocals for The King Blues album last year, which was totally unexpected. I was just in the right place at the right time. I’d like some more stuff like that to happen!”

See below for Kat’s tour dates (check her myspace for updates).

17 Sept, Ride Cafe, Plymouth
19 Sept, Mama Stones, Exeter (10pm start)
24 Sept, Taphouse, St Agnes

myspace.com/katmarsh // to book Kat go to livemusicconnections.com
Press Pack Studios, Grosvenor House, Belgrave Lane, Plymouth PL4 7DA
presspackstudios.com // myspace.com/presspack // fireandiceproductions.co.uk
Thanks to Kat Marsh, Joe Biddle, Owen Tanner and Scot Weller for filming and editing the interview, and Jo Barker for doing Kat’s hair and makeup for the vid.

Words: LTB