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Cattle Speak To Terrorizer Ahead Of Tonight’s Album Launch
To celebrate the release of their stellar debut, ‘Nature’s Champion’, Leeds noise rock collective Cattle are playing an album launch show at CHUNK in Leeds tonight, with a killer lineup featuring Lugubrious Children, Droves, Yuri, Zozo and more. We caught up with the band to discuss the new record, the challenges presented when playing with two drummers and their recent gig with dälek…
Could you tell us briefly how you all met and formed Cattle?
Tom [bass] – “I met Chris through a mutual worship of the ‘cosmic nod’. I wanted to start a band with bass and drums that was experimental and doomy, inspired by bands like The Melvins, Eagle Twin and Sabbath. Chris played drums in a psych band at the time and we had a jam with my house mate Dan Standish on guitar. From there, the line up evolved to Ant Bedford (Magnapinna) on drums, myself on bass and Chris taking up mic duties. We recorded the EP at the Royal Park Cellars (RIP) which was run by Steve at the time. After Steve came back from touring extensively with Khuda we began toying with adding a second drummer.”
Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together? Did you plan on having two drummers from the beginning, or did it just kind of happen?
Tom – “I don’t really remember a definite transition between one drums and two drums. It was pretty seamless. In the beginning, when Steve was learning a set written for one drummer, it was pretty hard. It wasn’t as simple as “play the same beat at the same time and your styles will compliment each other”. After tirelessly running over the same bits in practice we eventually got to where we wanted to be.”
Steve – “It came into its own when we started to write tunes with two drummers in mind, at that point we’d split a beat between the two of us. It was dead stripped back at first but eventually we figured out each others strong points and would play up to them. Sound wise I’m not sure what we were going for hah hah, just wanted it to be heavy and rhythmical. A lot of the noisier side of things seeped in as Chris’s pedal collection got bigger, there was a fair amount of space to fill without a guitarist so loopers, delays and a theremin got chucked in there.”
What would you say having two drummers adds in terms of dynamics to the band?
Tom – “I see two drummers as a completely different entity to one drummer. It isn’t just two drums, you have to approach at it as one whole thing. Dynamically, I think it’s a lot more versatile. Accents and flourishes can be added to beats that a single drummer would find impossible. Plus, you have this augmented stereo effect where the snares are so wide apart that it’s like a delay effect.”
Steve – “It’s a completely different experience to being in a “normal” band. Had been used to playing whatever I felt like so having to consider what Ant was doing made my playing a lot more mindful. Locking into a groove with another drummer is really satisfying.”
How does your writing process normally work out? Will you meet up with song ideas pretty much fully formed beforehand, or do you tend to jam stuff out a bit more?
Tom – “Writing usually takes place in the practice room. I almost never take my bass home. All the riffs are written on the spot really. It’s not a cliche thing of “you know, I just let the music take control” or anything. It’s more the fact that we have played together for a while now so it almost comes second nature, it’s hard to explain. We’re not very good at writing quickly, it’s very much dependent on what comes out at the time. We like to work at our own pace.”
Steve – “Between Cattle and Clenstch (the other band me and Tom do together) there’s been a ton of time holed up in the jam room. Each riff will get played on a loop, cutting bits out, deliberately breaking and rebuilding the beat, it’s lucky that we’re both patient/stubborn. Some of my favorite bits have been a result of one of us getting an idea while out and about and then having to remember it until we’re jamming again, got some pretty gnarly recordings of Tom making mouth riffs on the bus or whatever. While we’re mucking about Chris will usually be sat writing lyrics and building layers, the songs are still partially jammed live so this is where Chris gets to give it one.”
What can you tell us about your debut album, ‘Nature’s Champion’?
Tom – “‘Natures Champion’ is the product of the last 2 or so years on the road, playing any show we could get our grubby chops on. It was recorded in 2015 by Hamer and mixed by myself at our gaff CHUNK. It features songs that have evolved over the years and have become almost like extensions of ourselves, like growing your hair. It’s such a relief to finally have them realised in a physical form. It was around the time of mixing the album that Ant decided to leave and Jambo joined. Jambo plays drums in fellow CHUNK band Zozo and after a spontaneous jam, joined us just before we finished mixing the album. We even managed to record him for few bits of percussion on some of the tracks.”
Steve – “The album was proper fun to record, especially in an environment that we were so comfortable in. We played nearly all the drums together without any separation which created new challenges but it meant that the groove was still intact and gives the record that live sound. Adding Karl D’Silva in on the last track was a spontaneous choice but he did a great job, definitely gave us a high point to end on. We were also mega lucky to bag some top artwork by Mike Winnard which was then screen printed down at CHUNK by our bezzer Joe from Discordant Sun, real group effort.”
What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
Steve – “It’s hard to say to be honest, we had some great gigs when Ant was about culminating in our final gig together at Fell Foot Sound last year. We set up facing each other next to a camp fire and played as the sun was going down with the folks that were there circled about heckling us, top vibes! Since Jambo joined there have been some stunners too, got to play with dälek a couple of weeks ago which was sick, those guys were so good and dead nice too! The set at Renegades of Chunk (our spots yearly festival) was a right laugh too, playing with a bunch of mates and being in your own space breeds its own special vibe, spent most of the set trying not to crack up at three rascals in the front row gaffa taping themselves to each other. Aprils tour with Zozo and our driver Loz Clarke was cracking from start to finish too, great people and a top sesh! Low point wise, we had a gig the other year that resulted in us being broke down in Manchester city centre for a few hours but aside from that we’ve been dead lucky. After Khuda disbanded the idea of starting afresh was pretty daunting, especially seeing as we’d been fairly active. All endings are beginnings in a way though and in retrospect it created a wealth of experiences that would have been missed if we’d carried on being away for a few months a year.”
What does the future have in store for Cattle?
Steve – “We have the album launch down at CHUNK on the 16th of December that we’re all right giddy about, couple of fests next year including a slot at Fat Out Fest with The Bug vs Dylan Carlson, Blood Sport, Part Chimp, Pigsx7 and a bunch more. We’re taking things a little bit steady at the moment because Tom’s just had a nipper (congrats to him, Jodie Wyatt and baby Miles) but we’re getting back into writing again which has been a good laugh, guess the tunes we have at the moment are a couple of years old now so it’s fun to get back into the process. We’ve also a new member (Miles Spilsbury) taking up permanent saxophone duty which is proper exciting, hoping to add more electronic elements at some point too! Hopefully it won’t take us two years to get the next album done but we’ll see, there’s no rush/pressure which suits us fine.”
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