måndag 18 maj 2020

Musikminne från CATBEAR

Foto: Press

Londonduon CATBEAR har kallats ”the hottest new indie girl band” och jämförts med Chvrches. Duon, som består av Zoe Konez och Sarah Smith, blandar synthpop, riot grrrl-attityd och en fantastisk känsla för melodier. Duon har själva sagt att "We want to inspire young women and LGBTQ people like us to not only go form a band, but to take control over every aspect of their music. You can be a guitarist, you can be a drummer. You can make beats, you can record and produce your own music. You can be anything." I april släppte de sin tredje singel Love and War. Idag gästar Zoe och berättar om ett musikminne.

When I was a teenager I had the usual obsessions with musicians and bands, and went through different phases, from emo to metal. As a musician myself, finding my feet playing guitar, singing and writing songs in bands, I found it important to follow and adore guitar bands with strong female leaders - Garbage, Skunk Anansie, The Donnas, Sahara Hotnights, PJ Harvey, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pretenders, the list goes on of course. I spent some amazing times travelling hours into London to queue outside the big venues to have powerful experiences of seeing these musicians perform live. It directly influenced not only my own music making but much of my development in that important changeable time for a young person. The friendships I made with other fans, the squash to get closer to the front, the oversized bootleg hoodie I bought afterwards, waiting for an autograph, reminiscing and writing lyrics on the train home - these were thrilling and memorable times. 

Since then I have spent some fantastic years playing both as a solo artist, and in CATBEAR (formally Cat Bear Tree). I moved to London and played across the capital’s venues having more amazing experiences as a performer, sometimes sharing the stage with amazing musicians I really looked up to. 

I live very close to one venue I used to travel far to come to gigs at - Brixton Academy. It’s an iconic 90 year old venue, with a sloped floor and big theatre vibes. It stands today boarded up, due to the ceasing of live music shows due to COVID-19. I walked past it on my daily exercise recently. Along the side road and past the stage door, I remembered a time I once queued, cold yet sweaty from being in the crowd of the gig, waiting afterwards to meet my idol Shirley Manson. I gave her a (probably terrible) demo cassette I had recorded myself on my 4-track recorder at home, and she graciously accepted it before signing a Garbage CD. I’m not sure why I gave her my cassette - maybe a “thank you for your music, this is where your influence has taken me” but that whole experience of travelling to London, waiting in line, running to the front of the crowd, watching my favourite live band whilst moving in time with thousands of other people, and the subsequent after show meet, was one of a few hugely impactful times so important for my development, as a young woman and as a musician. 

Walking past the stage door and the boarded up front doors of Brixton Academy made me worry of the prospect of a current generation of music fans missing out on those special experiences. With confusing news reports surrounding us, one possibility points to us maybe not having large live music events for years, and after we can, can the musicians afford to risk the prospect of a full-scale tour? I worry for the sustainability of the live music sector, for when we might be able to watch a gig again, but more than anything for for mid and low level acts who were already fighting to make a living playing live, and for the next generation who are only just discovering live music - I just hope that they still get the opportunity to sway in a beer-soaked crowd singing along to their favourite songs as the band plays the soundtrack to their Summer from the stage. 

/ Zoe Konez, CATBEAR

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