Library Records

Interview 1

This is an interview I did with a Greek fanzine Overdub in Feb 2000 which came out in early 2001. It's primarily about the Cat's miaow but it also touches on related topics like Hydroplane, Bart & friends and Library Records.

Interview 2

I did this in 1998 for a US  fanzine I think was called Captain sailing?  I'm unsure if it ever came out.

Interviews 3, 4, 5

These are excepts from 3 email interviews I did from around 1997-99. I've left out the "when did you form?", "what does the name mean?" etc as it was getting a bit repetitious. The questions I have left in aren't necessarily that informative but strike me as kinda funny today and to the best of my knowledge I don't think the interviews were ever published.

Interview 1

1.How did the Cat's Miaow get started? could you briefly tell me the story?

we formed in 1992. looking back, the cat's miaow began as an outlet for us to write songs and andrew to record them on his 4 track. andrew and i had known each other for a few years but were playing in different bands. andrew was in the ampersands and cam and i were in girl of the world. i had been in a band briefly with kerrie a couple of years earlier so i gave her a call. we made cassettes and gave them away to friends. no one was really interested in us at all until about 1994 when clint from four letter words asked us to go on his compilation cd "going against mazs advice" and pam berry intervied us in chickfactor. After that bus stop wanted to do a cd which took forever to come out. 

in 1995 quiddity/drive in took us in out of the cold and gave us a home and continues to look after us to this day.

2.From where does the name Cat's Miaow comes from?

it's an old american saying. i think it roughly translates as "excellent".

3.Your songs are very sweet and sad pop melodies. How would you describe your music and which are the stories you always like to tell about?

our music is quite simple pop music, with very few adornments. the stories we tell are usually relationship type songs, snippets of conversations, things i would have liked to say, letters i should have sent.

4.Which bands have inspired you most in your music? being the motive for you to start create music.

i am a big fan of the wedding present. i think i once said that i wanted the cat's miaow to sound like an accoustic wedding present with a woman singing. we were also heavily influenced by the bands from new zealand on the flying nun label, particularly the clean who also recorded a lot on 4 track. beat happening's bedroom approach to music we found very inspiring. i think the band we sound the most like is veronica lake. the reality is the cat's miaow were just a bunch of veronica lake wannabes.

5.Was Sarah records a big inspiration for you?

no, not at all. i like a lot of the records the label released but we never really aspired to be on sarah or to emulate the bands. but i am a big fan of the field mice and the sugargliders were friends of ours.

6.Listening to your music seems to me that you're very romantic and sensitive persons. Am I right?

no. maybe once, but now we're just grumpy and bitter

7.The duration of your songs usually lasts 2 or 3 minutes or less. Why is that? 

we don't have a lot to say. im happy just giving people a little glimpse and not explaining the whole story in detail. im not afraid to leave a few questions unanswered. musically tho, it was a reaction against padding out a song so it goes for a certain length of time.
we just wanted to be concise and economical

8.How did it happen that you've made a "bliss out" for Darla?

we had been involved with darla for a couple of years, james regularly asked us to contribute to the "little darla has a treat for you" compilation cds. he asked us if we wanted to do a bliss out cd and the idea of remixing some of the older songs appealed to us. for several of the songs we only kept the original vocal track and completely rebuilt the song from there.

9.What do you think about the current independent music scene in Australia? Are you buying records and what are they?

im not sure that there really is an independent music scene in Australia. most of the australian bands i like are either friends, on drive in or my label, library records, so i dont have to buy them.
anyway, here's a list of bands i like;
99, steinbecks, sleepy township, tugboat, cannanes, lucksmiths, huon, robert cooper, dunnaways, other peoples children, super falling star, panel of judges, minimum chips, sodastream.

im very happy to say about half the bands on that list are on library records

10.It also seems that you like to make some cover versions. Tell me more about it?

yes, in a lot of ways its a homage to the original performer but we approach it as if we wrote the song so we often take quite big liberties in the interpretation. i think my favourite version was making the st etienne song "nothing can stop us now" sound like galaxie 500. a tribute to 2 of our favourite bands within one song

11.Tell me about France and Paris. Have you ever been there? and what's your relationship with this country?

yes i've been to paris twice and its probably my favourite city. i love the atmosphere and its extremely beautiful. we're particularly fond of french music from the 60's especially francoise hardy and france gall.
katerine is an immense talent and his cd's largely inspired us to record the "j'en ai marre" single, which were old cat's miaow songs translated into french and re-recorded.

12.What about live-shows? How often do you play live and how is a live show of Cat's Miaow?

the last time we played live publicly was in 1994. we occasionally play at friends party's and we played a couple of songs at cams wedding. im not really interested in playing live, i think the time spent rehearsing to play a show could be better spent writing and recording a new song.

13.Tell me more about Drive in records. How it all started?

the drive in story would make an entire interview in itself.
i think its best if you contacted mike

14.Apart from the band what other things are important to you in your life?

friends and family are the only really important things. other little diversions for me are my label, reading crime fiction, collecting soda syphons and sleeping.

15.Which are your daily jobs? if there's any.

yes, we're are all quite busy with our day jobs. i'm a librarian in a public library

16.Is there something that you have done and you've after regret it?

no, i only regret the things i haven't done. missed opportunities that i'll never get again.

17.Of all the songs that you have written which is your personal favorite and why?

i think one of my favorite cat's miaow songs is "aurora" which was written by andrew. of the ones i've written i have no one particular song that means more to me than the others. but more importantly im happy to say theres none i really hate either. some i quite like for a guitar part, or kerrie's voice or the way the drums and bass sound together.

18.Which are the memories and feelings you have from your childhood?

when you say childhood the first thing that comes to mind is growing up on a farm. the pets i had (dogs and cats) and the weather being really hot but mostly wet and cold.

19.Have you dreamed all your life of being a musician? and how has your life changed being in a band?

it seemed really important to me from when i was 16 to be in a band, but looking back on it i cant remember exactly why. it's become a part of my life but im not sure how its changed my life. the cat's miaow are very normal people.

20.What are your plans for the future?

the cat's miaow don't have any plans for the immediate future. we are involved with hydroplane so we are still making music together.

21. How you got involved with Hydroplane?

hydroplane evolved out of the cat's miaow, but it has become the main band.

22.What do you think is the difference between Hydroplane and Cat's miaow?

while there is a lot of overlap between the 2 bands, the main difference is that hydroplane is andrews band and the cat's miaow was mainly mine. the cat's miaow had a more traditional approach to songwriting and instrumentation ie vocals, guitar, bass & drums.
with hydroplane songs can often start with loops and samples and build up from there. but haiving said that, those descriptions dont hold true for every song, but only as a general description

23.How difficult is it for you to describe what your music is all about?

i could explain an individual song, how it was written, what influenced it musically, anything unusual about how it was recorded. but i dont think i could describe what the band or its music is all about. so yes, very difficult. 

24.You have also many special guests in your albums. Tell me more about it. What does this mean to you? 

the special guests are just friends. sometimes you get them in because they play a particular instrument (eg trumpet) that we cant play and sometimes we get them in because its interesting and fun to play with other people. it stops us from getting in a rut. other people sometimes approach things in a very different way

and what about the Bart and Friends album?

that expands on the previous reasons really. tho with the Bart and friends a lot of the people like josh and laura co-wrote the songs as well. it was like forming a new band for each song.

25. Have you ever been in a previous band before Cat's Miaow? If yes, tell me more about it.

cam and i were in girl of the world who put out a few singles on parasol in the early 90's. it's so long ago it's all just a vague memory now

26.What's your relationship with other kinds of music ? like jazz, punk etc.?

i think it is important to have an awareness of the history of the music you're making. we drew influences from a wide range of areas.
in regards to other genres like jazz im a big fan of bossa nova and retro cocktail music. it seems so otherworldly today. regarding punk i go thru phases where i get interested in it. im more interested in the post-punk period of 79-81 with bands like magazine, wire, joy division. the buzzcocks spiral scratch ep is one of my favourite records and is the main reason we released so many 4 song 7 inch eps.

Interview 2

1. please introduce yourself.

ah, bart from the cat's miaow

2. tell us about the new bart & friends cd.

its a cd of callaborations with friends of mine. each song sounds like a different band, there's about 5 other people singing. its taken me about 2 years to finish, so i cant really get perspective on whether its any good or not, tho i am happy with the way it turned out. steve's sleeve looks great.

3. what's your favorite sugarglider's song?

to be honest i cant really pick one above the other. but thanks for asking as its motivated me to go and listen to all my old sugarglider's records. lets just say it was a particular pleasure to hear yr jacket & dolly again.

4. what band will change rock and roll in 1998?

i cant think of a single band that's doing anything new, myself included. i feel an incredibly long rant coming on that i'll nip in the bud.

5. what is the first record you ever bought?

"counting the beat" by the swingers in 1980. its now being used ad nauseum in an add on tv.

6. if you could make over one celebrity who would it be and what would you do?

lets just say im an avid reader of trashy, gossipy mags like who weekly, and without wanting to sound too catty, i would buy natalie imbruglia a comb.

7. what's happening with library records?

today, im organising steve crushworthy to do the sleeve on robert coopers single. 

as everyone knows, the first 3 singles where the casio pop of stinky fire engine, the split single with the shapiros & and pencil tin and most recently the delightfully understated single by sweet william (is this sounding like a press release or what?)

coming out in the next few weeks is a single by robert cooper ex pencil tin & in november a single by huon, which contains members of sleepy township, cannanes and cat's miaow.

next year im hoping to release singles by upstairs and hopefully a cd of roberts. 

8. what's your favorite book?

my favorite book of the last few years has been high fidelity by nick hornby, no real surprise there. of all time it might be catcher in the rye by jd salinger, again quite possibly one of the most commonly selected all time favorite books. but i also had a quick glance at the book shelf and was quite tempted to pick something by raymond chandler, maybe the big sleep, or the lady in the lake or even farewell, my lovely. i cant decide.

9. what is the best song ever written?

again with the big decisions. um...
pink frost - the chills
100,000 fireflys - the magnetic fields
bizarre love triangle - new order
dalliance - wedding present

but to be honest i'd say wichita lineman by jim webb, for the line
"i need you more than want you, and i want you for all time", one of the most romantic lines ive heard.

ask me again next week and it would be a totally different list

10. which do you prefer: toasted cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

toasted cheese, no contest. tho i did develop a taste for pb & j when i was in the states

11. if you were to cover a heavenly song, which would it be?

i like heavenly a lot, but i'd never cover one of their songs. i don't think i have anything to add to the originals. peter is an excellent guitarist.

12. what were you like at age thirteen?

the words morose, sullen & withdrawn spring to mind. i think i spent most of my teenage years in my bedroom listening to joy division 

13. how many musical instruments can you play and what are they?

hmmm, a handful, but none particularly well.
i started playing bass when i was about 16, but i havent played much in the last 2 years so im a bit rusty.
i started to play the guitar when the cats miaow began.
ive played keyboards on our records sometimes and ive played the drums on a hanshalf trio single but i cant really play either of those instruments. i cant read music, i just pick things up by ear.

14. do you have a pet? what's its name?

no. tho as a child i had a dog called muffin & a deaf cat called mao

15. what do you collect?

marbles, jim thompson novels & soda syphons

16. where's the most exotic place you've ever been? 

new york & paris. but put this in context of growing up in a country town with a population of 4,000. i loved paris, it was so.... french?

17. is the cat's miaow as big a hit in austrailia as it is in the u.s.?

are we a big hit in the us? 

the cat's miaow are pretty much unkown in australia. to put that in some sort of numerical terms, if we sell about 1,000 records in the us, we'd sell about 3 in australia, and that includes the 2 my mum & dad buy.

18. would you consider coming to louisville kentucky to play a show for paddington station (our record label)?

yes i would consider it but the reality is that it's hard enough for us to get together to record let alone tour the world. sometimes we talk about it but i don't hold out much hope. tho come to think of it we get requests from tokyo, paris and new york semi regularly, we could slip louisville in there if we ever get round to it.

19. in one word what is the best thing about the cat's miaow?


Interview 3

Why doesn't bart sing more?

are you sure we're talking about the same band? basically andrew wont let me, and its only my huge ego that's enabled me to sing as many as i have. hydroplane actually has a rule (possibly the only rule we have) that only kerrie sings, which translates as "bart, if you want to sing go form yet another band".

i'm thinking about doing a solo single later in the year, and who knows, i may even sing on it, but to be honest, i do have a godawful voice

Correct me if I'm not mistaken, but that is indeed YOU singing on  "The Other's Way" and "Make a Wish" right? I thought those were really great songs, and I'd say that you have a very, very nice voice. Although nothing against Kerrie, I love her voice too.

yeah, that's me. the vocals turned out ok on those songs, but i have a really limited range i can sing in so that restricts things quite a bit.

How long have you guys been doing Hydroplane? 

since mid 96. it sprang out of the one sided single "excerts from forthcoming lp..." that mike got us to record. mike was like "well, with a title like that you've gotta record a cd now". so we just kinda continued on.

What happened with Pencil Tin (i.e. why did you guys break up?)

it just sort of stopped. all the members were just too busy doing other things. it was never the main musical outlet for any of its members.


Interview 4

You usually plays in split singles, don't you? 

we haven't played on that many surely, not as many as say... Boyracer?

Are you as cute as you sound? 


Do you dress differently when you're in a show than in your common life?

we wear the same clothes whatever we're doing. we're pop stars 24 hours a day

That songs in french off your 7" J'en ai marre, are old songs redone, aren't they? 

yes they are. i had just got back from paris and was listening to lots of katerine, france gall & franciose hardy

How do you think in singing in french?

it was quite odd, we had friends translate the songs for us, so we really had no idea what we were singing, it could have been anything

Don't you think pop is the only thing that can save our "bored" lives?

no, variety is the answer. friends, good food & drink, books & movies, weekends in the country

Interview 5 

What can you tell me about how Cat's miaow makes music?

i don't think we do anything special. we like to keep things simple & concise. we usually record at home on a 4 track

When I listen to your cd Songs for girls to sing I think of you as a band which whisper to the world, is that what you want to do?

it wasn't the plan, but i like that description, thank you.

Do you still live in Australia??? Do you like to live in another place from where you are, and if yes why?

yes, we still live in australia. at this point in time we are all quite happy to be here because of our girlfriends/boyfriends and we all have jobs here.

for the cat's miaow it would be better if we lived in america as that is where our label is and where we sell most of our records. we are not very well known in australia and haven't released any records here.

Did you have musical influences???

when we started we were into things like beat happening, the clean and other new zealand bands on flying nun, wedding present, phil spector & orange juice.

but we have huge record collections and listen to lots of things that don't really sound like the cats miaow.

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