Since releasing their debut album “Like Crazy Doves” back in 2013 the Austrian Band Catastrophe & Cure continue to make a name for themselves in the indie scene. “Blank Spots” is their latest LP, which was released in pure DIY fashion. As far as we know they are back in the studio, so we took the chance to ask Johannes, the singer from the band, some questions.
Could you sum up some personal milestones in your artist development?
2012/2013 – releasing our first record just by ourselves and winning the FM4 Amadeus Award.
2015 – releasing our second album; finally we are a really good live act!
2017 – releasing our “Blank Spots” 10” vinyl; 100% DIY, recorded in a basement in 1150 Wien.
Do you have some insights on conducting an efficient music production?
Whatever works! There’s no right or wrong. Don’t get stuck on principles of audio production (even though it helps knowing some of them). Be creative and work with what you got, you don’t need high-end gear to make a good record. We recorded our first two albums in very nice studios with a lot of great vintage equipment. It was really fun to play around with that and we all learned a lot about production techniques. For our last record ‘Blank Spots’ we chose a different approach and did everything by ourselves. We recorded it in a basement in 1150 Wien. We did some things that we wouldn’t have done in a proper studio. The drums on ‘Debbie Debris’ were recorded using just one microphone, the drums on the title track were recorded using SM57’s for everything (even overheads). It worked just fine! In the end nobody gives a shit as long as the sound fits to the song.
When you start a new track – what are the first steps?
Quite old-school. I’m sitting at home with my guitar, strumming some chords, trying to find a good vocal melody and interesting lyrics. Having a good chord progression and a story to tell is half the battle. After that I record the basic tracks and play them to my bandmates. Together we then work out an arrangement that really fits to the song. Quite often it’s not so much about adding tracks or instruments but rather about getting rid of everything that may distract from the heart of the song.
Do you have a songwriting routine or ritual?
Not at all! As I said before, usually I’m just sitting at home, messing around with my guitar (preferably with a cup of coffee or a beer). But sometimes it also starts with an interesting sound or sample on the Laptop. Funny thing is that I usually write the best songs when I’m busy and I do not have much time.
Name 3 artist social media feeds that you dig and tell us why.
Mac DeMarco (@macdemarco) & Alex Cameron (@alkcm)/Roy Molloy (@marvelouscrane). They’re quite funny and don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s a welcome change to all the pictures in your newsfeed of people making Yoga on the beach and eating avocados. The cool things about Alex Cameron’s/Roy Molly’s Facebook page is that their postings are quite long (nobody else does that anymore, usually it’s just one sentence of information and that’s it) and really fun to read.
What are the most important factors in keeping a tour hassle-free?
Lower your expectations: No tour is entirely hassle-free! Long bus rides, carrying a ton of equipment, every day another stage, every night another hotel room – it’s a weird thing to do but it’s also one of the most fun things to do. You never know what’s going to happen!
Here are some things that help: Routine, coffee, having a guitarist who knows how to get all that equipment into your tiny tour bus (Lukas!), giving each other some space (preferably by using single rooms in the hotel), talking about problems, not arguing whilst drunk, deciding who is going to drive the bus before you open your first beer.
0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!