Kate Vargas
Gig Seeker Pro

Kate Vargas

New York, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

New York, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Folk Rock




"An Eerie Food Fight Erupts In Kate Vargas' 'This Affliction' Video: Premiere"

You might notice that Kate Vargas is the only person untouched by baked goods from the food fight in the video for her new track "This Affliction," premiering exclusively below. And she felt a bit guilty about that.

"I realized that about halfway through the shoot; I felt like a bad friend, 'cause it was all my friends who were in the video," Vargas tells Billboard. "But they were super good sports. And we didn't have a whole lot left over at the end for them to gang up on me with, so I got out of there relatively unscathed."

"This Affliction" appears on Vargas' just-released third album, For The Wolfish & Wandering. The song itself is "really morbid," according to the New York-based singer-songwriter, inspired by the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Fla., in which Omar Mateen killed 49 people. "It was so upsetting, obviously horrific and had such an impact that the first two verses came out pretty immediately that same week," Vargas recalls. She was particularly drawn to the hateful messages Mateen posted on social media before the attack.

"I was reading these articles about how he was struggling with his own sexuality," she says, "and (the attack) just struck me as such an extreme reaction to a personal struggle. It got me thinking about the ways in which we experience our personal struggles in the age of social media and how we kind of post everything and everything's public. So the themes are really the way we present ourselves and the public expression of discord and how we react to those displays and the way our environment affects us. It's very, very dark, that song."

For the "This Affliction" video, however, Vargas and director Alejandra Parody "didn't want it to be super morbid, so we lightened it up a bit. It's still a public expression of aggression; We just chose to use pies and cakes and things and it just turns into a crazy mess. And at the end I sit back down and we go about our meal as if nothing really happened -- but of course everyone's covered in food, so the mess hasn't gone away."

The rest of For the The Wolfish & Wandering, produced by Magnetic Fields mainstay Charles Newman, is equally serious -- "There's a lot of inner turmoil, I'd say, as the overarching theme of the album," Vargas acknowledges -- but the set's real linchpin is sonic. Prior to recording Vargas purchased a 1949 Marveltone guitar, whose dusty, resonant sound provided the center from which the album's 10 tracks were built.

"It's kind of a mystery guitar," Vargas says. "No one knows much about it, and it has this really quirky sound. There's a lot of character in this guitar, and I wanted to mold the album around the sound of the guitar and some percussion -- using chains and milk jugs and things like that. That was the basis of the sound I wanted. I wanted it to be raw." Vargas, who's headed to Europe for a tour in September, also altered her creative process a bit to add to the more urgent spirit of For the Wolfish & Wandering.

"I didn't want to be so precious about the writing for it or anything, which I tend to do," Vargas notes. "I tend to pore over these things to try to get it perfect. But I wanted to avoid that as much as I could this time. The whole process was really quick; When I signed on the dot with Charles Newman I had five tunes, so I was writing while we recorded, and that was a really good exercise for me because I was forced to not be too precious about it. I'd have to finish a song in a weekend, which is super rare for me. So it was totally different, but that's what I wanted, too." - Billboard

"Our Favorite Latin Songs This Week"

Kate Vargas, "7 Inches"

Kate Vargas lives in New York, but she is originally from New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. But the translated "Tierra del Encanto" is a better reflection of Vargas' music because encanto reflects the possibilities of a deeper spiritual or even supernatural tinge.

"7 Inches" from June is a great introduction to Vargas' raggedly delicate vocals and the kind of sonic landscape that conjures other worlds. Her poetic lyricism is rooted in the folklore and storytelling of that area where the landscape oozes a sense of magical possibilities. Vargas pulls us in on what may be her most complete musical statement to date. Her album For The Wolfish & Wandering will be released on July 27. — Felix Contreras - NPR

"Kate Vargas Drops “Rise The Moon” and Sends Chills Down Your Spine"

Friday is a day that everyone can always look forward to.

Kate Vargas just gave you another reason why today is awesome. Vargas dropped an acoustic version of her song “Rise The Moon” and it will be sure to capture your full attention. The singer connects with the music on an emotional level that will take listeners on a wild ride and back. There is an unlimited amount of potential in this superstar on the rise. I am proud to announce the premiere of Vargas’ video of “Rise The Moon” below. - The Huffington Post


New York’s own outlaw indie folk/rock queen Kate Vargas released her album Strangeclaw today. We’re big fans of the unique sound she has provided through her 8-track release, and so we’ve got a little rundown of the whole thing. (P.S. You can stream it here too.)

“Second Skin” begins the album at a steady clip, and you’re immediately drawn in by Vargas’ interesting, rasp-ridden vocals. There’s no mistaking the “outlaw” claim on her work, as it’s got an undeniable vintage, wild west feel to it. “Who Knew What” begins slowly, as if the guitar is feeling out its sound space. Then it speeds up, as if the song itself is throwing its preconceived notions into the air. The chorus of this song could easily be placed in a pop song, and sounds similar to a Meghan Trainor piece, although we wouldn’t claim it as such. “Rise The Moon” takes its place in the third slot on Strangeclaw as a slow stunner, and Vargas’ affinity for utilizing her entire vocabulary becomes ever-more alluring.

“Bella Tell” is more instrumentally layered than its predecessors, a production of sorts from the beginning. Yes, she does sing “just a snakeskin Sally in an evening gown” and “you’re better off if you let me go” in her well laid out narrative of a badass woman. “12:31” is less notable, a song that deals with matters of the heart, but the sixth track is easily one of our favorites. “Call Back The Dogs” is slower, and feels much more raw in its simplicity. “Takes a little bit of prowess and a whole lot of luck” to stumble upon something this gorgeous in your lifetime, and we’ve found solace in this new release.

If you’re looking for a more seductive track, “Good Stuff” is what you’re yearning for. Besides the fact that the title already suggests what we don’t need to explain, the song approaches at a slow clip. If it’s possible, Vargas’ voice becomes even more breathy as she sings about karma in a roundabout way. “Sure enough, you’re gonna get what you need / And you may get the good stuff / I hope I get the good stuff / You could take the good stuff, baby, but you’re never gonna get what you want from me” is claim enough that a song can be sexy without the intent to be so. “In The Dust” rounds out the 8-track album, bringing it all back to the roots with a more folk sound to its instrumentals. This track reminds us of Vargas’ range – as if we could forget – and is the musical version of an afternoon sprawled out across fresh cut grass, caressed by the warmth of the sun.

A lot of this album is. And that’s pretty cool with us. - Impose Magazine

"Americana Outlaw Kate Vargas Sings The Blues On “Call Back the Dogs”"

New York based, New Mexico bred Kate Vargas is releasing a new track, “Call Back the Dogs,” that showcases her unique and gritty combination of rock, blues and folk and snakes back to her Southwestern roots. Vargas was greatly influenced by vocalists Tom Waits and Nina Simone, and after graduating from the Berklee College of Music she followed in the footsteps of many great musicians before her, and headed for New York City to start her solo career.

“Call Back the Dogs” shines in showing off Vargas’ raspy vocals and southwestern style. Her lyrics paint the young singer/songwriter as an unapologetic badass, as she sings, “Breaking it down just to build it back up/Takes a little bit of prowess and whole lotta luck,” and later, “Don’t you be expecting me at all/‘cause you and I have been sniffing around like two hounds in the fog.” Vargas already has the chops of a far more seasoned songwriter, which makes it hard to believe that she has only been at it for a short time. Vargas is definitely a dynamic addition to any musicians-to-watch list. - Elmore Magazine

"Live Review of Kate Vargas at Saucy Sundays in Dublin"

As soon as this New Mexican artist began singing we were enamoured. There is a gravelly tone to her voice that is scintillating to hear.
(see link for full review)
...It was a brilliant performance to see in fact. - Unsigned and Independent Magazine

"A Noteworthy NYC Storyteller: Kate Vargas"

There doesn't seem to be very much that singer-songwriter-storyteller Kate Vargas is too afraid to reveal. Listen as her tales of love ('If You Lose Me') and the devil ('Throw the Devil Back') weave their way through a riotous brew of folk, blues and rock, delivered by an undeniably unique voice, and arrangements that sound old timey but - at a close listen - are not. It's like the sound of a favorite bourbon come to life: gritty, but with loads of personality to spare. Check out fave track (and also title track) from debut record 'Down To My Soul' below, and check her out when she announces new dates soon. - The Deli Magazine

"Hey NYC, Get Off Your Asses And Go See These Shows in August"

Kate Vargas hails from Albuquerque and masterfully assimilated her southwestern storytelling into a medley of blues guitar, bass lines and faint banjo pluckings. It’s her throaty rock vocals, though, aged far beyond their actual years, that pierces through it all -- drawing you in for more. - The Bluegrass Situation


For The Wolfish & Wandering - released July 2018

Strangeclaw - released September 2016

Down To My Soul- released February 2014



A reformed wild child, in recent years Kate Vargas has traded the party for meditation, yoga, clean eating and a renewed focus on what she values most—her music. The New Mexico-raised, NYC-based artist is building ever more mindfully on her sound, and the music press is taking notice, Vargas receiving praise from a variety of respected outlets including Billboard, NPR, Noisey, and the Huffington Post, the latter assessing, “There is an unlimited amount of potential in this superstar on the rise.”Vargas has packed houses from Ireland’s Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival to The Troubadour in London, The Mansion on O Street in Washington D.C. to New York’s Bowery Electric. Her most recent album, For The Wolfish & Wandering), features her singular folk-style storytelling. The songs are grounded in a darkly melodic, reverb-washed sonic palette of dreampop, dusty folk and junkyard blues, all carried by Vargas’ rough-hewn vocals and guitar playing. In equal measure, she channels a surprising array of artists, from Tom Waits and 16 Horsepower to Lana Del Rey and K. Flay.

Band Members