A Chat with CATALYSTS (31.12.21)

Reputed for their eclectic sound, South Wales group CATALYSTS fuse alternative rock, punk rock and electronic synths in a boundary-breaking style. We speak with guitarist Elliot Blake about their EP Sparks, favourite tracks, future plans and favourite seasons.

OSR: What drew you to music?

BLAKE: When I was 9/10 years old I used to stay over at my best mate’s house on the weekends. His mother was a bit of a rocker and going through a divorce at the time. We would raid her spirits cupboard when she was out and play her records, one of which was Appetite for Destruction. I can’t articulate how that record made me feel at that age, but I knew instantly when I played it to my parents and my dad counted all the “fucks” on a car journey once. It disgusted them and I loved that and continued my obsession for loud and outrageous guitar music.

OSR: What is the backstory to your EP Sparks?

BLAKE: I mean, does everything really need a backstory? We’re just five guys who try to write fucking great songs with strong melodies and hooks. We all come from the South Wales explosion of music “scene” and we live for creating music together. Sparks is essentially a culmination output of necessity to deal with everyday shit and have an outlet of release. Some people go to the gym, others play games online, we make great fucking music!

OSR: Did you face any challenges when writing and recording Sparks?

BLAKE: Sure, every day is a challenge between working 9-5 and finding the time to complete songs/recordings and fucking Covid restrictions. We recorded this EP in isolation, like distanced so only the engineer and two members were present. It wasn’t ideal for us but we did what had to be done to fight our way through the guidance and restrictions to do it safely.

OSR: What do you hope people take from the EP?

BLAKE: Whatever they choose to people can either listen and like it or decide it’s not grime or heavy enough or whatever. The reality is that we aren’t fitting into a mould or have some super huge PR machine or label pushing shit for us. What you hear is us and only us. We make everything, pay for everything and produce everything ourselves. We’re lucky to have the right friends around us to help us facilitate but it’s DIY. If people engage with the music and the sound that’s a bonus to us and I hope they take it as something that can mean something to them on their own terms.

OSR: Do you have a favourite track from the EP?

BLAKE: My personal favourite is ‘You Got No Soul’, but I know we all have very different favourite tracks. I like ‘You Got No Soul’ because of how effortless it came together and how great the riff is. Although, to be honest, we’ve all moved on to our newer stuff and anyone in a band will tell you your favourite track is always the next one you have written. 😄

OSR: What about a least favourite?

BLAKE: Fuck off, they’re all class!!! 😂

OSR: You released a music video for the single ‘Sparks’. What can you tell us about it?

BLAKE: So all our videos are filmed and edited by @louisalonzi (Instagram). We work with him to try and realise a vision, he’s a friend and does it all completely free. We’re all on this artistic journey and learning stuff as we go. ‘Sparks’ was the latest we worked together on and he wanted to use some iconic places subtly in the video. We used the Severn Bridge and a car park overlooking the Newport Transporter bridge.

OSR: What is your favourite season?

BLAKE: Summer. I’m a Leo (August baby).

OSR: What are your future plans as CATALYSTS?

BLAKE: Well, we have a gig in Bristol on the 23rd January providing Boris doesn’t fuck that over. Then, try to get more shows and finish our next run of songs which are bigger, better, harder and heavier.

OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?

BLAKE: Thank you. If you go check us out, like and follow us on any platform you like to use. Secondly, if you’re a creative, go and be creative and don’t give a fuck what others say or think of what you do. Just be you!!

Thank you to CATALYSTS for speaking with us. For more from CATALYSTS check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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