Sit Kitty Sit is the duo of Kat Downs and Mike Thompson, who originally formed in the San Francisco music scene but have since relocated to Menasha, Wisconsin. Incorporating piano into a hard rock style, Sit Kitty Sit have been a unique spectacle for over a decade now. Their most recent single “Good Riddance’ came out in August.
ME: To start, tell me how Sit Kitty Sit got involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures.
MIKE: Well, we had moved here in July of last year, and then once we got here we spent the rest of that year basically setting up our house and studio. That took some time and we were just settling in the area, and then as stuff started to open up again and we were able to schedule our vaccines, I started browsing around Wisconsin online just to see what was out there in terms of booking agents, promoters and the like. I just typed it into Google and Wisconsin Music Ventures popped right up, and I thought it looked like a cool company. I dove in and researched it and thought it was badass; it was exactly what I was looking for – a community where I could network. We became a Green Room member when Allison reached out, and she’s been phenomenal. It’s really a great organization that she’s running.
ME: Nice. She rules.
KAT: Yeah she does.
ME: So you’re originally from San Francisco, right?
KAT: Our band is originally from San Francisco but I’m originally from Green Bay. I lived in California for nineteen years and Mike’s originally from Rhode Island.
MIKE: Yeah, and I lived in the Bay area for about fifteen years. We had met in the Bay area in 2010 through mutual musician friends, started experimenting as a duo, and just took it from there.
ME: I’ve never been to San Francisco but I’ve always wanted to go.
MIKE: It’s a cool town; there’s definitely a lot to do and see and visit. It’s just hard to live there as an independent artist.
KAT: It’s so expensive.
MIKE: Yeah, it’s just tough. We were doing it but not comfortably.
ME: I hear you. What made you decide to come here?
MIKE: Well, that partially. Also Kat’s family still lives in Green Bay so we wanted to be closer to them.
KAT: And also, like every time we came through here on tour, the Appleton music scene was just kicking ass. The vibe in Appleton was very similar to the way that San Francisco was back in like 2010-11. We thought it was amazing. I grew up in Green Bay and my background is in classical music; I went to Green Bay West High School and St. Norbert College, and I don’t ever remember hearing people talk about bands playing somewhere…it just wasn’t around. Nobody I knew was going out to see live music unless it was a national touring act. I’m sure it was, but considering I was a music major and I was surrounded by music all the time, it just wasn’t something I heard about ever. So when I came back here there was this amazing independent music scene going on.
MIKE: All over Wisconsin, too. There’s just a lot of great music happening and a lot of great places to play. Another thing is, San Francisco lost like three quarters of the best clubs. They all just shut down to make way for condos and bullshit like that. There’s not very much around the Bay area in terms of places to travel to to play without driving a long time. Reno is like three hours east, Sacramento is north and it’s alright but there’s really nothing north of that, and then south past Santa Cruz to LA is just a long drive. Whereas here, it’s just a great location regionally. There’s so many places in Wisconsin to play, plus touring is way easier if we wanted to do a two to three week run in any direction. We’d hit a lot of great towns. Cost of living is another huge advantage here too.
KAT: So a plethora of reasons (laughs).
ME: All of those are super valid. What’s the main thing you guys do miss about being back there?
KAT: Our friends.
MIKE: The burritos.
KAT: Oh my God, yeah, the Mexican food is amazing. There was this one particular place in the Mission that was so good that we had to narrow it down to only celebratory burritos, otherwise we’d just live there.
ME: I hear you. This summer was the first time for me on the West Coast as an adult; I went to LA for a week. They’ve got Del Taco out there – it’s pretty good.
MIKE: Yeah, there’s no shortage. I mean the Bay’s great and there’s a lot of great music there. It’s just a little crowded and there’s not a whole lot of places to play.
ME: Well, those are two ideal things to miss.
ME: Tell me about “Good Riddance” – your latest single.
KAT: We wrote half of it when we were still in California and then we finished it when the studio was built, so it’s kind of the best of both worlds, like it’s a little bit of California and a little bit of Wisconsin. It’s all about getting rid of something that you knew wasn’t helping you anymore even though it was hard. It’s kind of bittersweet when something is ending and something new is beginning.
ME: What are your plans for this coming Halloween?
MIKE: We’re playing at McFleshman’s Brewing Company in Appleton, having a big Halloween party on October 30th. It’ll be an all-day thing; we’re playing from 3-5 in the beer garden so that should be a blast. We love Halloween; it’s our favorite holiday.
ME: It has to be as an adult. What other holiday didn’t lose its charm as you got older?
MIKE: Right? It’s the best. So we’ve got that going on, and then after that we don’t have any shows booked as of now through November and December. We don’t do a whole lot of stuff during the holiday season in terms of playing out but we are planning on doing some more videos and writing.
KAT: We have an epically large to-do list to get done in like two months (laughs). We’ve got about one and half new songs in the works, we’re talking about potentially beefing up our live sound with some new tricks, and we’re working on some harmony stuff. Mike is learning how to sing, which is exciting.