Interview: Cataline

by Deanna Chapman

I recently had the chance to ask Cataline some questions. Check out the interview below to learn how Cataline started, what’s coming up, and more. You can also stream “To Be Alive” at the end of the interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a producer and musician. I started on woodwinds when I was a kid but I’ve never been able to focus on any one thing. I got my degree in Fine Arts (conceptual sculpture mainly) but also went for writing, engineering, and composition. Grew up going to public school in Chicago. I was a tagger in high school and that got me into painting. While shrooming when I was 16 I heard the Beatle’s Abbey Road for the first time and realized I wanted to make music for the rest of my life. When not touring I work in the studio all day and paint or sketch at night while listening to Radiolab.  

How did you come to start Cataline?

A few years ago I almost died (not kidding). After that experience I decided I wanted to spend all of my time on music that was fun and inspiring- something that reflected the new wonder and joy I felt about being alive. I decided to name the band CATALINE after a 1st century BC Roman senator who was falsely accused of trying to overthrow the Republic because the Senate feared his populism. Aside from being a synth nerd and a sci-fi nerd, I’m also a history nerd.

Being from Chicago, which has a good music scene, what made you decide to come out to LA?

Chicago’s got an amazing music scene and I’m proud to have been a part of it, but I was more focused on the production end, and a lot of that work is out here. Also- there’s only so much damn winter a man can take.

Chicago’s also a big sports town, are you a fan of any of the teams?

No. Hate to admit it- a lot of my good friends are- but I never gave two shits about sports.

I’m sure you’re tuned into the LA scene. What local bands are you currently jamming out to?

Been listening to Banta, who are great. Poolside are also fantastic. Rainbow Jackson is a helova fun live show.

You mainly record your albums yourself. What is that process like?

Normally I’ll start with whatever chordal instrument I wrote the song on (keys, guitar, harmonium, etc) and then lay down the lead vocals. I think the most important aspect of a song is always the vocals so then I’ll track the backing vocals, harmonies and counter melodies. After that I’ll piece together the drums using Battery and a large sample library I’ve pieced together over the years. Once that’s all put together I start having as much fun as possible throwing stuff at the tune and seeing what sticks. I’m kind of a synth nerd so I’ll first run through a bunch of stuff I have in my studio- maybe the Odyssey or the Juno. Sometimes if I’m stuck I’ll invite over someone I know to just solo or riff over the tune and that will inspire me to move onto a whole different track- either way the most important thing is have as much fun as possible with the overdubs.

Who performs with you for live shows?

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have pieced together the band that I have. Mike Horick (Summer Darlings, Elevenses) is our drummer and he’s amazing. I know him from Chicago but he moved out to LA before I did. Erik Kertes is our bass player when he’s not on tour with Shakira. Boh Doran, an amazingly talented artist in her own right is our keyboard player, and Tiffin Rooley who plays guitar with I’m pretty sure everybody is our guitar player.

What’s coming up next for you once the new release is out?

Tour! Right now I’m booking a midwest to east coast tour that I’m really excited about. Then it’s back in the studio- I’m hoping to spend no more than a year in between records.

Where can our readers find you on social media?