Track By Track: Catcall
“I feel like my brattiness was seriously lacking on the record,” admits Catcall aka Catherine Kelleher about her long-awaited debut album ‘The Warmest Place’. In this track-by-track guide, Kelleher speaks about her many collaborators, inspirations and influences – from Roxy Music to The Go-Gos and ESG.
‘The Warmest Place’
This is an a cappella track that opens the record and leads into ‘August’. It was written in 2006 after my dad died very suddenly of a heart attack, sort of a cathartic exercise which I think became a catalyst for me trying to do something solo (which at the time was a scary thought). The original was performed on stage with Kiosk at the Annandale in 2006 - it was our first show after my dad passed away. I decided I wanted to include it on the record because lyrically it was a big inspiration for the song ‘August’ and I wanted the record to be instantly personal. It’s purposefully lo-fi, raw and imperfect, as I wanted the moment to be intimate and real.
This song was written pretty much exactly on the anniversary of my father’s death in 2007. I had received the original bed on a CD of productions from Crumbs (aka Max Kohane) from Melbourne. At this point I had only created the most lo-fi songs in my bedroom using drum loops, and Crumbs was my very first collaborator. The original recording appeared on the Anniversary EP released in 2009, which I recorded with Max and Geoff O’Connor in 2008 and was produced by Max. For the album we enlisted Lee Groves to provide additional production. I’m really proud of this song - I told myself if I never wrote anything else after this I would be happy.
This song came about after a collaboration with Michael Di Francesco and Nicholas Routledge from Van She and my vocal producer/collaborator Bry Jones. Bry, who became involved with Catcall in early 2010, and myself worked intensely on the track perfecting the vocal melody and lyrics. There was a lot of back and forth until we felt like we had it. Lyrically, I was heavily inspired by Roxy Music, and Fleetwood Mac/Christine McVie became a great inspiration for the final production, which was completed by Bry Jones and Diamond Cut.
‘On My Own’
The original version of ‘On My Own’ is very different to the version that ended up on the album. I originally demoed the song with Luke Foskey aka Youth, and I worked on it with Bry when he came on board. The song started as an almost Italo-disco jam, but the result is quite different. To me this track is about being alone, but wanting to be alone. At the time, I was spending a lot of time just by myself and I wanted to celebrate that. The album version of the song was produced by Bry Jones and Diamond Cut.
The life of this track started when I emailed Yama aka GLOVES to collaborate. I had been following his work and also enjoyed some of the music his band Damn Arms released just before they finished up. Chromatics and the Italians Do it Better label were a major inspiration for this track. Chromatics were one of the bands that originally inspired me to create Catcall at the end of 2006. For me, the song is about yearning and sexual frustration. Julian Mendelsohn adds his touch to the album version of this track, mixing and providing some additional production.
‘The World is Ours’
When Luke Foskey emailed me the original beat for this song he said, “I’ve been watching a lot of John Hughes films at the moment.” I was already sold before I opened the file – I’m obsessed with John Hughes movies. I demoed the track and it sat with me for a while until I started working with Bry when it really came to life. We worked hard on the lyrics and vocal, and production-wise moved it into a more Go-Gos direction (‘We Got the Beat’ was the main inspiration for the track). I feel in the end it’s a simple song about friendship and love.
Andrew Elston (aka Toni Toni Lee) was one of the first people I worked with when I started writing this album. He did a remix of one of my EP tracks which I loved, so I wanted to work with him on original material. Somehow telling him that I was obsessed with ‘Cruel Summer’ by Bananarama was what inspired the first germ of an idea for this track, but listening to it now I have no idea how. We did a demo and actually didn’t look at it again until 2011 when Elston came on board to finish off production for the last couple of tracks for the album.
This was another track from the collaboration with the guys from Van She and Bry Jones. The first part of the song I wrote was the chorus - the lyrics that were written initially are pretty much still intact. I had just finished reading Just Kids by Patti Smith, and was really inspired by Smith and all the amazing female artists that had made me want to actually write and perform music. It’s almost a love song to all those women that inspired me. The track was produced by Bry Jones and Diamond Cut.
This was another track I demoed with Luke Foskey. He sent me the beat and I wrote the vocal melody and lyrics in my home studio. I immediately loved the synth bass that opens the track, and it remains one of my favourites to perform live. The song is about falling head over heels for someone and they just completely and utterly drain the life out of you. It’s about completely losing faith in love. I wrote this track while I was completely in that headspace as well. This was another track Andrew Elston produced from my original demos and Monica Sonand (Magic Silver White) provided some harmonies on the chorus. The final mix has the touch of producer/mixer Julian Mendelsohn, who I think was a very appropriate choice for this track.
This was one of the first tracks I wrote with Luke Foskey. We were introduced over email by a mutual friend and ended up writing about four tracks before we even met in person. This song, to me, is essentially about someone who sends you crazy and makes you do insane things that are out of character because your feelings run deep. They don’t feel the same way but they keep you hanging on. It’s about getting lost in that vortex, and doing and saying the stupidest things and regretting them. Elston produced and mixed this track for the album.
I was relaying a story to Elston one day, while we were finishing off the other album tracks, about this date I went on with an artist that went horribly. We decided to write a song about it. I had been listening to a lot of ESG and Delta 5 at the time, so I really wanted to channel that vibe on a song. It was really fun to write a bratty track, I feel like my brattiness was seriously lacking on the record. Monica Sonand threw down some vocals along with Elston himself and it’s quite possibly my favourite song to perform live.
‘I'm In Love With A German Film Star’
This is a cover by a UK band called The Passions. It was a one-hit wonder that was released in early 1981 and pretty much no one I know has ever heard of it. The song was written by Barbara Gogan about a one-time roadie for The Clash and the Sex Pistols, Steve Connelly, who had minor roles in several German films. The idea for this cover all started when Yama (GLOVES) emailed me with a YouTube link saying he thought I could do a really good cover of the track. I suggested it to Bry when we were working on one of the other songs and he thought it was a great idea. Time went by and we forgot about it, then Bry mentioned it again one day and we asked Ash Maklad who works in a studio a floor up, to write a demo. We liked it so much that we recorded the vocal and produced a version for the album.