Kat Katz Speaks Further on Her Split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Misogyny in Metal
Last October, longtime Agoraphobic Nosebleed vocalist Kat Katz stepped down from the band following a decade in that role, after which Kat and the other members of the group engaged in a public quarrel. Kat has now granted an interview to Cvlt Nation, her first since the split with ANb, in which she details some of the events leading up to her decision to leave and talks about the ongoing problem of misogyny in the metal scene in general.
A quick recap of what went down last October: Kat first stated simply that she quit because she was “tired of being bullied by dudes,” to which the band responded by describing an incident that took place after a show in which Kat was MIA for about 45 minutes and the other members were worried about her safety. Kat then issued two more statements on the matter in which she did not dispute what happened but took issue with how her band members handled it, the gist of which is summed up well by this one quote: “I felt my presence as an equal member was no longer respected, and my gender served as a reason to belittle my presence and my opinion on the personal dynamics and inner workings of the band.”
Among the revelations contained in the new interview, Kat alleges that an unnamed bandmate came on to her physically in the weeks before the split:
“The band dynamics seemed to deteriorate when I began expressing opinions more openly. My former bandmate is not used to people disagreeing with him, and I don’t think it helped any that I’m a woman. I believe that the major reason it fell apart so quickly is that weeks before I left, he had come on to me physically in a way that made me highly uncomfortable. I wasn’t expecting it. We had stayed in the same hotel room numerous times and nothing had ever happened. It felt disrespectful not only to me, but to his significant other, and put me in a terrible position. I don’t know how he expected that situation to culminate in any way that wasn’t destructive to the band and his relationship.”
When asked if she had any similar experiences in her prior band, Salome, she told a story echoing the one above:
“I thought I had a good friendship with the drummer in Salome. When he decided he wanted a sexual relationship and I said no, he resorted to the typical pattern of bullying and gaslighting. For years, I kept trying to make our relationship work as bandmates until I realized I was the only one of us trying. I promised myself then that I wouldn’t pay the price for someone else’s selfishness again. When my ANb bandmates showed the same disrespect for me, I left before they did more damage.”
Speaking more generally on misogyny in the metal scene, Kat explained:
“Every woman fights the stereotype of ‘hysterical female,’ and I was extremely disappointed in my bandmates for exploiting that trope. The amount of narcissism, drama, and insecurity I witness from men in metal is astounding and yields no consequences; the tantrums are accepted without the bat of an eye. As a woman, you show anger, you speak out, and you’re automatically labeled as ‘crazy.’”
Katz also had the following to offer on the role music and art can play for women in channeling emotions:
“I don’t think I’d be alive today without using music and art to process experiences and emotions. My childhood included sexual assault and being the primary caregiver to a parent with untreated schizophrenia and lack of insight. She used to lock us in the house with chairs pressed up against the doors. As a child, I felt powerless, and that feeling stayed with me long after I left home. When I’m on stage, I feel powerful. I’m beyond the traumas of the past. I’m beyond rigid gender stereotypes. And I am heard. I want other women to see that there are no limits to self-expression. You don’t have to live the life you were born to.”
Katz went on to reveal that she is currently working as a counselor for people who were chronically homeless and live with severe mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance use problems, and that she is taking classes and gaining research experience with an eye towards applying to clinical psychology PhD programs. Musically, she’ll be releasing a collaborative track with Thou’s Andy Gibbs this Friday, May 3rd as part of Adult Swim’s Metal Swim 2 compilation, alongside tracks by Sunn O))), Baroness, Dark Castle and others.
You can, and should, read the full interview right here.