What are your names?
Zoe Konez and Sarah Smith
What is the band’s name?
How did you come up with the band’s name?
We saw a video on YouTube about a cat that chased a bear up a tree and it made us laugh so we called ourselves Cat Bear Tree. And for a good few years we were playing under that name as a threesome and people would assign us the different animals. But when Claudia left the band we decided to rebrand and merged the name into CATBEAR to signal a change in our line up and moving to a more electronic synth sound.
What is your genre of music?
Hmm.. this is always tricky but I guess we are synth-pop or indie-pop. I guess you could say that we have the retro synths of the 80s mixed with the riot grrrl attitude of the 90s.
Give us a little bio about you.
Born out of the London grrrl movement in the mid 2010s CATBEAR gives us indie synth pop classics and androgynous anthems that leave you feeling full of big dick energy. Self-produced and recorded in the depths of their home studio, CATBEAR has a candidly DIY and independent soul. Zoe (lead guitar, vocals) and Sarah (drums, vocals) have grown and developed CATBEAR from its teenage identity as Cat Bear Tree and evolved it to become the empowered voice for two friends to make self-assured music through.
What made you go in to music?
There was no other option – music is the only thing that feels right!
Are you signed?
Nope we release everything independently.
You released your new single ‘Unrequited Love’, tell us more about the single.
It’s our second single and follows on from our first single as CATBEAR called Beast of the Night which was a real 80s synth-pop track. Unrequited Love has a similar synth vibe and was really fun to create. Zoe wrote the song and recorded it in her home studio with Sarah laying down the vocals in Zoe’s wardrobe! It’s fully self-produced and self-released. And we’re really proud of what we achieved with it.
What is the meaning behind the single?
It’s about having a friend that’s never anything more, but you want it to be more. And knowing that you’d be a really good partner for them, but the frustration that they don’t think of you like that. But it’s also a little bit sexy because maybe you can lure them… maybe…!
Describe the track in two words.
What was the writing process like?
Zoe: We used to write songs in the rehearsal room around guitar riffs but now they kind of come to me when I’m out and about. I think this song came into my head while walking along and I rushed home to get it written. I was having musical visions in my head which involved quite a lot of 80s pop in the middle section – things like Quincy Jones production and Chaka Khan rhythms, and then trying to realise that in the song.
What was the recording process like?
It was all recorded at home in Zoe’s studio so it was very DIY and involved lots of cheese and beans on toast.
Who did you work with on the single?
It was mainly just the two of us, but we worked with an amazing mixing engineer called Oz Craggs who we were recommended by one of our favourite bands called Skies.
Will we see a music video for the single?
Yes! We’ll be bringing out a video soon.. watch this space!
Will we see an Ep or Album and If so what can we expect?
Let’s see what 2020 brings.. we’re writing and recording at the moment so there’s definitely more to come!
Do you have any shows coming up?
We’re still writing and recording new songs so a show right now would be very short. But hopefully there’ll be a chance to come and see us soon.
What else can we expect in 2019?
We’re going to be squirrelled away writing and recording ready for new music in 2020.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any upcoming artists?
Nothing to talk about yet but definitely some ideas 😉
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
Yes definitely keen to collaborate, always. Some of the most exciting music happens this way.
Do you play any instruments?
All of the ones that you can hear in our music are played by us.
Who are your influences?
80s pop, 90s riot grrrl, 00s indie and current independent artists who are doing exciting things and are doing it in their own way.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Sometimes it’s listening to other amazing songs, or when unfortunate things happen in life and it’s a really great way to process them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?
Making music on our own terms, being friends with other amazing musicians, and travelling with our music more.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Sarah’s also an NHS superhero and Zoe teaches on a music production degree.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more into the music scene? /
Zoe: Seeing The Donnas play Take It Off live as a teenager was a pinnacle moment for me wanting to start a grrrl band – they were wearing Converse, their hair flying everywhere and had loads of attitude and they played really well. In a sea of boy bands it was so motivating to see young women kicking ass
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
I skipped this question and came back to it, so the advice I just gave aspiring musicians I wish I had taken on board as a younger musician!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Make as much music as you can and don’t think about how good it is. Just keep doing it.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Don’t wait until you feel 100% ready because you never will be.
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
London has so much to offer it’s impossible to choose just one place. But somewhere with a roof garden or view over the city – maybe the Sky Garden or the Tate Modern.
You’re coming off tour;
Where do you go first? Our own bed. We love the home comforts!
What do you eat first? The hardest thing to find on tour is fresh vegetables – so loads of veg!
When you are at a gig, what are the 5 things you cannot forget?
Water (rock and roll!)
Spare of everything