The all-female band CATFIGHT immediately caught our attention with the release of their EP “Never Go Back”. We always have the hots for all-female metal bands, but this time we had to be very careful. You don’t want to end up in a catfight with these four rocking ladies on the prowl. Full of apprehension, we entered the lions den and found out that these ladies have got a lot on their sleeves. In the interview below, the band explains how the fight started and where we are today, plus we also take a look at the hopefully bright future of this all-female rock outfit. Just stay out of reach, when they show you their claws. Only then you will have a safe read....
When did you get together as a band and how did you all meet each other?
Samara: “I started CATFIGHT in 2009. It took more than a year to find the right line up. In the meantime, friends helped out to get the band on the live circuit, while I was auditioning for a permanent line up. Martha joined me in May 2010. Then Mags in September and Nix in October 2010. I met Martha through a lovely common friend Julie, who suggested we get together as I was looking for a guitarist. Mags was suggested to me by a common friend Mark Thorn, who fronts BUBBLE GUM SCREW and Nix by another common friend Spider from CONDITION DEAD/RATBAGS. We gelled straight away.”
Did you gain experience in other bands, before you started out as CATFIGHT or is this your first band experience? If yes, please mention in which bands you played and if you recorded anything with that band?
Samara: “I started as the guitarist in DARLING in 2005. I was called for an audition, when Angie decided to reform her band. We had a big management company backing us up, but Angie fell pregnant and decided to focus on her family. Then I joined SPIDER SUPERSTARS on guitar, MAXDMYZ on bass and NEMHAIN on rhythm guitar for their Dutch and Belgian tour in 2007. I didn’t record anything but demo versions with NEMHAIN. During my short time with NEMHAIN, I made a small contribution by writing the music for “Jane Doe”, which you can find on their debut album “From the Ashes”.”
Martha: “I played in a nu-metal band called DALKIER. We played gigs mainly around the South of England and had a small local following consisting mainly of spotty teenagers. We recorded an EP called “Exercise in Futility”.”
Nix: “I used to play in another band before, called THE BRAIN. Unfortunately after the singer left, we struggled to complete the right line-up and although I still love the songs that we created, we never got to record them properly.”
Mags: “I've played in a few bands over the past five years or so. My first band was RESONATOR (an indie band) NEON ANIMAL (formerly NEON DIAMOND; a glam punk rock band fronted by Mark Thorn) and played in a DARKNESS tribute band, which was a lot of fun! I also jammed with another indie band in the beginning and a couple of years later helped them out, until they found a permanent drummer. We did do some rough demo recordings, but nothing to write home about really. I also have a side project (melodic/classic rock), which has been running for about a year now but we have as yet been unable to find the right vocalist.”
Who came up with the band name CATFIGHT and did you girls argue a lot during this brainstorm session? (In other words: was the search for your band name a real ‘catfight’ or was the decision easily made?)
Samara: “I came up with the name, as I thought it reflected the music well. That was before the line up was completed. So many people told us it was such a great band name.”
Who can we see as your musical influences as a band and maybe we can have a look at the influences of each individual band member here as well?
Samara: “I’d say JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, THE RAMONES, THE MISFITS, HOLE, NIRVANA, L7, RANCID, THE DISTILLERS, GREEN DAY, JULIETTE AND THE LICKS , PJ HARVEY, NINE INCH NAILS, MONSTER MAGNET, MOTORHEAD, ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUNDGARDEN, etc.”
Martha: My influences are drawn from nu-metal bands with the heavy riffs of RAMMSTEIN, funky riffs from LIMP BIZKIT and the dynamics of TOOL.”
Nix: “Personally, I have a very wide musical taste, while I listen mainly to hardcore and punk music, I also really enjoy metal and rock music and pretty much anything of any style that catches my ear. My main influences, when it comes to bass playing, are bass players in punk bands such as ANTI FLAG (#2 is my hero, when it comes to bass playing), Joe Principe from RISE AGAINST, Papillon from THE BOUNCING SOULS, Hunter from AFI... I love that they don't just add the rhythm element, the bass itself, but how they also add loads of colour to the songs with more melodic and diverse bass lines. That's the example I took, when I started playing bass and musically, those are the steps I'm trying to follow.”
Mags: “At the risk of sounding boring, I never know what to say when people ask me that, because I feel that all the music I've ever heard has influenced me in some way. If I have to write band names, I'd mention NIRVANA and Dave Grohl's drumming and BEHEMOTH’s “Inferno” is an absolute powerhouse!! I do listen to a lot of metal, so I must be heavily influenced consciously or subconsciously.”
How would you describe your music yourself?
Samara: “Punk rock, punk grunge with a metal edge, but I was tempted to say ‘music you drink to’, as I recently heard from a lovely sweetheart ! Just thought it was a funny description and a good way to get away from labeling your music ;) It is definitely raw as we like it.”
Nix: “Fast, heavy, angry, melodic... sometimes all at once.”
Mags: “I'd say, that it’s basically rock. Some of the songs have a punk edge and some a metal edge, but all have a grungy CATFIGHT feel. It’s 'raw as fuck'.”
Who is responsible for the musical direction of CATFIGHT?
Samara: “We all are. I wrote “Break”, “Kill Me Again”, “The Pill” and “Hayleen” before the line up was complete. Then I also had “So Be It” and “Enemy”. When Martha joined me, we wrote “Walking On Steel” together and I then came up with the lyrics and vocal melody line. Martha also came up with the main riffs in “Leeches” and I added vocals. Since Mags and Nix joined in October, we wrote “Leeches”, “So Be It” and “Never Go Back” together. We all have ideas and riffs, then jam together and add things to them. I find it so much more enriching, when everyone brings ideas rather than limiting it to one person taking care of all the songwriting.”
Who writes the lyrics for CATFIGHT and what are they about?
Samara: “I do. They are mainly about emotions experienced or influenced by life, people’s stories, people and situations you come across or are confronted with. For example, “Break” is about the building/breaking process of relationships. I wrote this song five or six years ago! “Walking On Steel” is about a physical as well as a tormented emotional journey. “Hayleen” is a fictional character and was inspired by looking around me and in particular in the rock club scene. “Leeches” is about ill intentioned beings, etc. “Never Go Back” says it all . It’s about turning a new leaf and sticking to your convictions . Always!”
Please tell our readers how you work out new songs. Do you start with the music first or do you start with the lyrics? How does this process exactly go in CATFIGHT?
Samara: “It depends on the songs. I usually write the music first. Just grab my guitar, write the music, vocal melodies and lyrics, but some parts in “So Be It” were written around the vocal melodies, so I worked differently there. For “The Pill”, I wrote the music, lyrics and then vocal melody. As a band, we just come up with ideas, riffs and jam them. “Walking On Steel”, “Leeches” and “Never Go Back” were written, while we were jamming in my house. Martha came up with these amazing riffs, I added a few things on top and Nix added her bass lines and Mags brought them to life in the practice room. I rarely start with the lyrics. I prefer to start with the music first and then lyrics come naturally in their own time. I don’t say to myself ‘Alright I m going to write about this’, words come out and they let me know what the songs will be about rather than a conscious effort to write about a topic. Although “The Pill” was written in that way but that is the only one so far.”
Do you have any idea about how many copies were sold or downloaded of “Never Go Back” so far?
Samara: “No idea as yet, but we’ll look into it soon. It can only be ordered online so far or purchased at our shows.”
Did you also receive any negative feedback or reviews on the EP, and if yes how do you deal with these reactions? Do you try to learn something from it or do you rather like to forget about it as quickly as possible?
Samara: “We received mainly good reviews. All great apart for one, which mainly criticized us for ‘selling’ ourselves as an all-girl band. If we receive a bad review and we feel it is constructive criticism, then we’ll take notice, but if we feel it isn’t, we’ll joke about it.”
With which bands did you share the stage already?
Samara: “Many …. I can only name a few: DIE SO FLUID, BLACK SONIC, PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES, NEMHAIN, FERAL, AL. B. DAMNED, BUBBLE GUM SCREW … Sorry for those I have forgotten.”
What can people expect, when they come and see a CATFIGHT live show?
Samara: “Full on into our show.”
Martha: “Guitars in the air…”
Nix: “Energy blended with good music. I hate it, when you go see a band and they just stand and play like they're not even there. While that might be the best thing to do for a technically perfect show, for me, the emotion and energy you put into it is just as important as how you play your music, especially when it comes to a live show.”
Mags: “Feisty, raw and entertaining.”
Do you also play covers during your live shows or do you stick to your own written material? (I noticed, that you have been playing L7’s “Shitlist” for example at least once)
Samara: “Yes, we’re playing two covers, L7’s “Shitlist” and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS’ “Bad Reputation”, but we will probably drop “Shitlist” now and add another one you wouldn’t expect.”
Do you use any show elements during your live shows?
Martha: “We like to move around a lot on stage. Lots of guitars in the air, legs on drums and jumping up and down.”
Mags: “If you mean like pyrotechnics, then no. I was tempted to say that we get our boobs out, but some people might take that seriously...”
I can imagine, when four ladies go on the road, that you sometimes must get into hilarious situations. Maybe you can share some of these funny moments with our readers here?
Samara: “Hilarious moments are bound to be all started by Mags! We always have more space in the truck on the way back than on the way there. Why is that is a mystery…”
Martha: “Mags has an awesome truck with a hi-tec satelite navigation, in which she spends the entire journey there and back arguing with!”
Nix: “Roundabouts, that don't exist!”
Did you already play outside of England and if yes, where was that?
Samara: “Not yet, but we can’t wait to do so. We’ve been talking to a couple of promoters in Holland actually. Hopefully, it will take shape and happen as I played in Holland before and loved it. Loved the country and loved the people!”
With which band would you like to go on tour, when you could pick any band you like, and why?
Samara: “QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, ALICE IN CHAINS, GREEN DAY, THE MISFITS or MOTORHEAD…. Just because I love these bands and we would go down well with some of them possibly. Would love to open for DIE SO FLUID again, too.”
Nix: “Loads!! ANTI FLAG, because I love their music and their live energy. SICK OF IT ALL, because of their live shows. To see them live every night would be like a dream come true! They're such an adrenaline boost! CANCER BATS, because (again), I love their music and they're really nice people as well.”
Mags: “That is a really difficult question, because there are so many bands I love and I couldn't only go on my personal music taste, as we would have to fit the bill. Luckily though, we seem to slot into a lot of genres. MY DYING BRIDE, TRISTANIA, BEHEMOTH, but more realistically, genre wise, bands like HOLE.”
Are there any interesting shows on the agenda for CATFIGHT?
Samara: Well, we just finished our UK tour. We played a packed up show at The Borderline in London on Friday 28th of June. Then we played The Face Bar in Reading on Jan. 29th 2011 and in Esquires, Bedford on Febr. 5th 2011. The next one is at The Unicorn in London on Febr. 26th 2011.”
Do you have any plans already for playing on the European continent?
Samara: “Yes, especially we’re aiming for Holland at the moment. We would love to do a European tour, but that might be after the summer. We would need a booking agent to help us on a European tour. If you know any?”
What are the future plans of CATFIGHT? (short and long term, please)
Samara: “Recording a couple of more demo tracks, make a music video, play some summer festivals, record our album in the summer or autumn, tour Europe and we’d love to go to America and Japan. Rock out and make some noise and continue this amazing journey!”
Mags: “World domination!!”
We are an on line ‘zine, dedicated to female musicians in the (hard)rock and (heavy)metal scene. Do you ladies think, that women still need the attention that we like to give them or do you feel that you already get the recognition, that you deserve?
Samara: “We get attention. I think there is a demand for a good rocking all-girl band, but a lot of people want to be comforted with the idea that an all-girl band can’t be good musicians, too. Some will come and see us with this preconceived idea, that is so strongly rooted in their brain, that you have to be better to change their views. However most come to watch us, because they want to check us out, see a good show and enjoy the music and that is all.”
Martha: “I feel the press do give good attention to female orientated bands, however the sad fact is that there simply isn’t enough female rock musicians out there. You only have to look at the instrument shops in Denmark Street and rehearsal studios in London to see it’s a mainly male dominated area. I would love our shows to help influence other females to pick up a guitar, drums and play.”
Mags: “As more and more females are joining the music scene, women are becoming more accepted by this mainly male dominated industry and are at last gaining some recognition for their musical talent. There are still a lot of biased and/or skeptical people out there though, who think that it’s all about photo shoots and looking pretty on stage, rather than the music. So yes, your 'zine is brilliant and necessary, because it opens people’s minds and shows them that we can and do, make music and that's what it's all about!”
Metal Maidens is based in The Netherlands (or Holland, if you like). What more do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have wonderful windmills and colorful tulips here?
Samara: “That it is hard to find some fresh milk and this can bother English people. I personally don’t care whether it is UHT milk or fresh milk! It is the same story, where I originally come from in France. That people are very friendly, good at languages and love good music and that you can be checked twice (for drugs possibly?) at the airport even once you’re about to board the plane, if you look a bit too alternative!”
Martha: “Whenever I have worked with or met Dutch people, you are always very welcoming and friendly. You guys speak so many languages, it’s unreal and always puts the lazy English to shame! Oh and is it true Netherlands should actually be under water had it not be held back by dykes?”
Nix: “Most of the stuff I know about Holland is through friends who live or have toured there, but I don't know as much as I'd like to. A visit could change that!!!”
Mags: “I have to hold my hands up and be ashamed to admit, that I know virtually nothing about The Netherlands. I have visited Amsterdam, but the only thing I really know is that there are some cool festivals over there. I would love to visit properly and get to know the culture and maybe play there too.”
Do you have any hobbies or interests, besides playing music in a rock band?
Samara: “Music is what I love doing. If not playing it, listening to it, talking about it, seeing shows, going to the movies, socializing with friends, rollerblading, sun bathing and swimming, reading or criticizing politicians! I’m addicted to having a good time!”
Martha: “I like to play sports. I play in a ladies football team and do yoga to try and relax and unwind from having a stressful job. Love to go on holiday somewhere hot, visit new cities and meet new people.”
Nix: “Honestly, you can say music is pretty much my life. Most of my time (and money) is spent going to shows all over London (sometimes outside London). It's what kept me there in the first place. When I'm not playing or working, you're more than likely to find me in the sweatiest moshpits or the most crammed little venues, in hardcore and punk shows around the city. I also like exercise (weights especially) and cooking, even though I don't get as much time as I'd like to for either of those!”
Mags: “Music is my main passion, though I do have a wide range of interests too. I do have a particular interest in all things occult (like astrology, tarot, crystals, the paranormal, etc) Love the arts, ballet, theatre, museums, archaeology, astronomy, scuba and snorkelling. Oh and I'm partial to a bit of World of Warcraft!”
How many time do you spend practicing music together?
Samara: “Not enough time to my liking, because there isn’t enough hours in the day and because most of us have to work and make money, while being full on in the band. We practice twice a week whether it is a quiet or loud one, sometimes just once. We practice at home of course and email each other ideas as well and send each other about thirty emails a day!! We’d love to be full time and be able to play music eight hours a day … That would be awesome!”
You are probably working on new material right now. What can fans expect from your new songs and in what way will it differ from the four tracks, that we’ve heard on “Never Go Back”?
Samara: “The new tracks are heavier, punkier, more metal, angrier and sicker.”
Nix: “There's a lot more variety in it. I like to think, that this is due to all of us having such different musical influences, that blend in really well!”
Mags: “The new material is coming out quite a lot heavier than the four tracks on the EP, but still has that CATFIGHT edge.”
Could you find yourself in me mentioning the Riot Grrrl or punk sound being an influence in some of your songs?
Samara: “Yes, totally. It is very right indeed! I'm very much influenced by the nineties grunge sound and punk in general, but we’d like to think that our sound is a modern version of the genres that we are influenced by.”
Mags: “Yes, I can definitely see why you would identify us with that sound.”
Samara, please tell us a bit more about your band KAIN, which sounds a little bit more metal to me, than what you are doing with CATFIGHT? Who is in it, how long does it exist already and did you already record something with this band?
Samara: “KAIN is a side project, that I have with Jon Hughes and Simon Pledger. It is at a standstill at the moment, since we don’t have a drummer and Jon’s had to have a knee operation and is also busy with his other band MORTAD. KAIN was formed early 2010. It is a more metal outfit, due to the members’ musical influences. We recorded three songs; “Merciless”, “The Pill” and “In Grief”. You can hear two songs on our My Space site and “In Grief” will soon be added. The tracks were recorded by Andy Brook, Jon Hughes and the vocals by Barrington Meyer from THE DOORS ALIVE. All were mixed by Andy Brook from SHUSH. I might take it up again in the future if/when time allows. CATFIGHT is very busy at the moment, so KAIN will remain inactive for the time being.”
You work for Rock Solid Press, do some modeling, host a radio show, play in two different bands, appear in metal videos (MORTIIS for example), so obviously, you’re a very ambitious lady. Maybe you can tell us a bit more about the press work you are doing, after all we are some sort of colleagues from each other.
Samara: “I also appear in PANIC CELL’s “Fallen” video, FOREVER NEVER’s “As I Lie” video, directed and filmed by Ray Moody and his team at Visual Abuse and briefly in TREPONEM PAL’s “Planet Crash” video, made by director David Kenny at Genertik/Shash Media. I started Rock Solid press in 2008. after working as a TV presenter on Rockworld TV and as a journalist for Alternative magazine. A lot of bands were coming to me for help on how to get their music out there, promote their release and give it some exposure. Nowadays you have to do it yourself, if you’re not backed up by a label or can’t afford the services of a top PR agency. Rock solid was started to help these great bands. MALEFICENT and BLACK CANDY STORE are the bands I focused on, but at the moment with the tour and CATFIGHT’s busy schedule, Rock Solid is taking a couple of month’s holiday! It works perfectly as MALEFICENT are currently writing a new album and BLACK CANDY STORE are now focused on playing shows following the release of “Back To The Wall”.”
Where can people buy or download your EP. Please advertise here, it’s for free!
Mags: “Thank you! Our EP can be ordered at: firstname.lastname@example.org
for £3.50 including UK postage (check for rates abroad). We also have men’s and ladies’ tee shirts at £8.50 including UK postage.”
Who takes care of you’re MySpace site and your website and how important are modern techniques like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace for a band like CATFIGHT?
Samara: The four of us take care of our sites. Mags is totally looking after Vampire Freaks, I look after Facebook and we keep an eye on the My Space and Reverbnation ones once in a while. Facebook is great for letting people know about our gigs, releases, etc. I m personally not a fan of My Space. It really is no longer user–friendly. They seemed to have lost the plot. Established magazines tend to cover big known bands that already have a huge fan base for obvious reasons, so new bands have to market themselves on their own and these sites are the main vehicles. It is all ‘do-it-yourself’ these days."
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Samara: “We want to meet you and we’ll do everything to make it happen.”
Nix: “Go to shows, support your local scene, and hopefully see you soon!!!”
Mags: “Just to thank everyone for your continued support. We've had an awesome response and every single one of you counts!”
Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview. Maybe there is something we forgot to mention here that is essential for the story of CATFIGHT so far?
Samara: “I think, you covered everything.”
Mags: “We're looking for management and a record company to sign us....”
Martha: “….and some roadies to help carry our stuff.”
The last words in this interview are for Samara, Nix, Mags and Martha....
All: “Thank you for interviewing us. Peace out.”