Cat’s Eyes: The Road Home Interview | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Cat’s Eyes

The Road Home

Jun 24, 2016 Issue # 57 - M83
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Despite dating and making music together for several years as Cat’s Eyes, last summer was the first time Faris Badwan visited Rachel Zeffira’s tiny Canadian hometown, located some 10 hours outside of Vancouver. Zeffira’s wash of emotions, generated by the experience of bringing her boyfriend back to her childhood home, was captured in the swoony ballad “Everything Moves,” found on the duo’s sophomore full-length, Treasure House. But Badwan, who hails from England, confesses that the journey had its share of cartoonish and apocalyptic moments as well.

“There were all these forest fires around town,” The Horrors’ frontman declares, wide-eyed wonder implied in his voice. “Huge forest fires. A surface area bigger than the size of London got burned. It was black all around. It drove all these bears into the town. While they were there, they stole the fruit from people’s trees. It was kind of funny.”

The pair captured video of the small-town setting late one night, driving through streets so deserted Badwan was able to jump out of the car and stand in the middle of intersections. That clip became the lyric video for “Chameleon Queen,” the first single from Treasure House. Written in fits and starts since the release of their 2011 self-titled debut, the album builds on the duo’s fractured 1950s girl group vibe, blending it with the ornate style they developed while scoring 2015 film The Duke of Burgundy. Stepping back from the reverb of their previous release, the two crafted a lush series of tracks, Badwan and Zeffira trading off vocal duties against orchestral scores (composed by Zeffira, calling on her training as a classical composer), handclaps, and spiky piano and guitar lines. With lyrics about the duality of love, heartache, and life, the mix makes for an unabashedly sentimental song-cycle.

“Both of our records have been biographical,” Zeffira confirms. “It’s seeing things from different angles. We probably share more about ourselves in our records than we do anywhere else. The most you can find out about us is through our records. I think it’s the only worthwhile way of doing it. Otherwise, I’d think, why would anyone care?”

But don’t get them wrong; despite songs of shapeshifting ex-lovers (“Chameleon Queen”), bad influences (“Drag”), and all manner of dangerous games, it’s all good in the Zeffira/Badwan household, despite what might be implied by the dark, domestic violence-themed music video the pair released for “Drag.” Let listeners believe whatever they want, Badwan declares. After all, if being in The Horrors, a band that has inspired fans from as far away as Japan to make pilgrimages to his stomping grounds, has taught him anything, it’s that he shouldn’t take his own mystique too seriously. A side of mystery can be a good thing.

“I don’t think it really matters,” he notes, picking up a pineapple-shaped shaker and rattling it at Zeffira. “I really enjoy reading the really weird stuff like [conspiracy theorist] David Icke where he’s going on about the royal family being lizards. It doesn’t make any sense. I think misconceptions can be kind of funny. I don’t really care which way rumors go. It’s amusing to me.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s May/June 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.

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