Newcomer in the synthwave scene, Cat Temper has just released his first album : Purring for Vengeance. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
Check out the interview!
Headphones For Robots: Who is Cat Temper? Where do you come from? Where do you live?
Cat Temper: Cat Temper is me, Mike Langlie. I’m a musician, artist and graphic designer raised in upstate New York and living in the Boston, MA area of the US.
HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences?
CT: I was a kid in the pre-internet age and was lucky to have a great local college radio station (WHRW 90.5FM) to guide my tastes and curiosity. They play anything from punk, reggae, psychedelia, experimental electronics to harsh noise to name a few things that caught my young ears.
In high school I listened to many genres like skate punk, prog rock, death metal, electrofunk, and especially new wave and synthpop. Artists who have stuck with me the longest include Devo, Duran Duran, Prince, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, The Art of Noise and Men Without Hats, though you might not guess from hearing my music.
HFR: You have just released an album: Purring for Vengeance. How did you approach writing the tracks?
CT: I started out playing synths in punk, industrial and gothic leaning bands before switching gears entirely. My longest running project is Twink The Toy Piano Band (www.ToyPianoBand.com) which has been noted by certain outlets as helping to define the “Toytronica” movement.
Last year it felt like time to change direction and return to my synth roots. I traded in the bunnies (mascots of my toy instrument band) and started making tracks inspired by the behaviour of my obnoxious cats. The synthwave scene is great but I couldn’t imagine competing with so many talented artists already treading that ground. I deliberately went big and dumb in the writing and production to mainly amuse myself.
HFR: Can you tell us a special anecdote about the making of your album?
CT: Close to finishing the album I shared a couple of tracks with someone I haven’t talked
HFR: You album breathes video games. Do you like to play? what kind of games do you enjoy?
CT: To be honest I hardly have time to play anything these days. Free time is so sparse that I usually spend it creating rather than consuming. When I do play I gravitate towards the 8-bit games I grew up on, which influenced my musical style as much as any bands. Once in a while I have a house party to play my huge collection of Atari 2600 games.
HFR: Could you tell us a bit about your “go to” equipment? If you have to bring one software and one hardware on a desert island, what would it be?
CT: I’ve owned and sold a lot of gear over the years. Gradually I moved almost entirely to virtual synths which allows me to write on the move. I’m a big fan of Propellerhead Reason, especially now that they’ve opened up to using VSTs, so that’s my easy software choice.
The one hardware synth I’ll never part with is a Casio CZ-101 which I still use it in many of my tunes. I also have a website to sell Casio CZ patch collections that recreate the sounds from classic 1980s synthpop songs. (www.CZounds.com)
HFR: Will you play your new album live? Do you have other projects?
CT: No plans to play live right now due to lack of time. It’s possible I may release more material for Twink but in the meantime I’m already working on ideas and material for several more Cat Temper albums.
HFR: Last words?
CT: As I said I’m excited about the resurgence of synth-based music and glad to contribute a drop to that electronic ocean. Making music has always been first and foremost a way to entertain myself, so hearing from anyone that appreciates it is a bonus that I’m grateful for.
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