We Connect with Kat Nova of KimKat, Headliner of the Green Label Live: Vegas Weekend Show
Kim Lee and Kat Nova are making waves internationally in the EDM scene. Known collectively as KimKat, the Los Angeles natives tour regularly around the world, and have separate histories as successful models, actors, and television stars. They’re featured on Kryoman’s new single, “RIDDIM BASS,” and are currently signed to dance music powerhouse Nervous Records. I was able to talk to Kat, who’s on break from her busy schedule, about her and Kim’s relationship, their history at the Scratch Academy, and what it’s like working as an international DJ’s.
Kat, you were a professional swimmer earlier on in your life. How did the transition from that world into DJing come about?
In Russia, I was three years old when my parents put me into a swimming program. As I got older, I started going to music school at the same time and eventually became a Junior in the Olympics. I injured my shoulder when I was around 15 or 16 years old. Because of that I couldn’t swim anymore. After that, I quit everything, but a few years later I ended up going to school for finance to try out the real world. That’s how I managed to meet Kim out in LA. She’s just naturally talented. There were times when she was able to figure stuff out on the piano from a song playing on the radio, almost immediately. When we started getting closer, she asked me if I wanted to start producing. It was natural after that, and everything came back to me.
When you were in LA, how exactly did you manage to meet Kim?
When I moved to LA I didn’t know anyone. We both met on the set of a few TV shows and music videos. Kim was doing a lot of modeling at the time. Because I was still in a transitional period from transferring schools, I kept on bumping into her. One time we decided to hang out and everything worked out from there.
Early on in your careers, you both went to the Scratch Academy together. What was your experience like there?
At the time, DJing was picking up and wasn’t as big as it is now. We decided to go to DJ school and spent the first year sitting in the studio learning production and mixing. It was very cool. We’re still very good friends with people at the Scratch Academy. We ended up booking private lessons and then started taking classes after a while. We realized it’s all about practice and started DJing at our friend’s studios and crashing there for a while. We eventually gained enough confidence after that to go on tour.
You were also the judges for the Disc-jockey competition thrown by Budweiser called BUDJs. What was your experience in judging the competition?
Budweiser DJs was last year from May to October. Both Kim and I had a team of three people that competed against other teams from different states across America. The goal was giving all of the contestants tips on what they could do to become a better DJ and performer over the course of four or five months. When it finally came to an end, my team won and the winners earned their own residency at a club in Asia along with $20,000.
Speaking of that, you’re both known to tour Asia and international locations on a regular basis. What can you say about these experiences? Where’s your favorite place to play abroad?
Over the last three years, we primarily toured in Asia every month. No one really tours there on a consistent basis, so we would play there, fly back, hang for five days, and go back all over again repeatedly. The long flights are the only things I dislike. I can’t sleep on a plane so that’s definitely the hardest thing. The cultural difference with the fans there though is crazy. They’re super supportive, so that’s been a really great experience. To name a single favorite place to play is kind of hard though. Every place we visit is really cool and different from each other and it is really an amazing experience.
“RIDDIM BASS,” your new single on Nervous Records, is a collaboration with DJ/producer Kryoman. What is it like to become part of that roster?
Really good. We’re best friends with the people on the roster. They help us out tremendously and help us advertise abroad over in Asia. They signed that track because they’re consistently trying to find DJ’s with a new sound. We’re going to have another bunch of tracks coming out on the label as well, and we’re super excited for it.
Are there any plans for a new EP or album?
We’re focusing on an EP this year and another album next year. Nowadays it’s not just about DJing anymore because most DJs are now known for production as opposed to just spinning. We’re definitely trying to make an effort to focus on production going forward, as well as touring the states.
You’ve had support from Diplo, Chuckie, TJR, R3HAB, Don Diablo, Skrillex, and Martin Garrix, and have quite the collection of vocal drops featured on mixes posted on your Soundcloud. How have you managed to market yourself so well in the EDM scene?
When we started DJing there weren’t that many female DJs on the scene. We really needed to prove that we were legit and not just another girl duo. When we started we knew all these people through networking, but we didn’t know how to put our name out. Kim did a bunch of videos with Kanye and some other prominent music figures and we decided to ask for a bunch of vocal shoutouts. It started working and people started noticing, so everything came together.
You have numerous Vegas shows planned for this month and have a history with the area. What are your favorite spots in Vegas?
Vegas is just awesome. It’s an amazing party city to play in, and people are less concerned about showing off and more about having fun. We’re doing quite a bit of debut dates in the area and this month we have three shows booked in Vegas. Earlier this month, we played a pool party for the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. We play Green Label Live at the Luxor for you guys on May 16, and on May 31 we play at the Drais Rooftop. We’re definitely trying to focus more on the US this year. We love Vegas, but especially enjoy playing the pool parties there. The vibe is amazing.