“I think the music we’re making now reflects us as a group,” enthuses Catalysis vocalist and bassist, Colin MacGregor, “all of our collective influences, more than anything we have done before. We’re in the middle of recording our first full length just now, and we’re so happy to be pulling together. It’s a real collective effort. Plus, we all get bored pretty quickly, so it’s nice to keep it fresh, keep moving forward. I think that we’re all getting better at understanding what we can all do, how to push each other to be better, and get the best out of each other. Sean [Ramson, guitar] and Drew [Cochrane, lead guitar] are really locking in, and Calum and I are finding the groove better than ever. I guess that’s why our sound keeps moving.
Recently, it’s been moving across to mainland Europe for a short tour. How did this compare to gigs on safe home turf?
CM: The tour was insane man. Blew our minds. First gig we played was a wee biker bar in a warehouse outside Charleroi and we were all like “Shit, we’ve seen Green Room, man! We’re going to die here!”, but the venue, the promoter, and the other bands were unbelievably welcoming. The place was rammed by the time we played, and everyone was just so into what we were doing. I think there was just this level of respect for us as artists, that we’re not used to. Maybe because we came all the way from Scotland to play, or maybe just because they loved the tunes. We met so many unbelievable people, were fed, and offered board by strangers who treated us like friends, without a question. I’d normally swerve such clichéd affectations as ‘metal family’, and that kind of thing, but there was an underlying respect everywhere we went, that was really touching. Sold a ton of merch, too.
Photo credit: Gennaro di Marino
It’s always nice – and fairly impressive – to hear that things have come through so well for a band organising DIY tours. It’s no mean feat.
CM: That was all Drew, to be honest. He’s some lad once he has a mission. We started with Aggressive Music Fest in Pohoří, north of Prague, and then filled out with gigs on the way there and back. He must have contacted every venue in central Europe. We really owe it to him for the amount of stress he took on. Then we just stuck all our stuff in the back of my van and drove. It was the best of times, man. Really. I mean we stayed in some nice places, but some absolute dives, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I reckon we all feel the same. Have to add that we picked up Drew’s friend from Italy, who lives in France, and he was really great too. Not only did he document it all, we all got a chance to break out and chat to him, away from the band which [laughing] I think helped us from wanting to kill each other!
Above, Colin also mentions success with merch. Earlier in the year, they had a killer shirt designed by fantastic artist Hester Aspland. How does he see the importance of good quality merchandise for upcoming bands?
CM: Thanks man, I appreciate that. We had this idea of a world dying, and some industry theme, and approached Hester about it, and she was into it. To be honest, I expected we’d get something pretty generic, but cool, but the final version blew my mind, man. It’s the only one of the Catalysis tees that I have, ’cause I love it that much. I think, in this day and age of visual media, it’s important to have something that really stands out, and makes a statement of what you’re about, and this shirt is all of that. To work with an artist who gets what you’re about is priceless. Merch is one of the few ways we have of recouping what we put into the band, too, so something that will sell is really important.
Being that they are mainly Dundee based, a lot of the local attendees will already be familiar with Catalysis. It had to be asked what is planned for this event, and going forward, to keep it fresh for those people.
CM: We’re at the stage now where we have enough material to change up our set to play what we feel is right, so we try to make sure we keep bits and pieces from our oldest recordings in there, and we’re not afraid to get our feet wet with new material, too. We’ll be playing Just Turn Back, our most recent single, and Devils In The Panic Room (both of which will be on the new album) at Hordes. Really looking forward to seeing how they go down. Devils is nuts!
It’s a total honour to be asked to play Hordes. It’s one of the biggest dates on the metal calendar in Scotland, and this year’s lineup is just incredible. As I said, we’re working on our first full length just now, and I know I speak for all four of us when I say we’re so excited to get it out. For me, it’s the most expansive material we’ve written, it’s going to be bigger, bolder, faster, and heavier than anything we’ve done. But there will be a couple of surprises in there, too.