Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers are the fantastic names of two guys who make alternative duo Gypsy & The Cat. Always at my upmost professional, not only did I arrive late for the interview, but also failed to turn my dictophone on so had re-ask all questions again. After apologising for my amusing clumsiness we talked music…
Living in East London can at times be oversaturated with music. I hear you live in East London, how are you finding it?
XAVIER: I think in London, it’s different because, there’s so much music going on, and it’s just….your way of life over here. So if you’re an alright band, it a little easier to get attention in Australia, whereas here you really need to work to get noticed.
Do you go out to check out bands?
LIONEL: Errr, we have been going out a little but not actively trying, usually it’s like if we are in a venue and a band is playing we’ll check it out.
XAVIER: Our promoter gets tickets to things, so we saw Yeasayer at Koko that was amazing.
LIONEL: But yeah…apart from big bands it harder for us to underground gigs, because we are either playing or new to knowing where to go.
How did you find the gig for the single release?
LIONEL: Yeah good, really good especially for our first real gig.
How was the album making process, are you guys still doing creating it?
LIONEL: No we finished it a while ago
As you started writing songs a long-time prior reaching the studio, how odd is having people who you are just getting know say “I would consider perhaps changing this”…when it’s been you two for so long?
XAVIER: It was even weirder because instead of going into the studio, those guys are from New York and L.A and we couldn’t get over there in time so we mixed via correspondents, so it was initially bizarre hearing some the things they did to our songs, so that they could take it to the next level.
LIONEL: Although Cenzo Townshend produced one of our songs ‘Jona Vark’ here, so we were able to go into the studio and do that with him and that was pretty easy we got on the same page almost straight away.
XAVIER: I mean most producers and engineers know what they are doing, so you kind learn to leave them to their own devices and they know not to change too much.
After you guys have put pen to paper in the beginning stages, do you think of the nature of the song and imagine what producer would be good for that?
XAVIER: Pretty much…
LIONEL: ….yeah kind of
XAVIER: It’s sort of like…well what’s your favourite act like ever? (jokingly)
Ummm…..(long awkward silence as I just try and think of one), at the moment ‘Hole’
XAVIER: Okay well that’s like when Courtney and the group finish an album they think who can take this material in the best direction possible, so for us it was just like our favourite current singles so like Dave Fridmann working on ‘The Flaming Lips’ and ‘MGMT’, we were like yeah we want that guy.
Is it easier now you’re signed to a major to have that in reachable contact, before it’s like ideal scenario now it’s a reality?
XAVIER: Yeah definitely
LIONEL: Originally we were just going to release songs in their initial format as downloads, just because we hadn’t really thought about going through this label process, we thought if people like the songs they will buy them off the website. So we were never really thinking about them getting remixed…
XAVIER: Not initially, but then as you go deeper into the rabbit hole and you learn more about where things could potentially go, what different platforms it could be on.
How did find each other and have you both always been on the same musical page, was it a match made in musical heaven? (Re-asked due to broken dictophone and sounds a lot more gimmicky than what I had previously asked)
LIONEL: hahaha that’s a different question you didn’t ask that question before
XAVIER: (Laughing) We were djing at the same nightclub and we were introduced and it was a match made in heaven.
Do either one of you naturally tend to write more songs than the other?
XAVIER: No one has ever walked in with a song pre-written
LIONEL: We write as we go really, write as we produce essentially
Also how you are guys dealing with all the comparisons in the British music press? It must get irritating surely?
XAVIER: Yep of course it’s majorly irritating
LIONEL: Yeah to be honest I think it happens around the world too
XAVIER: It happens in Australia, any new band that comes out are being constantly compared. I think it’s a lack of intuition. People might say “O you sound like Empire of the Sun or Fleetwood Mac”. There might be a thousand people that love those bands, but they will be fifty people who don’t. So the fifty that don’t won’t go out and listen to your music with their own ears because someone said it might sound like that. I think everyone should just take everything for what it is.
LIONEL: I think we are all guilty of comparing new music to something prior. When Coldplay came out people said they sounded like U2….
XAVIER:….yes every band starts out like, you just live in hope that you make it past that moment in your career to be taken on your own merit.