Interview: Calico Cat
Published on May 21st, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Taking time out from his day band Haunted Stereo, Andy Harris released Reverie, his debut EP as Calico Cat, at the start of this month. Rocksucker fired him over some questions to find out a little bit more about the operation – but first, please do acquaint yourself with the EP’s laid-back ‘n’ lyrical pop charms by listening to it here…
What is the line-up of Calico Cat? How long have you been making and performing music for?
It works a bit like The Divine Comedy or The Lemonheads in that it’s basically my solo project where I have other musicians perform and record with me. I had lots of label mates perform on the EP, but the live line-up consists of Danny Silvestri on drums and Ben Jennings on violin/keyboard, who are both in my main band Haunted Stereo. My friend Dan Kennedy from work plays bass. I worked on the EP mainly in late 2011 and early 2012. We have been gigging since late 2011.
How would you describe your music, if pushed?
I am happy to call it alternative pop. I aspire to create likeable melodic music without being cheesy like some musical heroes including Belle and Sebastian, The Magnetic Fields and Elliot Smith.
Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?
The act is based in Southampton. I have my own home recording set-up which 95% of the record was recorded with. Richard Lomax of Johnny5thWheel&thecowards provided some backing vocals to a track called “The Voice” which he recorded with his equipment and emailed over to me.
Are you signed to a label? If so, how did you come to their attention?
Calico Cat is signed to Sotones Records. I am already with Sotones being in Haunted Stereo, and the label is jointly ran by the artists involved, so when I said I wanted to do a side project it was a formality that it
was going to be on Sotones really.
Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like!)
I have really enjoyed doing the EP and the guys in the live band are keen to do more, so I am just starting to write material for an album. I’m hoping I can record it all in time to release in early 2013.
Where can we hear your music online?
Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?
We put on a Sotones gig in Southampton that Calico Cat performed at, in a great little pub/venue called the Bent Brief back in March. The place was completely packed and the bar sold out of three different beers! That was a really fun night, a reminder – should we need one – of how much fun live music can be. Our first London show was also a nice moment.
Got any more coming up? (Gigs, that is…)
Right this minute we haven’t got anything booked. I am very busy with Haunted Stereo developing a new set which we will be taking out live soon, and with another project I am part of – Anja McCloskey.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
All the acts on Sotones (www.sotones.co.uk) are well worth a listen. But the two local bands I am most excited about at the moment are Etao Shin and Woven Bird.
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
Cor that’s not easy! I guess I would have to choose five artists that have a large selection of quality music, so I have as much music as possible! So I’ll go for The Beatles, Neil Young, Radiohead, Joni Mitchell and if I need a break from all the pop and rock I’d also take Tchaikovsky.
Andy Harris, thank you.