Kait DiBenedetto talks like she’s from Jersey. She’s comes off as tough as nails and she seems about as far removed as anyone could be from being the manufactured pop star that she was supposed to be. Kait was Just Kait, but when you talk to her you know that there’s a lot more to her than the MTV-funded pop persona they wanted her to be. After the stint with Just Kait, she went away from that and started a duo with her boyfriend Tom Kunzman called 18th & Addison. They’re both extremely talented and they just released their debut LP, “Makeshift Monster.” DiBenedetto chatted with Alternative Addiction about 18th & Addison, comparing the music she wants to make with the stuff she used to have to make.
“I started playing music really young,” said Kait in the interview. “My dad played drums and I immediately loved watching him play. That made me believe I wanted to play too. Shortly after that, he started teaching me how to play. I was four or five. I played sports in school and ended up getting an injury and I had to get a different hobby. I picked up guitar and started teaching myself how to play. I started playing acoustic shows in the area and I started meeting more and more musicians and getting into the local music scene.”
The Jersey music scene is a lot different than the music scene that’s relatively close in New York. It’s a little more working class and it’s a younger crowd too. Kait met Kunzman playing at some of the same shows and they sparked a friendship from there.
“He was in another band and of course, I was in a different band. We used to play shows at this rec center. It was cool because there were six or seven bands playing on a show and when you played there, you’d have the room all day. Kids from the youth center would come and hang out. It was an awesome opportunity for bands in the area. My dad ended up booking Tom’s band for their first show at that venue. From playing around the scene, we started hanging out. When both of our bands fell apart, we decided to go jam. We didn’t have any plans when we started, it just kind of happened. We started to love everything that we were doing and we decided to make it 18th & Addison and take it serious.”
She gets to make the music that she wants with 18th & Addison now, but that wasn’t always the case. Kait talked about working within a big industry project like Just Kait and about how hard that was as an artist.
Makeshift Monster is the product of all of Kunzman and DiBenedetto’s experiences up to now and it’s a worthy result of those years of mild frustration. It’s creatively powerful in a lot of ways. It’s like someone being unable to speak for years and then finally being able to let out a scream. Knowing Kait’s background makes this album more powerful. When you listen to the music and what she’s singing, you’ll understand that there’s a lot more to DiBenedetto than Just Kait. -aa