Heels & Picks: Style with Mano Kane
BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Kate Saari Greennagel has my favorite social media profile name, perhaps of all time.
While a moniker like this lands squarely within the sweet spot for my personal sense of humor, the name pretty much sums her up. Sassy, funny, sharp, chill, glam — yet also a bit of a tomboy.
(Truth be told, it’s nearly impossible to be a female musician without having a tomboy edge. I could talk about that all day.)
When I met Kate, oddly enough, only hours before we performed together for the first time at The Republik, I was struck immediately by her style and assertive, feminine way of carrying herself. Leather jacket, skinny jeans, blond hair done up 1950’s pinup style, yet not in such a way that it was a straight throwback. She integrated the style into a modern look all her own.
This was not the first time I’d seen Kate – my boyfriend and I had caught her band, Mano Kane, during their opening set for southern rock roof-raisers Alabama Shakes. The night we officially met, she was rehearsing as part of my band, a position she currently holds as one of two amazing female synth/keys players who also sing backing vocals. She is extremely talented, and both her and Cassie Fillhart (the other keys gal in my crew) are a lot of fun to be around.
I’m lucky. Girls in the band, let alone COOL girls in the band are a rarity, and Kate and Cassie are pure awesome.
As far as style goes, I love quirky pieces and mixing and matching unexpected elements in an outfit. Kate shares my fondness for this type of thing. She also shares my affinity for whiskey, but let’s just stick to fashion for now, okay?
I checked in with Kate, who has been clocking countless hours in the studio working on Mano Kane’s upcoming album, to talk about her inspirations and evolution for stage and her own personal style.
ERIN SMITH: Best outfit ever worn onstage?
KATE SAARI GREENNAGEL: Probably my Jawbreaker dress from onedirectionclothing.com. Or my Hellbunny Vixen dress. Both have a classic retro look which works with Mano Kane’s image, they’re sexy and safe to wear (and by safe I mean there’s not much chance I’ll accidentally expose myself onstage).
I love wearing my Porkpie Hatters Panama hat onstage! For fancier venues, I have a couple Bebe dresses that have a retro-cut style to them.
ES: Worst outfit ever worn onstage?
KSG: At one time, I wore an outfit someone else picked out for me that just didn’t feel like myself in, and I feel like it affected my performance as a result.
ES: What’s your current style inspiration?
KSG: Makeup and hair: Brigit Bardot, Grace Kelly, Gwen Stefani.
Clothes: general 50′s and 60′s inspired dress. I also like the classic rock n roll outfit (leather jacket, jeans, etc).
ES: How as your style evolved?
KSG: I started out with jeans, heels, hot top under a leather jacket with Panama hat and I still love this old standard.
Once Mano Kane started thinking about a “band image,” I looked into some of those retro dresses I mentioned before.
ES: How does your style evolution reflect your sound evolution?
KSG: Mano Kane’s sound went from a pop sound to a heavier rock, somewhat blues-inspired sound, and with that came fewer T-shirts and sneakers, and more jackets, button-down shirts and shiny shoes.
ES: Most practical tour outfit?
KSG: Something you don’t have to wash after every show. Probably jeans and a sweat-resistant shirt. Sturdy or flat boots/shoes so you can hoof it and lug gear.
ES: How about for the studio?
KSG: Jeans (most comfy bottoms), sweater (every studio I’ve been in is freezing for the benefit of the equipment), no earrings (they hurt like hell after wearing headphones all session).
I wanna be as comfortable as possible so nothing distracts me from doing the best I can while I’m in there.
ES: You do a fantastic job on your own hair and makeup for stage. Best makeup and hair tips for stage?
KSG: Again, nothing that’s gonna distract you while performing. I’m ok with my hair and makeup falling, melting, and getting into my eyes as long as I can keep playing. That’s the rock aspect of it, no?
ES: False eyelashes. Can or no can?
KSG: No can.
ES: Favorite local hair and makeup artist for special occasions or when you can afford it?
KSG: Have only had the pleasure of a hair and makeup artist once and it was amazing. so I would have to say Dhyana Leung
ES: She did the hair and makeup for a video we recently shot for my solo work! Wardrobe malfunctions onstage. Had any?
KSG: I’ve had a couple with zippers that don’t stay zipped, one outfit that turned out to be see-through, and some that detract from the music. I try not to repeat these.
ES: Inspirational style icons for your personal style?
KSG: Brigit Bardot, Grace Kelly, Gwen Stefani, Scarlet Johansson, Marilyn Monroe, Janice Joplin.
ES: I love Brigit Bardot and Gwen Stefani too! Your band, Mano Kane, is just wrapping up a full-length album. Tell us about that?
KSG: Tuesday the 17th is scheduled to be our last day of recording! We hope to have CDs in hand by the end of February. The backing tracks were recorded live (drums, bass, guitars and keys in the same room), and vocals were recorded together live. The reasoning was to capture the energy and sound of our live shows.
We want to have a CD release party, but we’re not sure where or when yet. Stay tuned for announcements! Go to our Facebook or Reverbnation pages to check out our show schedule, or add us on Bandsintown.
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.