Formed in 2018 in Bristol, The Cat Magic is a UK indie-rock band with a rather eclectic approach to music. Fans of The War On Drugs, Tame Impala and Radiohead, the foursome combine indie-rock with a shoegaze sound. We had a chance to speak with founding members Laurence Matone and Alexei Hnatiw about their creative process, the new single ‘Dovetail Me’ and greatest fears.
OSR: How did The Cat Magic Come About?
Hnatiw: Laurence and I actually met when we were like 4 in infant school. Years later, we were reunited in a college art class and realised we’d spent those past 15 years playing music and obsessing over similar bands. We didn’t put two and two together until years later over a bottle of vodka and a drum kit (none of us played drums) in my parent’s box room. My brother, Stefan was back from uni at the time and had been learning bass in secret. Turns out he’d nailed it super quick and took it upon himself to keep us in time. It clicked.
Laurence confessed that he’d been recording all these cool demos over the years and we agreed to bring them to life as a band. Drummer auditions turned into studio time, which turned into tangible releases and shows. The current lineup fell together when the three of us met Adam and Hugo during the recording of ‘Dovetail Me’. Some things haven’t changed. Stefan still learns things very quickly and keeps us in check.
OSR: What is the backstory behind ‘Dovetail Me’?
Matone: The song came about in November last year. All I can remember is that the weather was rainy, windy, dark and generally atrocious. The idea I had recorded started taking on an eerie demonic vibe which was cool. Around the same time I’d also bought a tremolo pedal for a joke, but then started to really get into it, especially maxing out the wave rate. I always liked the physical concept of something being dovetailed and thought it would be interesting to use as a metaphor for something more soulful.
OSR: If you could change one thing about ‘Dovetail Me’ what would it be and why?
Matone: Change the name to ‘Dog Tail Meat’. When sorting the chorus out I was listening to the sketch repeatedly, so much so that the vocal line started to sound like it was say ‘dog tail me’.
OSR: Why should we play The Cat Magic’s music as background music in our virtual elevator?
Hnatiw: You shouldn’t! We’re the band that you’ve got playing in your headphones whilst you take the recycling out.
OSR: What are the benefits and challenges of being a new band?
Hnatiw: On the one hand, at the beginning, no-one is watching you. You can try stuff out, fail and not be too accountable when things don’t work out. We learnt so much from our first few shows and releases that we do it very differently now!
On the other hand, it’s so hard to cut through the noise. There are a lot of bands in the same space vying for slots on bills and keen ears. We’re often in that weird limbo where we’re wanting people to hear us, but uncomfortable in the act of selling ourselves, managing social media and trying to wrestle attention our way. I don’t think that comes naturally for any of us.
OSR: What is your creative process?
Matone: Sitting in a nice space and coming up with ideas to run with. Once I’ve found something that I’m excited by I’ll create a whole song around it by recording in drums, guitars, keyboards and bass. We’ll then get in a room and start working out how to play it as a band.
OSR: What is your greatest fear?
Hnatiw: Rabies. It has really low survivability. Once you show symptoms, you’re incurable.
OSR: What is the worst advice anyone gave you as an emerging band?
Hnatiw: To buy followers on Instagram.
OSR: If you were to be a plant, what type of plant would you be and why?
Matone: Apple tree. Always there producing the sweet fruits season after season no matter what.
OSR: What is the most annoying question you have ever been asked?
Matone: Would we like to drive up to London on January 2nd to play a Thursday evening with 10 other bands and no pay.
OSR: What are your future plans?
Matone: We’ve had two new additions to the band so we’re now officially a five-piece! We’ve been making use of this weird time by just rehearsing every week to get drilled and perfect for when gigs start happening. There’s loads of new music in the wings that we’ll be releasing over the coming months with more being written as we speak. Towards the end of this year, we’ll also be doing a filmed live session at HUMM studios.
OSR: Do you have a message for your fans and potential fans?
Hnatiw: Check out ‘Dovetail Me’. It’s available to stream from the 28th August and we’re really proud how it came out. It’s eerie and weird and colourful and infectious.