by Ryan Meehan
If my memory serves me correctly, it was the early to mid-nineties when cassette tapes began to surface of Otis frontman Pat Stolley’s new side project The Multiple Cat. The music was very pop-oriented, and nothing in this area sounded like it. The band soon landed a deal with Zero Hour Records and released the album “Territory Shall Mean the Universe”. Since then, The Multiple Cat has released several discs, the newest of which is entitled “The Return of…” available now on Minneapolis’ Guilt Ridden Pop. He’s also back doing live shows with an all new band, and he’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
RM: The new album is called “The Return of…” and four of the songs are under three minutes in length. Is song length something that you really think about extensively during the writing process and again when you’re sequencing the record?
PS: Well, I like concise songs that don’t overstate their themes. That usually leads to shorter tunes, but not always. I don’t think about it from a record standpoint until it’s being sequenced. Overall, I’m thinking the shorter the better.
RM: What artists were you listening to during the making of this album? Was there any certain genre that seemed to pop up in your CD player more than others over that five year period?
PS: Hmmm. I don’t really remember specifics…I can tell you that I have some standards from my entire life that stay with me…Pink Floyd, Wire, Led Zep, Beatles, etc. I think I was on a more British kick, and was then and am now really, really over the whole Americana thing. It’s just been plowed into the ground for me. I buy and listen to a lot of new stuff too. Stand outs for me are Hot Chip, Here We Go Magic, Cotton Jones, The National, etc. I really like music with a “sound”. There are lots of generic recordings out there. They bore me to tears. I like odd sounds. I focused on that. There was a lot going on…both my parents died, and that was a big deal. It gets you thinking.
RM: You’re kind of more an old school guy when it comes to recording and recording techniques…Do you think that makes your opinion of whether or not a track is overproduced a little bit different since you don’t use a program like ProTools? Does it make you more critical of things you hear in the mix?
PS: I’d use Pro Tools if it made sense to me and it sounded better. I like the uncontrolled variable of tape. Introducing variables and limitations is my style now more than anything. I don’t think of myself as old school, because those guys can have a lot of rules and expectations, and I don’t have that going on. I try to be intuitive and flow-oriented without making too many conscious choices. I just want to be excited by what I hear. That can happen in a variety of ways…hi fi, lo fi, mid fi, etc. I’m a big fan of Steely Dan, who are accused of being over-produced.
RM: The lineup of the band is much different now than it was years ago aside from yourself, could you tell us a little bit about each member and what they bring to the table to make your music work on stage?
PS: Well, it’s me…same old story, Ben Crabb on bass and vox…he works at a record store called Ragged Records and does a ton of stuff and is a great guy, Eric Stone plays keys, guitar, and sings and he’s a copywriter and longtime friend who used to play in Chrash. Then, there’s Ryan Collins on drums..he teaches writing, is a poet, and director of the Midwest Writing Center…a busy man. It’s a great band..tight, and we all get along well and have a good time. The band live is pretty rocking due to Ryan and Ben being pretty aggressive (for cat standards) and me kinda filling things up with guitar. Eric smooths the whole thing out nicely. It’s my favorite incarnation of the live Cat yet.
RM: What will the next record sound like? Does anything stick out in your mind as something that you’ve always wanted to do? Would a concept record ever work for a band like The Multiple Cat?
PS: A concept record would definitely work. I think something like Rush’s “Caress of Steel”…like a side of singles and a side of trippy. I have a couple tunes, and I’ve jammed them a bit with the dudes, but I will likely just do what I always do and record to a click and overdub everything. I like the way things evolve that way. I’m not sure overall, but I can say that I bought a 1” 8 track tape recorder last year and I want to get that running for the record. I’m into less and less tracks and more and more “sound”. Odd sounds, I can’t explain them. I’d like to really mike up a drum set with nothing but totally crappy mics and preamps and make that as hi fi as I can…stuff like that. Make the sounds count. That’s what turns me on.
RM: What do the next twelve months have in store for the Xcat? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
PS: Well, I’m buying a building in Rock Island to house my studio, and me and my partner in the venture Josh Rose will be renting out space there and cleaning and fixing the place up. That will eat time. I’m working on a record with Jim Vallet from Track a Tiger called “Silver/Paint”. It’s kind of a darker thing, with me singing like late 80s Bowie. Fun stuff. I’m collaborating/producing a record with Iowa City’s Brooks Strause that will be really cool. That should be done this fall. I’m mixing a couple things…Jon Sunde from Daredevil Christopher Wright’s solo record, misc Daytrotter sessions…in the spring we may tour a bit. Thinking of getting something else out, but don’t know what. I have 3 kids too, so….
The Multiple Cat on bandcamp: http://themultiplecat.bandcamp.com/
The Multiple Cat on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themultiplecat
Guilt Ridden Pop on Twitter: https://twitter.com/guiltriddenpop
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