Chris Catalyst – Life Is Often Brilliant

Chris Catalyst talks about his new record Life Is Often Brilliant.

Read and find out what he has to say about ‘fame and fortune’, recording drums, managers, guitar techs, Bowie and The Tubes.

But if you haven’t heard the record yet, you better do some listening first because it is just great.

Especially if you like Elvis Costello, XTC, Oasis … you will be in for a treat.

 

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What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

 

Finishing it. I loved every second of making it, but it was a long, laborious task, which got a little lonely at times due to it being a solo pursuit (along with my intrepid producer pal Andy Hawkins).

Recording the drums was pretty special, though – I’d always wanted to play drums on a record, and it was a great way to get out of my comfort zone, which (as we all know) is where the fun stuff happens.

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

Honestly? These days I just write, and record, and have faith that it’s going to turn out okay. I’ve never written a song that I’m not proud of in some way, and I feel if I continue to apply the same quality control and meticulous standards that I’ve always done, then it will prove to be good. Or, at least, good enough.

The special bit came later when a small but perfectly formed bunch of people shelled out to buy it, and seemed to enjoy it.

Actually, I tell a lie, there was a point when we were mixing the song ‘Far’. We were looking at the second verse, and producer Andy and I came across a bunch of sampled drum loops (which was how I’d always imagined the album having a load of). We distorted the shit out of it and cut all the vocals up in that section… that was a real ‘that was the sound in my head’ moment.

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

I’ve never been a part of any music industry… luckily. The closest I’ve got is being a guitar tech for a couple of name bands, and seeing the schmoozing and bollocks first hand is equal parts boring and sickening.

A band I know recently sacked their sound guy because the manager told them to.

I couldn’t work in a world like that. I’ve been lucky to never had to sign a contract, never owed anyone a penny, but still managed to be self-sufficient, due to a combination of hard work and good fortune.

Not to mention that small but perfectly formed bunch of people I mentioned earlier.

 

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She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

This would change day to day but today it would be:

Kids In America – Kim Wilde

Electricity – Spiritualized

White Punks On Dope – The Tubes

Boys Keep Swinging – David Bowie

I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times – Beach Boys

I always like finishing with a ballad.

 

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

Success is defined and measured very differently by different people – and it seems my definition is at odds with a lot of my peers. I am not interested fame or fortune. So as long as I can get to bend my creative elbow, write some songs and enjoy myself with a bunch of my goodest friends, then that’ll do for me.

 

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Sitcom Neighbor – Shag

Power Pop perfection! John Murphy’s Sitcom Neighbor just released Shag, 11 songs that sound as fresh as they sound familiar. What a joy!

Murphy explains about the how and the why!

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last record?

The most fun I had was singing all the harmonies. There are a lot of lower harmonies so it was challenging. A close second would be watching Steve work on bass lines and the guitar solos. I’d put in my 2 cents of course but once it got going Steve was fun to watch!

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

I think once you’ve written a song that you feel good enough about that you want to record it, you think you have something special. Regardless I think we all go through the same 5 stages: This is great, I don’t know, this might be crap, this is ok I guess, and finally this is great (again)!

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

A lot of people talk about the money part of the music business, losing revenue to the free digital streams, etc. But for me it’s about the artist / producer shift. These days in the big leagues especially it’s all about the producers. They can take almost anybody and make a hit record. Back in the heyday of the sixties and seventies the artist was the focus. They had to come to the table with something to produce, which I think gave us a wider variety of music.

Producers tend to do the same thing over and over with different artists so there’s not as much variety, at least on traditional radio.

(Traditional radio, a whole other interview!l)

There is also the internet where, it could be argued, there’s too much variety!

Either way the music business hasn’t personally helped or hurt me as far as I know.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

With my current girl ( if I was a smart man and had been listening to her) it would have to be the following: 1.Q65- Get Out of My Life, Woman 2. Bob Dylan- Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat 3. Cramps- Goo Goo Muck 4. David Cassidy – Brown Eyes Your Beautiful 5. New York Dolls – Trash ( the new slower version to surprise her!)

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

Success? I can’t even spell that!

When I come up with a good song idea I feel successful, when I get a good recording of that song I feel successful, if I have enough songs that I can make a full record I feel successful and when I have the finished product in my hand, well lets be honest I’m exhausted and wiped out!!

Shag has felt successful to me do in large part to the response it has received from my fellow artists, many of whom I greatly admire. They’ve been very supportive and have helped me push this record a little bit, even setting up shows for me to play.

That support has led to more radio play and more reviews.

Of course everyone wants the traditional hit song and the money that comes with that.

Follow Sitcom Neighbor here

Buy here