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17 apr. 2020

Interview met Cat Temper

Vandaag verschijnt het nieuwe album ¨Feralyzed¨ van de geweldige Cat Temper. Ook dit is weer een album van de bovenste plank en ik ben zo blij nu ook deze sympathieke kattenliefhebber te mogen interviewen. Miauw!

Today the new album ¨Feralyzed¨ of the great Cat Temper is released. This is another top shelf album and I am so happy to be able to interview this likeable cat lover. Meow!

Cat Temper

Mike, can you please introduce yourself?
I'm a musician and graphic designer in Massachusetts, USA. Since high school (a long time ago) I've produced music in bands and solo starting with a cassette release of chiptunes made using my family's Commodore 64 computer.

My previous toytronica project was like hyper cartoon dance music with a happy bunny as the mascot. I take a more aggressive and erratic direction with Cat Temper so it felt right to personify it as a ferocious feline.

Your new album ¨Feralyzed¨ is in one word Cattastic! Can you share with us the concept for this album?
This album is a beastly mix of synthpop, electropunk, metal and 8-bit videogame bleeps. Making synth music can be a tame exercise but I try to work in a way that allows rough edges and unpredictable moves. "Feralyzed" seemed like a purr-fect title for that wild mix of styles and methods.


How do you always come up with the amazing track titles?
I'm glad people enjoy those! I'm constantly thinking up and writing down puns on classic songs. The hiss-terical ones become titles, but I've got plenty of claw-ful ones (sorry for that a-paw-ling joke).

You are one of the synthwave producers that really are progressing the genre every time you release an album. What drives you to constantly push the boundaries?
1980s synth music is my favorite thing to listen to and I love the synthwave scene it inspired. But I've got a scattered attention span and can't help taking tangents into other avenues of my eclectic tastes. I'm also a big fan of concept albums and exploring different themes with each release is a fun challenge.

The girl on the cover of ¨Feralyzed¨ looks, in my humble opinion, a bit like Catra of the animated series ¨She-Ra and the Princesses of Power¨. What can you tell us about this?
I was so thrilled with the cover art by Quinnzel Kills for my last album "Something Whiskered This Way Comes" that I couldn't wait to work with her on another one. For "Feralyzed" she created a character with electric magnetism and fierce (c)attitude. A reference model for inspiration was Vanity, one of Prince's girlfriends and protégés.


I think a lot of electronic music producers are curious on what gear you are using. Can you give us a little look in your kitchen?
Reason has been my tool for writing, sequencing and recording for ages. My quirky sounds are built from layering custom patches and tweaked drum machine samples. I've used the Casio CZ-101 synth and Mattel Synsonics drum pads in almost everything since I started making music. Some cheap toy keyboards are sprinkled in for fun flavor.

What other musicians inspire you?
Longtime influences are DEVO, The Art of Noise, Laurie Anderson, Prince and Nine Inch Nails. Artists that use commonly accessible tools in unique and imaginative ways to create radical signature sounds.

The new generation of people who inspire me the most are consistently breaking boundaries in bold and surprising ways: Alpha Chrome Yayo, Burial Grid, Caspro, C Z A R I N A, Debby Friday and Occams Laser are just a few.

What are you further plans for this year?
Two more Cat Temper albums are planned to come out in 2020. One is a bit more in your face than my usual stuff. The other is collaborations with a variety of my favorite vocalists.

After working "in the box" for a while I've been getting back into hardware gear and look forward to recording with my new toys. It's awesome to see so many affordable synths coming out, especially reproductions of vintage classics that I always dreamed of owning.

What do you like most about the ´80s?
It was a magical time to grow up in. Everything seemed so cutting edge even if they didn't quite live up to the advertised promises. Home computers, videogame consoles and programmable toy robots took over the home. Action figures and licensed toys immersed kids in our favorite sci-fi and fantasy movies and shows. What affected me the most was the introduction of MTV and the futuristic experimentalism of synthpop and new wave bands with crazy new sounds and styles.


And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
Virtual high fives go out to everyone with a passion for making their own music and to the most supportive listeners I've encountered. Even though I'm on the fringes of "true synthwave", I'm excited to be involved in such a fun and continually evolving scene, both as a musician and a fan. And thanks to people like you for spreading the word about up and coming artists!

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