Interview: Catey Shaw
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 09:16:06
Catey Shaw takes everybody to heart of the New York on her Brooklyn EP. [iTunes link]
In keeping with the city's diversity, she artfully merges danceable melodies, sticky hooks, and indie swagger for a collection of songs that's as immediate as it is infectious. You've never experienced the Big Apple like this.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Catey Shaw talks the EP and so much more.
Did you approach the Brooklyn EP with one overarching vision?
Not initially, some of the songs are up to two-years-old, while others are six-months-old. When it came time to do an EP, we probably had twenty songs to choose from. We went through and picked what we thought would fit together the best. Then, we went in again and re-worked some of the production to make sure everything went along together. It's always one song at a time. There was a time when I first started writing where we were looking for that one song which would tell us what to do for everything else. That's a lot more pressure. After working that way for a year, it was like, "Let's write something". We developed a huge catalog of music. I probably have 50 songs. Some of it came down to what people like. "Human Contact" is a live favorite. Everyone at shows loves that song. So, we knew that had to be on it. "Brooklyn Girls" had to be on it because we wanted to give it this identity and spark something interesting. "Show Up" is a classic ballad. They were all really important and spoke to this time of my life.
What's the story behind "Outerspace"?
That's a really old one. We completely reworked that recently. When I first started writing, it was the story of meeting my ex-girlfriend, hanging out in a diner, and realizing it could be something more. We just rolled with it. It was one of those things. I didn't have that many songs so I'd play it live. Then, we sort of forgot about it for a year or so because we wrote all of this new music that we were really excited about. One day, it came up. I don't even know how. I think someone played it in a meeting or somewhere. We were like, "Why don't we use this song? We forgot about it!" We re-produced it to go with my sound now. It ended up fitting perfectly on the Brooklyn EP.
Where did "Night Go Slow" come from?
Sometimes, we get in the studio and try to think of a fun, interesting concept or a nice play on words we can use. I really enjoy writing with this guy named Brian West. There's just something about sitting down in his studio with an acoustic guitar. We were like, "Let's just write a love song. You can never have too many". We were trying to convey this feeling of being with someone who makes everything in the world disappear. You don't care about checking your phone or the cars running by honking their horns. It all just goes away. You can be in this moment with the person and have this special connection.
Is it important for you to paint pictures and tell stories with the songs?
On "Night Go Slow" and "Revolution", the paintings are a bit more abstract. Those involved me listening to the song on repeat and trying to sonically recreate what it sounded like with my eyes shut. The rest of them get a bit more narrative. I've always been a more narrative, figurative painter. I truly believe the only story I can tell is my own so if I tell my story and do self-portraiture, I can be the most truthful. I tried to recreate either a part of the story it's based on or put myself in the song, making my image part of the lyrics in a way the video won't necessarily.
What encourages that?
I grew up a painter. So, that actually is my first love. I hadn't been painting much after going to school for a couple of years. I was writing and working so hard on music, trying to find a way to consider myself a songwriter. Around this EP, I thought, "I don't have to be a songwriter or a painter. I can just be an artist and do it all at the same time". I'm pushing forward with the video stuff too. Now, I'm working on the next couple of videos with my friend. I like to be a part of every aspect of it because it will truly paint a real picture of me for people who listen to it, and they'll feel like I'm someone they know.
If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question! I would say The O.C. (TV Series) It's the perfect guilty pleasure. Some of it, you're like, "Oh my God, this is whatever". You can keep watching and get hooked in, and the stories are so good though. Some of the acting is a little whatever, but the music is killer. It'll make you sob, it'll make you laugh, and it makes for a really good drinking game.
Have you heard Catey Shaw?