Though many people know Kat Von D as a famous tattoo artist, makeup entrepreneur, designer, and animal rights activist, the 39-year-old former LA Ink star has broken into the music industry with her debut album "Love Made Me Do It" (released on Aug. 27, 2021).
On the album which was ten years in the making, Kat collaborated with legendary artists Dave Grohl (Nirvana and Foo Fighters), Linda Perry, Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails), and more to craft 12 tracks that are a beautiful blend of synth-pop sounds and emotionally honest lyrics to tell her complete story of love, loss, and eventually death.
Distractify spoke exclusively with the recording artist who opened up about losing herself in love, penning the emotional tracks while looking inward, before ultimately re-emerging with a new outlook.
Check out our Q&A below. (Editor's note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Kat Von D talks past relationships and finding herself in debut album "Love Made Me Do It"
Distractify: I just want to talk about the title of the album, "Love Made Me Do It". It’s such a bold statement because love can make us feel powerful but at times, crazy. What does that title mean for you?
Kat Von D: I think that love is capable of inspiring us to do these beautiful, brilliant things. It can inspire you to write an album or to better yourself. But it can also make you do some crazy, stupid stuff. I think the reason I titled it that was because I wrote this at a time when I was pretty co-dependent in relationships. That was dysfunctional, to say the least. But you know, saying something like, 'Oh, well, love made me do it,' it almost like is kind of a cop-out, instead of taking accountability for what we do; it's easy just to blame an outside force.
It's kind of like, tipping my hat to a time where I was a little bit less stable than I am now. But, I think there's something beautiful and romantic about that. And, you know, the sacrifices that we make for things and people we love.
While working on these songs, did it stir up past emotions or is it easier to process because you are now on the other side of it?
KVD: I have grown up so much since I've written this album, you know, 10 years is a long time. We would hope that we would mature as people in our lives within that time frame. Sometimes I listen to songs, like "I Am Nothing," for example, it's like, it's a pretty vulnerable song, but at some point, it was quite pathetic. Although I still love singing the song, and I still understand it and can relate to it, I'm no longer that person. I don't feel unworthy of love or unworthy of somebody loving me back ... I don't feel that same way. I mean, when I sing the songs, I know exactly what they're about. I know who that they are about. But I just don't feel the same way about that person or myself.
"I Am Nothing" is such a powerful and emotional track. Can you talk more about writing that song and where you were emotionally?
KVD: I'm not the only person that's experienced this type of feeling like, somehow not measuring up or being inadequate ... It's easy for us to look at ourselves and be like, 'what am I doing wrong?' When in reality it might not be you, it might be the situation or the person. But I think at the same time that the song still has somewhat of a glimmer of hope, you know. One thing I've learned through my heartbreaks and stuff is that I never want to be that jaded person. I still believe in love. Maybe I used to be a hopeless romantic and now more of a hopeful romantic, but I'm okay with believing in that fairy tale and holding on to it. Sometimes that makes us break our own hearts, you know, with the expectations of things that maybe aren't as realistic as they could be.
I don't have any regrets. Although some of the heartbreak I've experienced is pretty painful, I wouldn't have set myself up for success in love with the person that I'm with now, if it wasn't for that.
The album is an entire story from top to bottom which ends with "The Calling," this sort of reemergence of yourself. So, how did you find yourself again?
KVD: I wanted to end the album on "The Calling" because that song is really about death, and acceptance of, you know, the fact that life isn't forever. And sometimes that's even more important than love, but we tend to kind of microscopically infuse ourselves into our little situations, and that becomes our entire world. I mean I feel like I've spent most of my time on the floor, and it wasn't until a certain relationship a couple of years back that was so disruptive and so hurtful ... I was with somebody that cheated on me with over 20 different people in a span of a year. I really had to look at myself in the mirror and go, 'Hey, like, it's not you. You know there's nothing wrong with you. Somebody else has an issue and it shouldn't reflect on you feeling inadequate.'
I haven't dated that many people, but the guys that I have dated, if you were to put them all in the same room, the lineup would just look like, none of them would look the same. It's not like I have a certain type, my type was seeking out men that just didn't love me and me chasing them and hoping that one day they would. So at that point, I just said, 'What is the recurring theme here?' And the recurring theme is me.
That's when I decided to be celibate for a good few years ... It sounds cliche, but like, I read a lot of books and went to therapy. And it wasn't until after that, that I really felt that I actually grew. I think I dated two more a--holes before my husband. But at least those were very short-lived.
Kat Von D kicks off her "Love Made Me Do It" tour starting Sept. 21.