The insatiably curious and effortlessly diverse Northern Irish protest-punk CATALAN! will release his debut LP “Veritas” on October 2nd. CATALAN! (aka Ewen Friers) was kind enough to answer a couple of questions linked to this upcoming release. Check out the full interview below! 🙂
Hello CATALAN!, thanks for your time. Would it be possible to introduce your music project to our readers?
Hello and thanks for having me. CATALAN! is a world music inspired indie protest rock project by me, Ewen Friers! I try to make energising, varied and danceable music coupled with some thought-provoking poetry in the lyrics. Whilst the first steps of writing what became CATALAN! was “going solo” in a sense, the project has turned into a collective of sorts, with a full band for live shows and a whole host of thinkers, doers, creatives and lifers behind the scenes.
With a worldwide pandemic going on, how have you handled the management of CATALAN! For the past few months?
I thrive in the live, touring, physical world. That’s where my interests and passions are. So, to have that paused, especially when I had an album release in the calendar, was concerning. That said, with the help of Goc O’Callaghan, the labels and that aforementioned circle around CATALAN!, we have continued on, learnt a lot and tried to push forward, it’s a case redistributing energy. So, for example, when you can’t book tours, you can use that time to concentrate more on artwork, or when you may have been in rehearsal you can be tackling and tweaking mixes.
Your debut LP “Veritas” will be out in a few days. How long have you worked on this release and how excited are you to finally be able to share it with the world?
I started writing the album when constantly travelling and touring with various bands about 3 years ago. The bulk of the album was recorded just over a year ago. We locked ourselves away in a huge house in a secluded glen in Ireland to record Latin and African rhythms and sing about everywhere from New York to Shanghai, it was a beautiful contrast! I’m really excited to finally share the fruits of that contrast. I usually find the most exciting thing about sharing music is when people come back to you with their interpretation of the lyrics. It breathes new life into the song when people derive their own personal meaning, often not exactly what was being said or referenced in the first place, but to me that’s participatory and living art – That’s exciting!
Any funny story to share from your recording or writing sessions?
I mentioned before that we got our hands on a huge house in the wilds to record Veritas. Well, one night really late on after recording all day, I realised the bins needed to be dragged down the dark lane, through the trees to the gate for collection. I went off into the darkness, the gate had an intercom system and the glow of keypad at the bottom of the hill was my sole source of direction. Unbeknownst to me the band were watching from upstairs in the house. When I got to the gate, I heard the most ghoulish screams cutting through the wind. Was it a sick sheep? A fox? Or the much feared Banshee?? I quite literally almost pissed my pants and ran back to the house in fear. I only properly relaxed days later when I was told it was little more than my bandmates getting a well-timed prank over on me via the intercom system.
Releasing something often means tour support. Do you already have some dates planned for the end of the year or 2021 (as difficult as it is to plan tour dates with a worldwide pandemic)?
We weren’t going to be the only band to come out of this thing without a live stream gig… so our “Album Launch” will be streaming live from The Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast on 09/10/2020. I’m being careful about announcing anything else just yet, but there are a handful of exciting shows lightly pencilled in for now… so watch this space!
The last words are for you. If you have a message to convey, here’s your chance!
I truly think that my “message”, if you could call it that, or perhaps my outlook is imprinted on “Veritas”. So, I’ll use this an opportunity to promote that. It would really mean the world to me if people checked it out. I really have challenged myself to create a lyrical landscape that is thought provoking and there are plenty of ideas people can engage with there. Thanks very much. Sláinte!
Thanks for your time!