How did you get connected with Portland’s Fluff and Gravy to lead to this EP and LP?
This fall I got in touch with F&G out of the blue. I was familiar with some of the other artists they work with, Anna Tivel, etc. I sent them a link just saying to let me know what they think. I got an email back the next day from John (Shepski). He let me know that they had kinda spent their capital for the year, had a full roster, but wanted to see what we could work out, and so we did.
Is that a lot of what the industry for an independent artist is, sending links in emails? The modern day cold call or demo mailer?
Believe me, as an independent artist I have sent a bazillion of those emails and never get a response.
Talk to me a bit about the collaborative process for you versus the solo project. What does that bring out, pros and cons?
To be honest, I’ve never really been one to create on my own. I know there are those artists out there that produce, play all the instruments, record, write all alone, but I’ve never been one of those artists. One of my biggest supporters has been my husband, Sebastian.
Since we met in LA, a long time ago, he has always produced my albums for me. He often has played in my band, and there are a lot of other artists in Portland and beyond.
For me, collaboration is exciting. It just brings inspiration to the process. I think it was harder for me early on in my career and I started out playing songs in your own bedroom, and it is hard to share that creative process early on. It’s hard because you really want to let people know what you like, what you sound like, who you are right out of the gate. Having made a number of albums now, I am not hung up on that anymore. Now I am looking forward to collaborating wonder, “Hmm, what can you or you bring to the table?”
Clearly you’re a passionate, opinionated person with a clear view that comes through in your music. What do you concern yourself with more, your message being creatively what you wanted or listeners being touched by it?
You’re always evolving and taking information in from the world. You take it in and process it and filter it back out, expressing it, and my expression is music. My hope is to convey something to people. Certainly, I realize that every person’s relationship with music is very personal. Some people will take different things from it and that is fine. For a long time, I was concerned about being didactic. I’ve always been interested and passionate about politics and a perspective on the world, but it took some time, like a winding road, to deciding that it would come to the forefront. There’s always a hope that someone will hear the song that doesn’t agree with me and get something out of it, but I recognize that for the majority of the people who get something out of my music I am singing to the choir. That’s ok, because I think the choir needs to hear it, too. I think that is part of what was so powerful about Occupy Wall Street for me was that suddenly I heard people were saying all these things that I was thinking or saying to my husband in private. I think that if you’re able to do that in song, even for people who agree with you, you can give people solace, excitement, and some connection in the universe.
For more from our interview with Catherine, check out issue 06 of Poppycock Magazine currently on the shelves at the one and only Reading Frenzy on N Mississippi Ave.