Q&A Scene: Cat Canteri

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?
I spent a lot of time touring with my band over 2014/2015. Our sound had become edgier…as it will when you’re playing in bars for three hours a night. My vocal style had evolved a lot too and I’d started playing electric slide (guitar)… I really wanted to capture what the band was doing live, and I wanted the whole process to be quick, intuitive and above all, fun. There were a handful of songs that had become staples of the live set, which had originally been recorded and performed by my other band The Stillsons, but as a result of all the touring they’d become almost unrecognisable to the original renditions…. The chords and words remained the same but the ‘feel’ and melody changed. I thought they’d be the prefect fodder to take into the studio, particularly because I didn’t feel precious about these songs as that’d been recorded years prior, and with a different band… it was a newfound freedom.

[pullquote]I’ve been writing a lot over the summer so I’ve got a swag of new songs I’m keen to record, hopefully that will happen at the end of the year. [/pullquote]We went into the studio with my good friend Jeff Lang behind the wheel. Jeff has a great studio in Melbourne where I’d spent a lot of time recording with other songwriters over the last year or so (Jed Rowe, Alison Ferrier, Justin Bernasconi), so I already felt really at home in the space.

The EP was recorded over two days. The original plan was to track everything live on the first day and spend the second day re-tracking my vocals. But the day before we went in to record I decided to lay all the vocals down live. So I wound up spending the second day over-dubbing some guitar solos for kicks.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?
That’s kinda of hard you know. I feel pretty proud of all the recording projects I’ve been involved in over time, my own included.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
My band The Stillsons were over in Adelaide doing some shows, we’d just finished our gig at The Wheatsheaf and went to met up with our friends The Good Ship at a pub near by called The Squatters Arms. There was a metal band playing, when they finished they had a performance artist come on stage that was doing some bizarre stuff like banging nails up his nose, stapling his scrotum, hanging a bowling ball from his penis. It was… pretty surreal.

Meanwhile a fight broke out between two women on the dance floor in front of the stage. On our way out we went through the car park and there were two couples having sex in a car.

That’s easily the strangest night on tour…. Ever.

What, or who, inspires you?
Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Ry Cooder, particularly albums from the early 70’s like Boomer’s Story and Live at Radio Ranch (live radio broadcast). I also really love Bonnie Raitt’s acoustic blues style. One album in particular, Bonnie Raitt & Lowell George with John Hammond Ultrasonic Studios 1972, again, a live radio broadcast. There’s this looseness and ease in the playing and the vocal approach on these records that I really love. I get a lot of energy and inspiration from my peers in the song writing/Alt country/ roots community here in Melbourne. There’s a real melting pot of musicians doing great work. I think having venues that endorse original music and well as strong community radio support and engagement plays a big factor in that.

Which song do you wish you wrote?
Love Has No Pride by Libby Titus and Eric Kaz. It was made famous by Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash and Rod Stewart also sang it. Bonnie Raitt’s rendition is how I first heard and fell in love with the song.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 
Hot chips with sauce, because I love hot chips with sauce.

What’s next for you?
I’ve got a few shows left on my tour, The Spotted Mallard this Sunday, Wolseley Wines down the surf coast, then Boolarra Folk Festival and Port Fairy Folk Festival. I’ve been writing a lot over the summer so I’ve got a swag of new songs I’m keen to record, hopefully that will happen at the end of the year.

What’s your scene?
Swimming at Warrandyte in the Yarra during summer. Swimming at the pool in the winter sunshine… hanging out, strumming a guitar in the living room, taking my dog for a long run.

About Cat Canteri

Cat Canteri - Late At Night (Online small)Cat Canteri is a true musician in the sense that she lives for the music, whether that be as the drummer (and founding member) of alt-country group The Stillsons; with Jed Rowe, Justin Bernasconi and Alison Ferrier’s bands – or more recently as a solo artist in her own right. Her role is to bring the music to life, give it a heartbeat and now, tell her own stories in song.

Raised in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Cat released three albums with The Stillsons, with Never Go Your Way being voted 2013 Country Album of the Year in the Rhythms magazine readers’ poll.

That success and respected work with other musicians inevitably led Cat to record her debut album When We Were Young (2014). The album shone a spotlight on her folk meets country meets indie rock style. Her songs documented real life situations and experiences – often with a brave, personal and candid honesty – framed, coloured and shaped by exquisite playing.

Now, in 2016, Cat has released her brand new EP Late At Night which captures both the vitality and intimacy of her live shows across six new songs. Recorded live to tape by Jeff Lang, its spirit was born from long hours spent singing and playing on the well-trodden stages of bars and clubs across Australia. The recording encapsulates the verve and passion Cat brings to her guitar playing and the depth of emotion she can convey in her songs. You can hear traces of The Pretenders,

Bonnie Raitt, Eleanor Friedberger and Ryan Adams filtered through the organic rock ’n’ roll of The Faces as she captures both the dash and brio of the live atmosphere and the melancholy of the late- night comedown.

“Whilst she has the vocal ability to take you to some really dark places,  she also has the freedom of expression to bring you back.  Similarly, whilst some of the songs have a vulnerability to them,  you never lose sight of the strength that’s needed to come back” Fatea Magazine UK


About Mandy Hall 932 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.

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