Welcome, friends, to another installment of Free Music Fridays Mondays! Today (Thursday), some millennials is psyched to bring you a conversation with Catlike, an Oneonta, New York-via-Long-Island band consisting of Karah Goldstein and Collin Ungerleider. In addition to vocals, Goldstein has contributed guitar and bass to their recordings, while Ungerleider drums; as Goldstein told me in our interview, “[l]ead guitar and bass typically change tour by tour depending on who is available and willing to come with us.”
Catlike currently has three releases up for free on their Bandcamp page: Neffamphetamines, “Deli Rose”, and a split with Parallel. Their songs highlight Goldstein’s breezy vocals that bring a sing-along quality to even the most personal of lyrics, while the backing music has hints of everything from eastern seaboard lo-fi to California-tinged dream pop. Unlike other artists we have talked with in this series, the run-times of Catlike’s songs often exceed traditional pop lengths, allowing for musical complexities to arise even when the lyrics are few (cf. “Indigo Blues”). Goldstein conducted the interview with me and, like Catlike’s songs, the answers given covered the spectrum from serious to pithy.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
some millennials: why have you decided to release your music for free?
Karah Goldstein: [W]e wanted the most people to listen to it! I feel like everyone doing the whole “DIY” thing (whatever that means) is releasing their music for free, and obviously we wanted to fit in.
sm: you referenced the diy scene in both band line-up and releasing music, and i’m really curious, as an outside observer who enjoys what that sound produces, what the logistics are like in putting together tours, getting instrumentalists for shows and the like?
KG: I don’t think anyone really knows what “DIY” means anymore. I feel like a lot of people see those letters and attribute some sort of elitist attitude to it. All I mean is that we certainly aren’t signed, and have done very little as far as “professional” recording goes. It’s a lot of Garageband demos and annoying Facebook messages over here. I hope to graduate beyond this eventually, but for now it is working just fine.
sm: i noticed especially on neffamphetamines that the sound seemed indebted to a 90s indie aesthetic (plus the cover reminds me of daria and i don’t know if i’m just imagining a connection there or not), but are there any influences you have that aren’t immediately apparent?
KG: Honestly, no. I wish I could brag to you about my extensive knowledge of 20s jazz but I’m really not that smart. I listened to a lot of bubblegum pop music well into my teens (Disney Channel, American Idol, etc.) so I think most people from my high school thought I was a huge poser once I started doing this. But now I think years of spinning saccharine pop hooks actually paid off in my writing. So maybe my answer to this question is yes. Also, while I see the Daria comparison now, the cover art is actually my friend (and merch girl) Brenna, who rudely dyed her hair blue right before our recent tour.
sm: a lot of artists i’ve talked to across many genres have used that type of pop as a touchstone for their own work, so i think that it’s just like you said, that influence works its way into what you do, even if it’s sonically different.
one of my favorite tracks right from the moment i saw the title was “manic pixie dream boy,” and there’s a couple things from the song i wanted to talk about. one, i liked how the hook differed slightly so as to be continuous with the story, and second, what would you say the importance is of flipping terms and tropes used to pigeonhole one gender back on another?
KG: “Manic Pixie Dream Boy” is honestly a self-call out. It’s the first Catlike song I wrote. Once I got to college, I was hit in the face with all this feminist rhetoric, something I rarely heard in high school. And while it definitely opened my eyes to how toxic mens’ view of women can be (ex. Manic Pixie Dream Girl), I realized I’ve done the same exact thing. And nobody should be let off the hook. So I called myself out.
sm: there was a solid period of time between your latest bandcamp release and the one preceding it, so are there any plans to release more music soon?
KG: There’s a very complex reason to why the time gap between our releases is so large, and here it is:
I am lazy.
But I’m getting better! The goal is to record a “short LP” (8 songs?) by the end of the summer with one of our friends. We’re going to re-record 3/4 songs off Neff, along with a buncha new ones. I think it’s gonna be cool. 🙂
sm: if somebody came to your city (you can choose between hometown and college town if you’re conflicted) and you had to tell them one thing to do, what would it be? and, what is your favorite sandwich?
KG: I’m gonna choose Oneonta for the city and suggest that everyone visit the Yellow Deli. This works nicely into the next question because they make the most bomb sandwiches. My favorite is the Deli Rose (ha ha) that’s a combination of roast and corned beef, along with a bunch of condiments. It’s a complex sandwich but a goodie.
Featured image courtesy of Karah Goldstein.