Retrospective

Retrospective | KaitO

Norwich. That seemingly random city in these fair isles. Tucked up way in the nook of the country, you’d think it was so separated from the rest of the country that no amazing band could ever come from there. Well, not only did one amazing band come there but a whole scene in the early to mid noughties that included Violet Violet, The Brownies and KaitO.

Kaito started life in 1996 in Norwich and included Nikki Colk (vocals, guitars), Gemma Cullingford (bass, backing vocals), Dave Lake (guitar) and Dieta Quantrill (drums). The quartet were one of the most hard working bands on the Norwich scene and after five years together the band sealed a record deal with Fierce Panda in Europe and Devil in the Woods in America in 2001.

I first heard about KaitO after getting a mixtape at the end of  a Bloc Party gig way back when I was a moody teenager, ever so in love with every member of Bloc Party (I still wouldn’t turn any of them down). What struck me most about KaitO was Colk’s vocals. She sounded like a bubbly tween at the peak of a very big sugar high. She would shriek, scream and warble and it all sounded amazing. As a shy teenager who wanted desperately to let out a yelp of emotion, Colk’s shrieks were music to my ears. Their most notable songs are ‘Try Me Out’, ‘Catnap’ and ‘Johnnie’.

Kaito released two full length albums, You’ve Seen Us…You Must Have Seen Us and Band Red. Although both albums did reasonably well in the indie underground scene of the early noughties and got rave reviews KaitO never really received mainstream success not that the band ever aspired to that level of fame. The band broke up in 2006, 10 years after they first got together. Colk went on to join Factory Floor, Collingford co-founded the Norwich Ukulele Society and Lake is now a guitarist in Norwich-based band MAGOO. KaitO are still a well known name in certain circles. By those still on the Norwich scene or influenced by it. Sad at their demise, but happy to still have the memories.

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One thought on “Retrospective | KaitO

  1. Wow, an actual KaitO tribute! It makes me so happy that such a thing exists in 2012. I do have to disagree about the reviews though. While they generally got good reviews, they never really got their due as a great band from the tastemakers like Pitchfork. This was a band with a truly original sound, completely noisy…yet also totally pop. There are a few bands who do something similar these days (ex: Pterodactyl) but not many. The sounds that Nikki and Dave got out of their guitars were unreal. They’re in the same league with Kevin Shields on that front, as far as I’m concerned. The vocals were like their own special language that functioned similarly to the guitars in the mix. I think Nikki Colk is a genius, and it is a terrible shame that although the third album was completed, it was never released.

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