Scratching an itch

Minneapolis-based artist Itch Princess releases new record.

Joe Cristo

Katelyn Farstad is already a celebrated Minneapolis drummer. Now her solo project, Itch Princess, has her stepping into the spotlight. 

Beginning in 2009, Farstad primarily performs and records alone. 

“Usually I play all the instruments on everything,” Farstad said. “But on my most recent album there is some great improvised playing from three talented musicians.”

Nailing down Itch Princess’ sound is hard, since originality is paramount, but Farstad lists influences like the eclectic Erykah Badu, ’80s electronic group Skinny Puppy and classics like Kate Bush.

“I like songs that emit darkness and light at the same time,” Farstad said. “I think of my songs as experimental drudge ballads. In the future, though, I would love to incorporate more live drums.”

Farstad released her first album, “The Yeast Infection Connection,” when she was studying abroad in Germany. At first, she was a tenderfoot of musical pursuits.

“I’ve since become more serious,” Farstad said. “If you can believe that.”

Eventually, Itch Princess started focusing on translating its warbly, chaotic sound to the stage. Farstad played her first show alone at the Hexagon Bar.

“I might’ve been in the corner the whole time,” Farstad said. “I started performing solo to deal with social anxiety in a more direct way.”

Since Farstad is the sole member of Itch Princess, she writes all of the music. She describes the process as being similar to creating a collage.

“Usually it starts with either an acoustic drum kit or some beats,” Farstad said. “And then I tack down some little melody and then start layering different instruments.”

The ability to sequence a wide array of sounds without playing the instruments live is crucial; this creative decision allows Farstad’s presence to remain mobile and fluid.

Farstad’s inexperience with writing and singing is an element that she finds vital to the project’s core intentions.

“For me, the purpose has been to answer the question, ‘If I made solo music, what would it sound like?’” she said. “I’ve sought to transcribe that newness and unsureness the best that I can.”

During a period of three years, Itch Princess recorded its newest record, “MOODS IN ROOMS.” Farstad wrote, performed, recorded and produced the album with some help from her friend Joey Kujawa. The record was released in May.

“It was a slow process because being only a drummer up until this point meant I had to figure out interfaces and electronics,” Farstad said.

Once the record was complete, Farstad started looking for a label to put out physical copies.

“My friend Paul has put out 100 copies of ‘MOODS IN ROOMS’ on his label Speedboat Records,” Farstad said. “It’s a local label based out of St. Paul.”

Following the release of the band’s newest album, Itch Princess is looking to explore new mediums.

“I would love to make a music video,” Farstad said. “I also would want to play something like Lilith Fair or TRIP METAL. Somewhere where I don’t belong but people are trapped into watching me.”

Right now, Itch Princess is looking to do a second run of tapes for “MOODS IN ROOMS” this summer. The record itself mixes disparate genres and sounds and renders that chaos with dissonance and drones.