Musician and TV producer Katey Sleeveless’ sound advice 

  • Julianna Photography

Kate Perdoni (aka Katey Sleeveless) is a zinester, TV producer, musician with Spirettes and LiteLvL, artist, writer and mom. She was named a 2017 Colorado Springs Business Journal Rising Star and received the 2018 Colorado Business Committee for the Arts EY Next Wave Leadership Award. Kate has served as executive director of the Pikes Peak Arts Council and vice chair of Colorado Springs’ Public Art Commission, and serves on the Youth Documentary Academy advisory council. She hosts Rocky Mountain PBS’ program Arts District, and has been nominated for an Emmy for the documentary she created on Fannie Mae Duncan.

Essential Saturday night listening: Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night. From the initial lead-in, this album, recorded in the early ’70s following the drug overdoses of Neil’s bandmate and roadie, sets the late-night mood, opening the doors to some smoky low-down club where you have to know somebody. When I was a 14-year-old with my first electric guitar (a Fernandes I spray-painted safety orange), this was the album I dreamt of making. It’s totally unrelenting, unapologetically real, and is trying to tell us something — sending a blip out on the radar, and hoping someone can translate it and boomerang it back.

Essential Sunday morning listening: Aretha’s version of “The Weight” is my church equivalent. Pond. Thee Oh Sees’ early stuff. The Shins. The Walkmen. Sigur Rós. Velvet Underground’s Loaded. Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited.

First record I bought with my own money: Neil Young and Pearl Jam’s Mirror Ball collab. I’d just finished fourth grade and was traveling back to New Jersey from Minnesota to visit family. I remember going to the Sam Goody in the Mall of America, hell-bent on nabbing the latest from my fave musician Neil; and then, in the hotel room, popping this into my scratched-up gray Sony Discman, and having my mind fucking blown. I was gone. Transported. I had no idea who Pearl Jam were, having missed all of pop culture in favor of my parents’ ’60s vinyl collection, but if they were cool enough for Neil, they were cool enough for me. They immediately became my favorite band for the next 10 years!

“Wish I’d written that” song: “Intervention” by Arcade Fire. There were many years where I couldn’t belt my way through this song without choking up. I’m a sucker for an anti-imperialist anthem. “Who’s gonna throw the very first stone? Who’s gonna reset the bone?” I was likely going to get those lyrics tattooed on my arm till Mike Strescino told me during a session that tattooing lyrics is his lamest request... surpassing kanji.

“Wish I could unhear that” song: “Old Town Road.” Every time I almost forget it exists, my boyfriend (whom I can also thank for alerting me to it in the first place) is giggling from the kitchen over some new revelation that’s been made about the song — he’s obsessed — and I have to restart the whole journey of forgetting. I am currently traveling Europe. I thought I could get away, then that fucking song was playing this morning while someone was vacuuming out their car at the rental station in Milano. Like, on top of, and in ridiculous decibel ratio to, the industrial vacuum. I saw red. (Or was it matte black?) Such an unwelcome ear worm. So I’m like, brushing my teeth to the beat of the song, singing it to the click of the turn signal, all that, for days on end. Not cool.

Artist more people should know about: Perfume Genius. Exquisite production that has excelled exponentially through the years (most recently, Blake Mills), extraordinary lyrics, and plenty of weird, alien orb sounds to create nostalgic, heart-wrenching layers.


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