When performing as The KTNA, Hope and Millie Katana are committed to being authentically themselves. The twin sisters use R&B to its full potential by confronting emotive topics openly and effortlessly. Lyrically, the girls really capture the ‘blues’ element of the genre head on.
The two have been making music since they were young. Even amidst a brief acting spell, The KTNA continued to hone their craft and produce work that countered the music industry’s conformist nature.
Their determination has paid off. Their first single, ‘Hope’ was played on BBC Radio 1Xtra and the duo has received support from the likes of Jorja Smith and Maverick Sabre.
‘Life Under Siege’ as a whole is 26 minutes of raw, boundless energy, where the KTNA explore a range of slick, beautifully produced soundscapes.
We caught up with The KTNA in the lead up to their new EP ‘Life Under Siege’ to discuss their thoughts on the industry and their journey so far.
How long have you been making music and what drives you to continue?
We’ve been making music our whole lives from before we can both fully remember honestly, making music is definitely one of our first memories. Truthfully it’s the most effortless, freeing and fulfilling feeling in the world for us.
What impact has focusing on music had on your life?
The ability to express and explore all kinds of feelings and thoughts openly, without judgement has been a true saving grace to both of our lives.
We feel that people from everywhere should make music as a form of therapy. If people were to write a song once a week you’d know what place a person is in in their life almost immediately, maybe one day we’ll set up a summer camp.
What do you think makes people gravitate towards your music?
We’d say honestly because it’s so transparent. Lyrically we’re not ones to hold punches. We give you how we feel straight from the top of the dome and sometimes it’s a bit mad but we think people appreciate our brutal honesty. Although sometimes it does feel like we are bearing our souls.
Who are some artists that influence you musically?
THERE ARE SOOOO MANY!
We take influences from every genre of music. Vocally we try and take inspiration from Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Chet Baker, Bill Withers and many many others.
Musically we’re inspired by genre splicing acts like The Gorillaz, Frank Ocean, Thundercat, early Kanye West and Daft Punk.
Lyrically we’re inspired by people like Fleetwood Mac, Sting, Stevie Wonder and Gregory Porter.
Name some artists in the industry now that inspire you currently.
For the record we’re stuck in a time machine musically. Golden oldies are our faves (Thanks mum!).
WE LOVE: Anderson Paak, Moonchild, Slow Thai, Thundercat and Blood Orange.
In an ideal world, if you could feature anyone on a KTNA track who would it be?
HANS ZIMMER FOR A BOND THEME TUNE! (Crying at the thought of it right now)
Do you feel as if there is a pressure to conform in the industry?
Oh, every day. It’s the industry we’re in. A bunch of people who have never made music in their lives tell people who make it for a living how to be artists?
But.. you can’t get sucked into the politics you’ve just gotta fight for what you believe in, because you’re the person making the art.
Have you always had a natural desire to work with one another musically, or was it a decision you came to?
Funny you say that we’ve never actually had a conversation about it. But they say ‘what’s understood does not need to be explained’
[As twins] How do you make your individuality clear when working as a group within the KTNA?
As twins we always get asked “Do you think the same? “Are you the same person?”. We’re not the same we are very ying and yang. I guess that is what makes our music the way it is because we both come from different perspectives which we respect one another for.
Galina Juritz adds a beautiful touch to OWT, How did you end up working together? Also how did you know her touch was right for the song?
Galina is a gift from GOD! One of our favourite people Sam Danieli (A fantastic musician and engineer) said he had worked with an unbelievable player and that he would contact her to see if she was interested in playing on OWT.
A week later she turns up to the studio and within minutes of me meeting her and her picking up her violin I was crying my eyes out!
She had scored it the night before and I couldn’t actually believe that those beautiful string lines were going on OUR song. What a legend. She eventually did strings on another 3 songs on ‘Life Under Siege’
How do you handle your creative differences? Are you able to build upon them?
We’re sisters sometimes we need a time out like everyone… but if very rarely we don’t agree on something we just compromise and do a bit of both. It’s the only way.
What do you use as inspiration during your creative process?
Anything that’s intense. We enjoy playing video games whilst making music, films, tv, documentaries, ANIME and DAVID ATTENBOROUGH!
How do you maintain authenticity when you make music? Do you have any tips for new musicians on how to maintain an authentic image?
Yes! Our advice is you’ve got to be meticulous with the decisions you make otherwise you’re going to be roped into someone else’s vision of you. You’ve gotta be able to live with yourself at the end of the day.
Live and grow in your truth, if you wanna compromise then compromise, if you can’t then DON’T!
How would you summarise the content and sound of your EP Life Under Siege?
The theme to ‘Life Under Siege’ is the fight to internally and externally change your life. Or feeling as though your backs against the wall and everything is falling to pieces.
Mental health played a massive part in writing this EP too. Not enough people are talking about the struggles so many of us experience due to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. We need more representation through music right now. Life isn’t an Instagram post that’s for sure.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
All we want to do now is sing the EP live at everywhere and anywhere that will have us. It’s where the music and the message comes to life. Please come see us tear the place up real soon!
Is there anything outside of music we should look out for from KTNA?
We’re very creative people in so many ways, but we’re just taking it one day at a time right now, channelling it into our musical endeavours . However we promise we’ve got a lot on our bucket lists to get through! Stay tuned x
You can listen to Life Under Siege across all streaming platforms now.