All this week, Behind the Setlist is previewing Volume, a music festival in Spokane, Washington that features 100 artists in 10 different venues across two days. Our Spokane team will be on the ground May 31 and June 1. Until then? We are listening to as many artists as we can, previewing those who turn our ears.
Pro Tip: Check out the official Volume Spotify playlist for a taste of every band.
CATE @ The Bartlett on June 1
Behind the Setlist spoke with CATE over email. The conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
CATE is such a unique blend of warm and soulful with an electronic vibe. What inspired/influenced this project?
I had a solo project back in 2012 that I put on hiatus when I joined my previous band, Barcelona. Now, with that band also on indefinite hiatus, I’ve been pouring myself into writing for this new project CATE over the last two years.
Half of my brain/heart is obsessed with ’40s/’50s/’60s crooner music, while the other half is almost completely keyboard and synth-drenched music. I’m exploring blending these influences into something cohesive and, well, good.
The layered vocals in “Do You Want My Love” really add to the emotional elements throughout. Any insight into where that song came from?
Thank you! That was the idea, to use MIDI-controlled harmony to really bring an emotion out that I felt couldn’t be expressed with my singular voice. The songs in CATE come from my rollercoaster of a love life, all pretty raw feelings that I’m grateful to be able to express through music.
This song in particular references someone I loved kinda over and over again and never really was reciprocated. I don’t think that’s a unique experience, most heartache songs aren’t, and I love that about writing songs. You know you’re gonna be speaking to something almost everyone has shared at one point or another.
What’s your favorite song to play live right now?
Probably the one I’m most stoked on right now is a brand new one I’ll be debuting at VOLUME called “Blue Heart.” In its current state it’s just me on electric guitar, which is a nice break from the keys-heavy stuff, and is very intimate and comes from a really fresh emotional/personal place. It’s likely gonna be the title track on my upcoming debut EP.
What goes into the making of a great setlist?
I’m a pretty basic setlist maker. I like to hit you in the teeth right away with the more powerful stuff, let you take a breather in the middle while I croon a bit more, and then finish the set off with more teeth-kicking. Musically and emotionally, of course.
If a Spokanite stumbles across CATE at Volume, what kind of show will they see?
A lotta heartbreak songs with a lotta guts. Hopefully you shed a tear or two. That’s not an official guarantee but it would make me feel cool if you did.
My brother Jackson is a phenomenal bass player and brings such a cool low-end element that I can’t do by myself on just keys and drum machine. I think we’re developing a really well-rounded sound that supports the lyrics.
Any plans for a new LP or EP?
My second single “Hold My Breath” releases on Friday, May 31 to kick off VOLUME, with a music video to follow June 7. My producer Max Harnishfeger (Water Monster, Super Sparkle, Cathedral Pearls) and I are spending the summer working on a six-song EP, which I hope to release in September.