Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baker's Dozen: Interview with Summer Cats

This is the third installment of A Baker's Dozen, a series on Write.Click.Cook.Listen, in which I interview a Write.Click.Cook.Listen certified artist asking them thirteen questions. Recently I interviewed (via email) Hugh, a member of Summer Cats. Their song "Hey You, It's Me (Oh My)" appeared on our Is it in roux mix?

TB: What does the current lineup for the Summer Cats look like?
Hugh of Summer Cats: Scott S, Scott B, Irene, Julia, and me (Hugh). Jeremy from the Zebras filled in on drums on our recent US Tour. We here at Summer Cats highly recommend the Zebras!
TB: Your newest video, Super, includes a man with a dog painted face, two dancers dressed in black, a cat in a briefcase, and lots of driving. Why did you choose these particular characters and scenes for the video?
HoSC: The video was done by a friend of Scott B - Andy- who is from Melbourne but now resides in London. We left the clip totally in his hands and he went above and beyond the call of duty. We have no massive desire to star in our own videos; we'd rather put young and attractive people in our clips to fool people into thinking the Summer Cats are young and attractive people! On that account the video works really well!

A video to "In June" is to follow. Again, we have no idea how it's going to turn out; we just put our faith in budding film makers and hope for the best.
TB: On July 14th you released Songs for Tuesdays, your first full length album. How was the creation of this release different than the EP's and splits that you previously released? How was it similar?
HoSC: Well, we had a lot more time to polish and do overdubs on the album - but the basic tracks were all done in the usual bang-em-out style. Also there was more attention paid to getting better sounds especially with the keys.
TB: On the press release for Songs for Tuesdays, located at the Slumberland Records website, it is suggested that the Summer Cats play "upbeat pop songs in a Sterolab-meets-Go-Betweens style." Is that a comparison your band crafted? How would you describe your sound?
HoSC: I use that description all the time which is totally lazy but still somewhat accurate. I'd describe the Summer Cats sound as being unlike anything you've heard before, yet familiar and comfortable...and like Stereolab meets the Go-Betweens.
TB: The cover art on Songs for Tuesdays is very bright, vivid, and full of...birds. Who created this cover art and why did you choose it to adorn your album?
HoSC: Julia our super talented drummer did the artwork. It's rather fetching, even if I do say so myself. Why did we choose it? Only Julia can answer that.
TB: Songs for Tuesdays has nearly cracked the top fifty at CMJ's top 200 chart (as of the interview the album rested at 50). Do you put much stock in music charts?
HoSC: It's quite flattering, I suppose. I take it being in the top 50 is a biggish sorta deal. I guess what we're all hoping for in the band is that Mike, who runs Slumberland, will recoup his costs from putting our album out. So if airplay helps sell a few records then that makes us all very happy.
TB: A lot of the album reviews that I have read, reference the length of the album (33 minutes for 13 songs). Why do you think this is? Do you have a specific philosophy about song length?
HoSC: I like songs that don't wear out their welcome...and albums for that matter. Releasing an album in 2009 where most songs are only two or two-and-a-half minutes each seems rather a refreshing idea. Some people seem confused by it.
TB: Summer Cats recently spent some time touring California. What was the reaction of the US audience?
HoSC: I found US audiences to be more prone to dancing which is good. I think it helped that we were playing really well. There have certainly been some disastrous Melbourne shows over the years which haven't exactly enamored us to local audiences although I think people are slowly coming around to us.
TB: What are the Summer Cats planning for the rest of the year?
HoSC: We've still got to release Songs for Tuesdays locally so that's our main priority.
TB: One of my favorite places to go see a show was this old bowling alley that was turned into a venue. Do you have a favorite venue to perform at?
HoSC: I actually think the house party we played in Seattle on our recent tour was super fun. Apart from that, any venue with a generous rider gets our tick of approval.
TB: What is the Australian music scene like? Any bands we need to know about?
HoSC: Melbourne's always got a lot going on. My hot tips are the Zebras, Milk Teddy, the Motifs, Treetops, Crayon Fields, and Popolice...I could go on.
TB: Do Summer Cats get a chance to do any cooking? Any unique recipes that you would like to share with our readers?
HoSC: Does vegemite and toast count as a unique recipe?
TB: Any parting words of wisdom?
HoSC: Nope.

To further investigate Summer Cats visit their MySpace Page here. To purchase Songs for Tuesdays go here. Here is the new video for "Super."

Their first video ever, "Lonely Planet", off of their Lonely Planet seven inch, limited edition, single, released last year on Cloudberry Records.