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.
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.
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.