Friday 18 December 2015

Interview - Catholic Action

Catholic Action came to my attention earlier in the year after reading about them online a few times and seeing a load of posters around town advertising their shows. Around the same time I had discovered the band Poor Things thanks to their song No Way, Jose that was released on Gerry Loves Records.

I was checking them out when I discovered that the two bands paths crossed on a split cassette single on Fuzzkill Records, so I checked that out and was blown away by L.U.V by Catholic Action.

L.U.V came across as a mix of Franz Ferdinand and Teenage Fanclub - upbeat guitar pop with a sense of urgency and great feel to it. At under 2 minutes 30 seconds it was a great introduction to the band and it left me thirsty for more.

I caught them at the Wickerman Festival where they rammed the tent they were playing in at the end of the night; the two guitars sounded glorious and the band looked like they were having fun.

Catholic Action - Catching Up, live at Wide Days

I wish I could be better
I wish I could wish harder
Write another love song and fall in love again
Cause it makes you realise that you love her
Cause it makes you realise that you care

Catholic Action have definitely made a splash in 2015 through a series of releases on Fuzzkill Records; they have all sold out but you there is plenty to explore via their band camp page and via YouTube including a Tenement TV live session for L.U.V and this fantastic session (above) for Rage Music. The releases have led to brilliant support slots, tours, festivals, a growing fanbase and a real buzz.

I am a sucker for a love song and so, based on the evidence released to date, are Catholic Action.  So many of their songs are out and out love songs.....and they are brilliant. Totally heartfelt, played with real feeling, guitars, hooks and choruses to sing and lyrics to relate to.

Put your faith in a pop song
And grow your hair
Lets make a point of falling in love, again

Cause I wanna give myself to you
Wanna give myself to you

Catholic Action - The Shallows

Songs keep coming and I really look forward to an album, hopefully in 2016 but as long as Catholic Action keep playing, writing, recording and releasing I will be happy. With a home studio and bundles of energy, I think it is a safe bet that they will do just that - quite how long they stay on Fuzzkill Records is another question!

I was keen to find out more and singer and songwriter Chris was kind enough to answer some questions I emailed through to him.

Catholic Action are genuine, heartfelt, poppy, punky, soulful and true. Check them out and enjoy.

1. Tell us how you formed - where are you from, how do you know each other, how and why did you get together?

I'm from Erskine, it's a suburb just outside of Glasgow (in)famous for its rather large bridge. The other guys are from in and around Glasgow and Jamie is from Reading. I met Jamie and Ryan in high school and we played in a band together. I met Andrew when I was producing a record for his old band (that Jamie played in, coincidentally). 

The three of us were working on this really guitar heavy stuff at my home studio and we wanted to play it live. We're all good friends and very familiar musically, so it was a no brainer to get Andrew involved at that point. A very wise decision. He's a guitar wizard. 

2. You’ve achieved quite a lot in your first year as a band, what has been key to that? How much of it was planned?

Thank you. Our year has been a very pleasant surprise. We never expected anything like what has happened to us. As far as planning is concerned, we initially set out only to facilitate what we like doing most - making records in my home studio and playing them live. We definitely did not plan for the reaction it'd get, nor on how much it'd change things for the band.

The key to it all, I hope. Is that we make music people enjoy! 

3. What have you put out to date and do you have any releases in the pipeline?

Believe it or not, since last October we've released 10 tracks over 6 different cassettes on Fuzzkill Records: The Now 666 Compilation (Vol I & II), our November 2014 Tour Tape, our split tape with Poor Things, the Under The Covers Valentines Compilation and our single, The Real World. 

As for the pipeline, there'll be a lot of new music and firsts for you to wrap your ears/eyes around. 

4. What has been your best gig to date?

This year we've been lucky enough to have a few that might qualify for best gig.

Playing The Roundhouse in London with Swim Deep, or the 02 Academy with the Libertines. They were special gigs. There were also a few really memorable festival sets… Electric Fields and Wickerman really stand out. However, I think the winner by far has to be playing to a sold out Barrowlands supporting none other than Franz Ferdinand and Sparks (FFS). 

Not only is playing that venue a huge milestone for any Glasgow band, it was also supporting some true musical heroes of mine. Listen to everything Sparks made in the 1970s, seriously. It's incredible. 

I don't know if my favourite moment was actually playing on the stage, or watching Ron Mael play "This Town Ain't Big Enough…" from over his shoulder to a sea of beaming faces… However, I am certain I'll forget neither. 

Coming off the hallowed Barrowland stage

6. What are the bands influences? (musical or otherwise)

Life, maaaan. The thing we're dragged through it at an ever increasing pace. A slow erosion of friendships, values and beliefs in both yourself and everything (and everyone) around you. Guilt: Catholic and otherwise. One woman in particular. We're all a bit lonely now too, aren't we? The list goes on...

I think about these things (and other things) when I write. 

7. How do you write as a band?

It really depends on the mood of the day. I tend to write a lot at home and then take it to the band. Although sometimes, we'll work it up from scratch in the rehearsal room and other times, it'll just be a result of fooling around in a recording studio. I think it's very important to be flexible, it keeps things interesting. 

8. What other Scottish bands do you like?

The Bellybuttons, Spinning Coin and Psychic Soviets are the best bands in Scotland. 

9. What do you think of the Scottish music scene? What is good, what is challenging, what is missing?

My favourite thing about Glasgow in particular, is that the list I just gave you will probably be different if you ask me in a few weeks time. I don't know if it's the crossover with the art school, its rich musical history or just something in the air but there's always something interesting happening. The place is thronging with good bands and artists, all of whom create drastically different but equally valid music. Compare The Pooches and Antique Pony, or Golden Teacher and Elara Caluna and you'll know what I mean. It's a very healthy place creatively, if a little insular. There's a whole world out there, and a lot of this music deserves it. 


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