INTERVIEW: Comfort Cat & Friends

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’re as good as good can be during a pandemic. We’re just doing what we can. Two of us just got our first jabs, so that’s something.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Consumption”?

This album feels like congested karma to me. I’ve been wanting to get these songs recorded forever. But it was worth the wait. While my past albums were largely recorded in my apartments, with contributors emailing their overdubs to me, Consumption was the result of several years of my band (Jason Laney, Dan Veksler, and myself) rehearsing and performing, and tweaking our arrangements based off of what worked live – which is how I’ve always wanted to record an album. Plus, it was partially funded by a grant*. The panelists actually thought my songwriting was worth public funding, and that is a huge milestone for me.

*This project was funded (in part) by a DCA Premier Grant from Staten Island Arts, with public funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

No particular event inspired it. I just called the album “Consumption” because my first 2 EPs were “sniff” and “spit,” and since this one is much longer, the title gets to have more syllables.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

My lyrics are very important to me as a songwriter, so I wanted to showcase those as best I could. I used free stock footage to make it a little more visually appealing, but there is no particular story. I just thought the cat looked like it spent a lot of time stuck indoors, which is basically the mood of the song.

The single comes off your new album – what’s the story behind the title?

It pretty much just comes from the first verse. It just seems like “this” is all we have. I don’t want to call it anything else (“life,” “the cyclical experience,” “existence,” etc) because that would be too specific.

How was the recording and writing process?

Our songs have frequent tempo changes, and we get most of our energy and ideas from playing together as an ensemble, so we can’t overdub every instrument one at a time (like on most songs being recorded today) and expect it to gel. We were a little old-fashioned on this and live-recorded almost everything, with no click track. We did overdub a few things, including some of my vocals, which is why there’s a vintage-y double-tracked effect on “This,” where you can hear my vocal bleed on the ukulele track along with the final overdub.

What role does NYC play in your music?

Supposedly, I can be whoever I want to be, but I’d rather do that in NYC. I’m from a small town, where people called me “psycho” on a regular basis, or even just flat-out “evil.” But I’ve found my real tribe/audience in NYC: creatives who are simultaneously intrigued and unruffled by one another. If life ever gets worse for me, I’ll always remember that New York was my greatest enabler.

With a great love for kitties – do these beautiful creatures influences your music in any way?

As you can deduce from the album cover (expertly designed by Ilya Popenko), I feel more like a cat-like creature than a human. I am definitely not a female singer-songwriter. I think the biggest compliment I ever got was when a friend told me that I don’t sound like “a woman singer” – and that I just sound human. And other people think I sound like a cat sometimes, which is also probably true. I’ve wanted to be a cat since I was 5 years old, so I’m bound to have a few things in common with them by now.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

From my life. I try to write about feelings I don’t have the courage to articulate in normal conversation. Or the mistakes I’ve made in spite of supposedly knowing better. Sometimes I even think it’s not music that’s important to me – that all I really care about is screaming my story at people. It’s always the same story, over and over again: “Listen to my pain and CARE.” If people see their own pain in yours, they’re more likely to dig the song. Manipulation at its finest

What else is happening next in Comfort Cat & Friends’ world?

We want to get back to performing. Pre-pandemic, we were hoping to start traveling and playing in other cities, but that was obviously put on hold. It’s been grueling without live shows, not just as a performer, but as someone who likes to go out and support my artist friends.

This - Consumption (Official Lyric Video)

Pre-Save Consumption album:


About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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