Catbite - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Catbite. We discussed their thoughts on their debut album, the second vinyl pressing of the album, songwriting, how music has influenced them and how they found their sound, how the sense of community is helping fans find ska bands, what’s coming up for the band this year, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Tim: No, thank you! Sorry I totally forgot to respond for like a month. 😅

You just announced a second vinyl pressing of your debut album. How did you come up with the variants for this pressing?

Tim: We did! When we originally released the record back in 2019 we wanted to have everything associated with the record to fall into the same color palette of pink, yellow, black, and white. It’s kinda the colors we thought represented the album’s vibe the most. So actually our label, Bad Time Records, picked out the variant and we were like oh yeah that fits the vibe and is different from the original 1st pressing variants, so works for us!

The album has had some good longevity with listeners. Have you been pleased with the response? What are your thoughts about it looking back now?

Tim: Oh yeah, we are in awe at how well the album was received right off the bat! We were barely a band when we recorded it and kind of rushed into the recording process but based on the response I’m glad we did it like we did.

Chris: I’m super proud of the way that record came out considering how quickly we recorded it and how young of a band we were at the time. The band was only 6 months old at that point. I’m stoked that people are still finding it now and that people are continuing to listen to it!

Brit: I’m sooo happy and honored that people responded the way they have to our first album. It’s already been said, but that album def happened pretty quickly for us and I think even with the kind of rushed process of it we made something really special and something I’m so extremely proud of. I feel like now when I think about it, it all fell in place exactly how it was supposed to and with the best group of people I could ever imagine making music with.

I really like your sound and I really think your band has something special. What inspires you musically? How did you find your way into music and to your sound?

Tim: Thank you! Most of us have been really into ska music since we were kids and have been playing in ska adjacent bands for the past decade. The scene is great and when we formed the band we had decided we wanted it to be a ska band but with heavy influences of all of the other types of music that we all listen to. I personally am really into things such as powerpop and old school punk, but we also throw a lot of soul, jazz and early rock and roll vibes into it as well. By pulling from all of our influences without settling on one concrete sound it developed the “Catbite Sound”.

Chris: I definitely agree with Tim, our mindset from our inception was to play and make the music we wanted to hear and not get caught up in “we’re a “ska” band or a “punk” band or a ”reggae” band” etc. If a song or a part sounds good to us then we play it.

Brit: I’ve been singing and performing since I was probably 5 in malls and assisted living homes and ramada hotels when my dad would dj at the pool HAHA music has always been my main passion and goal in life. I then eventually studied music in college and graduated with a degree in jazz voice. I think what inspires me most in regards to our sound is that although we all enjoy a lot of the same music I think we all are still very unique it the way music we love has influenced us and it’s really helped to give us a more original and authentic “catbite” sound.

What’s your overall writing process like? Do you usually start with lyrics or music?

Tim: Brit (our singer) and I usually start the songwriting process by bringing either a lyric hook or a melody to the table then build a basic skeleton of a song around that. Once it has its bare bones we make a rough demo and bring it to the rest of the band where we just wing it a bunch of times as a full band until something cool happens and it becomes a song. We have a great band relationship where everyone is always contributing and throwing in their own ideas. Every song is completely a group effort and it’s great!

Have you been working on any new music? Is there any chance that you’ll release an album or EP this year?

Tim: Oh yeah babyyyy!! At the beginning of the pandemic we decided it was time for a new album. We wrote and arranged a whole album in several months and then flew out to LA to record our sophomore album. We just got the masters for it and it sounds SO SICK. Expect a release mid 2021!

There has been somewhat of a ska revival with bands like The Interrupters, Bite Me Bambi, and more getting a lot of interest. Your band is also part of that and you feature some elements from the genre. Who are you listening to right now? Do you feel like there is a ska revival happening?

Tim: Ska definitely never went away, but it definitely appears like it got a lot more organized and the scene has become a lot more tight knit in the past few years. A huge part of that is through our friend Jeremy who is behind the Skatune Network project. They have really brought the genre into the focus of a lot of people who might not have cared or have been aware. Also the birth of Bad Time Records (thanks Mike!) has had a huge part, in addition to bands like The Interrupters who have definitely had an effect on it as well. There’s so many bands who we love and are friends with that all have contributed, I don’t even know where to start! As for who I’m listening to right now, as far as ska related, there's a lot of great new stuff from: Kill Lincoln, The Best of the Worst, Matamoska, JER (Skatune Network), The Bandulus, Los Skagaleros, Grey Matter, The Far East, The Bruce Lee Band.. honestly this list could keep going for another paragraph lol. Long story short, there's a bunch of good good shit out and even more on the way.

If so, what do you think it is about the genre that may be causing this revival?

Tim: I think what’s causing this awareness is the outspokenness of these bands bringing light to the scene and constantly hyping each other up. I think the sense of community within the scene is what’s causing people to be attracted to it so much lately. Also all these newer bands are so good and diverse!

Brit: I agree w Tim !! I think that this genre compared to others has a much more open and uplifting community of people who are excited for their friends in these bands or even people that are just friggin happy for bands to be making music that means something and is fun and danceable. It’s music that makes you feel good and I think it permeates thru the ska community.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Tim: You’re welcome! It’s super hard for musicians right now during the pandemic, so if there’s a band you like, make sure you’re supporting them by being active on their social media, listen to them on streaming sites, and grab some merch or physical copies of their releases if you can! It really goes a long way and keeps bands like us chugging along.

Brit: Thank you to anyone who has supported us and gave us a listen and I hope you know how much we love y’all and are so grateful !!!

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