CATBEAR is a synth-heavy, indie alt pop project formed of best friends Zoe Konez and Sarah Smith – transforming their deep life-chats into vibrant, upbeat songs as they process growing older (and becoming a bit too tired to go out on a weeknight).
CATBEAR leapt into existence in its current form in 2018 with the release of Beast Of The Night – an irreverent take on nightlife culture in your late 20s.
Unapologetically female and queer, they are proud to represent the 2% of female producers that are currently working in music and are committed to showcasing and championing women in all areas of the music industry. Their touring party is all-female/non-binary, something which is important to them, and they are committed to giving opportunities to collaborate and work with people who are in minority groups wherever possible.
Recently CATBEAR received both Arts Council and Help Musicians support for their UK tour, to open for indie legends long-time champions The Subways.
“Billy Lunn from the Subways has been one of our biggest champions from the start of our CATBEAR years, and has been asking us to play with him for a while now, but up until this year we just couldn’t make it work.” says Zoe,” Now with the backing of these amazing funds we are able to put on an exciting show and we can’t wait to hear what people think. It really does make all the difference having someone in your corner and we can’t thank Billy enough for all his support and endorsement.”
CATBEAR also have a brand-new single, I Choose Love and will be appearing with The Subways at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach on February 1st. Ahead of the show, Zoe reveals her music DNA inspirations to Andy Howells.
Tell us about your latest music release?
I Choose Love is our new single, out on January 27th.
The song is an unabashed, commitment to live as yourself in the face of ignorance and intolerance. I hope that it comes across as an optimistic and positive outlook even though it’s tackling the fact that lots of people don’t feel comfortable to live in the world in their own skin. The more we talk about it the more it changes, we hope.
It’s an upbeat, post-punk / new wave influenced indie sound with lots of synths and guitars and dreamy atmospheres.
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
I feel like music has always been there and my childhood was soundtracked by many songs I connected with intensely, so it’s hard to remember a first song, but I was obsessed with cassettes when I was young. I think I was about 4 years old, and I had a cassette with Willo the Wisp audiobook on one side and an album by African pop artist Mory Kanté album on the other. I remember wearing that cassette out. So, I guess “Yé ké yé ké” by Mory Kanté.
I had no idea what the lyrics meant but I sang my interpretation loud!
What was the first single you bought?
When I was young, I used to go down to Woolworths (RIP) and buy the reduced singles with my pocket money, so I discovered all sorts based on what was in the bargain bin! I can’t remember the first single I bought but that’s probably for the best. Let’s move on!!
What was the first album you owned?
I think it was Madonna – The Immaculate Collection – you know how when you are a kid you just hear a song and you are obsessed with that artist for a few months. I think I heard a Madonna song and then I got that album for my birthday and loved it loads. I still absolutely love 80s pop, you can probably tell from CATBEAR’s sound.
What’s your constant go to track?
I don’t have one – do people have one? There’s too much music in the world to have one favourite.
What’s your constant go to album?
Again, one is so difficult! But one album that is a nice headphone moment for me is Threads by Now, Now. I have good memories of the time it came out and it had a real impact on me sonically.
Who’s your latest music discovery?
We’re both loving ARXX, who we shared our first gig with this January – big rock riffs with gorgeous catchy melodies. Really uplifting and an awesome energy.
What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?
I don’t know – every time I sit down to make the next CATBEAR track I don’t know what’s going to come out. We’ve not made a body of work, so each new track happens as a standalone composition – I don’t know which one says “this is the sound of CATBEAR” the most. I’d love to know what other people think. Let us know!