Zoe and Sarah, thank you so much for agreeing to speak to us.
How are you?
We’re really good thanks! We’re keeping busy and positive but we’re itching to get out and see our families and friends. And doing our best to find ways of being entertained at home instead!
Congratulations on “Who Are You?”. How does it feel?
It feels amazing to have it out in the world. We feel particularly happy to be able to release it despite so much chaos and difficulty for musicians in 2020.
You are a duo from London how did it all begin?
We began life as a band called Cat Bear Tree and there were three of us and we mostly played a kind of riot grrrl style, indie guitar band music. But then we went down to just Sarah and me and I started producing our music in my home studio and it developed into a much more produced, synth-pop style sound and CATBEAR was born. We still try to keep the raw, DIY spirit in there somewhere too though!
What did you listen to growing up?
We were really inspired by female rock bands like The Donnas and Sahara Hotnights as well as some strong female-fronted bands like Garbage and Skunk Anansie. But as well as liking more shouty, punk stuff we really love pop melodies so we like bands like Slater Kinney just as much as 80s pop like Cyndi Lauper.
Zoe, you wrote, produced and recorded “Who Are You?” In your home studio, what were the challenges and triumphs in doing this?
It’s amazing to have so much control over the sound being the producer of the track. But as it was recorded during lockdown it was really challenging getting Sarah’s input. We had an outdoor exchange of recording equipment and then back and forth of recording parts. Ultimately we’re really happy with how the track came out but it was an adventure.
You both have an appreciation for the 80s and 90s what are you’re favourite pop culture moments from those periods?
Sarah: Haha for me it was the Spice Girls.
Zoe: I was a massive Take That fan so I guess it was anything to do with Take That! We also both really love 80s culture – whether it’s neon and holograms or 80s films and pop music.
You like your synths, what are your favourites?
One day maybe we’ll be able to afford analogue synths but for now we use software synths. For example Arturia has a great range of emulations of synths that we can’t afford in physical form.
COVID has impacted the creative industry in a big way. What’s kept you motivated?
Zoe: I feel so lucky to have music to keep me occupied during this time. I have my home studio and I’ve been able to keep creating and learning throughout so that has been a huge help for me. I also went live one day on my Facebook page really early on in the first lockdown and it developed into 100 days of daily livestreams called Tea With Me @ 3. And it was so wonderful to have a community of people that came together every day to pause, chat, listen to some live music and feel like we would get through this together.
What have you learned about yourselves in the last year?
Zoe: for me it’s that I really enjoy running! I used to hate it, but I started last year and now I go running every day and it feels amazing. I also love a good cold shower in the morning!
You are causing a bit of a storm in the indie music press with your songs. How does it feel?
It feels fantastic! We just really enjoy making music, so if other people are onboard with that it makes us feel super happy.
What do you plan to do next?
We’re planning to make more music! We’ve got some songs in the bag and are just deciding how best to finish them off when we can’t be in the room together at the moment. Watch this space…!