By Kieran Webber
The Multiple Cat are a collective project of musicians fronted and created by Patrick Stolley, since 1995 they have had several releases with their most recent being ‘Intricate Maps’ which is available via Cartouche Records.
It is also worth noting that this is the first album that was written mostly as a band and the first record of theirs to be made as a trio.
We caught up with the legendary Patrick Stolley for a chat to discuss The Multiple Cat and its influence as well as his record label Futureappletree records.
So to start what is the story of The Multiple Cat?
Hmm. It was after my old band Otis ended, and I was just hanging out in the basement of a friend of mine’s (his mom wanted people around…his dad had died and she didn’t mind the noise). We had a 4 track reel to reel setup and would just jam and jam. The songs sort of gelled out of jams, with different players coming in, next thing I knew I had a bunch of recordings.
How did the name The Multiple Cat come about?
That same friend, Matt Trimble, was working at a grocery store stocking shelves. He has a funny sense of humor, and started saying “multiple cat formula cat litter for multiple cats” and he’d kind of say it over and over again. We laughed about the absurdity of the idea…that it mattered how many cats pissed and shit in this stuff. The name is more about that notion…the meaningless-ness of it, and how people don’t really stop to think about it. Stringless yo yo is my publishing name, and is the same concept.
Explain to us your recording process how does it work, who writes the music?
I write the songs, usually from just picking up the guitar or sitting at the piano. A germ of an idea or a lyric will pop up, I’ll develop it, bring it to practice and jam it out a bit, do a rough recording, work with that, bring it back to practice, etc. etc. Either that or I’ll just lay down a drum machine beat and start adding stuff to it, then edit it down till it works for me.
What was the infuence behind the latest LP ‘Intricate Maps’ ?
Most of the lyrical themes revolve around my interest in philosophical alchemy, and specifically CG Jung’s writings on psychology and alchemy. Really, with the exception of David, there is a thread of alchemical symbolism in every song. All but 2 songs were written with the band and rehearsed live before recording, which is different, because a lot of times I’ll do a click and write as I go.
“Most of the lyrical themes revolve around my interest in philosophical alchemy, and specifically CG Jung’s writings on psychology and alchemy”
Do you yourself have any idols or people who are an infuence on your music ?
Oh, yeah. I’d say Colin Newman, Brian Eno, Paul McCartney, Sam Prekop..those some to mind.
In the past The Multiple Cat has had a rotating cast of musicians what was the benefit of this?
Really it is about time and availability. It’s not really a “band”, so it just works out that I come up with some songs and we learn them to play live, or we play a bit in the studio and that lineup lasts a while. It’s random, kind of. The benefit is that there is no real pressure or expectation involved. If it works, it works. No one sweats it if it doesn’t.
Recently though the line-up has seemed more permanent with Ben Crabb on bass and Andrew Barkau on drums what is the reason for moving to a more permanent line-up?
The real reason Is that we have a band that plays live, so it makes sense to jam things out together before recording. I may do something alone, or with the guys, it’s really just what I want to do and everyone is cool with that. It’s been fun to do as a band. Ben has been in mcat 4 years. He’s just a really solid devotee to the craft, although he has other projects like his band US MODE. He plays bass like me, but he’s better…so I love it! This week (2/16) we played with Marty Reyhons on drums Monday, Andrew Barkau on Friday, and Phil Pracht on Saturday. So, the drummer thing seems a little fluid, but it’s good to have dudes at the ready. Andrew is on board for now, at least until his new job at Daytrotter running their venue swallows his schedule whole!
What are your top 5 records of all time (so far) and why?
That is really, really tough.
Not in any real order:
Pink Floyd/Meddle..I just never get sick of this record. There are so many moods and ideas, and the sounds are fantastic. David Gilmour on Pillow of Winds…so soft, transcendent. Echoes, Fearless…
The Clash/London Calling…I think this is the best rock record ever made. It’s just a production tour de force…there are so many things happening under what seems like just a bunch of heavy pop jams. Guy Stevens was a madman. Look for the video of these recordings…it’s nuts!
Wire/The Ideal Copy…This record is such a synthesis of all things rock, punk, techno, pop, avant garde…masterful and perfect start to finish. My first copy of this was given to me by a local dj named Denis. He said “you might like this..it kinda sounds like New Order”. That drew me in, but Wire in total blows my mind to this day.
The Grateful Dead/American Beauty…If you love this record, you already know why I love this record. If you don’t, you don’t. There isn’t a lot of in between. I can say Phil Lesh makes this record what it is, and so subtle and aggressive at the same time. Best bass record ever made, maybe.
The Sea and Cake/The Fawn…The pinnacle of one of the best bands of all time to me. They really got moods and sounds right on the Fawn, both dance-y and powerful, abstract and solid pop…it’s a perfect driving record, summer record, winter record…
You are actually the founder of Futureappletree Records why did you make this company? What was it you wanted to achieve with it?
I started that with my friend Jason Parris and a few others. Jason was in Driver of the Year. Jason was also in Mcat for a while, live and on record. We just wanted to give us and our friends a shot at getting records out there. We thought if we could be a collective, we could save on costs, and we did. The only downside is that collective requires constant contact and cooperation, and that didn’t last forever. Now the site is there, and we release stuff “through” it…but it’s really legacy, and my studio is named for it because it fits, and most of the material was done there.
“We just wanted to give us and our friends a shot at getting records out there”
Lastly, what is in the pipeline for The Multiple Cat?
Well, we plan to do some shows through the spring, and we’ve begun writing some new material with Andrew Barkau. I’ll probably get them down on tape one at a time, and release them as lathe cut mono singles with a stereo download, with the idea of a potential lp comp later on. That’s what I’m thinking anyway. It’s harder and harder to get out and play with my young kids, studio work, etc. but It’s really fun. More of the same, I suppose. I feel like I put it down and pick it up depending on what’s going on in my life.