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Cathercist Interview - Part 2


Here it is! Part 2 from Amber's  interview with up and coming Cathercist's front man, Zack Sawyer.





                                                     Photo by Jonathan Willner


What were you doing before Cathercist?

”Before I was in Cathercist, I was in a band with Matt Marciana and Daniel Ferguson. We were called 35 Point Week. It's a Demetri Martin sketch from a long time ago. That's where we got the name from.  I guess you could say we were a Progressive/Alternative/Metal kind of thing. That was kind of the style that we were playing. What happened was we discovered this band called Protest the Hero. It changed a lot about the way we thought about music because me and Daniel didn't feel like we were writing to our abilities. We felt like, man, we've  been writing these songs…and we can just do so much more than this. So, that became that kind of Prog/Metal project that we did. Matt quit the band and me and Daniel were sitting there…you know, we didn't have a band anymore… and at the time I played guitar. I knew this band, Cathercist, and they had been working together for a little while and they had a singer that they were trying out and he ended up leaving. I think he left the same day Matt left and I called Taylor, because we knew each other. We'd played a few shows together. I said, "My band just broke up." He said "My singer just kinda quit…" and I was just, like "Well, when's practice?" Pretty much just showed up and over the years, the people that I had been playing with prior to that trickled into this band, Daniel and Matt, and I quit playing guitar and we had Taylor and finally Mikhail rounded it out on bass. It's almost my old band! So, what I've got now, out of all the projects I've played in, over time, these are all the people that I've felt most comfortable writing music with over the years.  It just kind of happened on accident and it just turned into this great thing. I don't want to be anywhere else."


You were in the US Marine Corp. Does Cathercist have any plans or aspirations to play for our troops, State Side or abroad?

"If it was a possibility to do a USO tour, play from base to base and move on to the next, or even across country, across the world, we would love that opportunity.  It hasn't presented itself to us yet, but if we could, that would be a major thing for us. A lot of our fan base is in the military. Our military fans have helped to spread us to where we are selling CD's in 40 countries now. That's just from them. They'll take a CD and go on base somewhere in Russia or Germany, and it just kind of spreads out from there. It's all a word of mouth thing, and that's the best advertisement there is.

What, if anything, have you learned about yourself while on tour?

"Well...I've been working on some things about myself, like my patience and things like that, because you have to have it. There's a lot of hurry up and wait. You know, you hurry up and get there, you're supposed to be there at 4 o'clock, and you get there, the bar wanted you at 4 o'clock, so you drive all night to make it, and then they don't show up until 8 o'clock. You know. Thanks a lot. We could have had more time in our hotel room. So, patience is one of those things I’m trying to learn, and also an understanding for people, because you don't know what a person is going through in their everyday life, and that's the same thing for the people I meet. So, I have to make sure that, you know, I try not to come off as I'm not interested in talking to people, but sometimes, people don't know that you're on a mission. You're like 'I gotta go do this real quick…I gotta handle this, get this done, because my ass is on the line..' and then people will come up to you and want to talk, and I WANT to talk to them, and I feel so bad when I have to walk away, because it just feels like…that I wasn't interested, but that's not even true. That's not even close to true, but people don't understand, because we don't carry a crew...we don't have people to handle our things...we do it ourselves. We just haven't made it to that next level yet. I've also learned that we can survive on a lot less money than I ever thought!”

Who do you think is underrated as a band or artist?

"I'd say...with every tour that we go on, we see just amazing people and amazing bands, so as far as bands that I think are underrated, I think Taproot's underrated. I think American Head Charge is and Righteous Vendetta. All three of those bands, because those are the three bands that we've been doing national tours with and we've gotten to know. I think they have the strongest work ethics I've ever seen…they have everything...they're music is amazing. Taproot, I've always been a fan, but seeing them in concert, 30 times in a row, it's just a new respect. They put on the same show every night. It doesn't matter if there's 10,000 people there or if there's 20, they're gonna put on the best show that they can, and they kill it every night. Same with American Head Charge and Righteous Vendetta…and Nothing More, the band I was telling you about earlier. They're one of my favorite bands right now and they're just now getting into the spotlight. They just signed a huge record deal, so you'll know who they are very soon."

Any bands or artists that you would like to collaborate with or cover?

"You know…we've never played it live...it's not even ready, but we do kind of play around with a version of "Locked out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars. It's just something different. He's another inspiration of mine. Him, Michael Jackson, because…I don't think we can just take our inspirations from our genre, just Metal, you know, that's insane. I'm inspired by all the music I've heard my entire life. It's because you can't forget it. It's with you. I would love to cover a Bruno Mars song. As far as collaborations go, I honestly don't know. I think there's way too many people I'd be interested in doing something with to name just one or two.

Cathercist was the winner of this year's Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands to play Rockville.  What was it like to win that contest?

"We entered the contest with… I honestly don't know exactly how many other bands…I think there were over one thousand entries. It was a fan voting contest until that was over….and then from the top 100 fan-voted bands, the judges picked the band that they wanted to win. This year they chose us. I'd have to say that we've been in this contest 3 times. The first time, we won the preliminary round and were given the opportunity to play Uproar Fest...and that was in 2011. We played with Avenged Sevenfold, Sevendust, Seether, Three Days Grace…just a ton of amazing acts. That was a very cool experience for me. Now, it's a couple years later and they chose us to win the whole contest. We just got an Ernie Ball endorsement, too, so now we're hooked up with Ernie Ball, and we couldn't be happier about that. It was just overall really great for us right now.  

You say Metal is not the genre you grew up with, so what genres did you listen to growing up?

"I grew up on the 90's stuff. Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus. For a couple years of my life, I didn't think that any other bands existed. I wouldn't listen to anything else. Oh, and Queen, obviously. I grew up listening to a lot of Queen. They've been a major influence. Now, I met a good friend of mine, Jeff Reams, who introduced me to Metal when I was about 14 years old. That's when I started kinda getting into Metal a little bit. You know, I never even considered myself a Metal vocalist. When I joined this band, I told Taylor 'You know I think, I can sing ok…but I kinda… can scream a little bit? But it's not really there yet…' and that was the truth. I don't think I'd ever heard screaming like that until The Used came out when I was in high school, and I thought it was the craziest thing I had ever heard. I wanted to do that so bad...and I tried and tried. I think it took me probably about 3 years until I finally figured out how to scream in the way I do it. I wouldn't say I spent every day working on it, because even though it was interesting to me, I'd always been into Hard Rock and Alternative acts, so, a lot a lot of screaming, like what we do now sometimes, was not really what I was trying to accomplish. I just wanted to learn it because I thought it was cool. The early versions of this band, before we put out the first record, a lot of it was screamed instead of sang and I ended up deciding I wanted to sing a lot more, cuz, that's what I wanted to do with it on the record, in the end. You know, we sing all our choruses. At least so far, we don't have any choruses that just screaming, and that's by design. I want people to be able to sing along to our songs, and not everybody knows how to scream and sing along, and people love that too, the more aggressive side, but there's more than one side. I try to use the screaming as an effect. Not just scream for no reason, something important that you want to say...and use that as a technique to highlight it instead of just doing it for the sake of doing it.

When can we expect to hear some new material?

"There are talks within the band about possibly releasing some new material...maybe by the end of the year. That may not be a full record. That may just be a couple songs that we release."


Many bands of late have been releasing acoustic versions of albums. Are there any plans for Cathercist to put out some acoustic material?

"Every now and then, we'll go up to a radio station and we'll play 'If Anything at all', live, on the air, something like that, acoustic. As far as an album goes, it's definitely very interesting to me because it would give me an opportunity to show another side of my vocal style that I haven't had an opportunity to do yet in our band. So far in Cathercist, the vocal style is aggressive, even with all the singing, it's supposed to be a more aggressive, hard style, in your face singing. I want to tone it down and sing some prettier things...sing some lighter styles of vocals, because it is very interesting to me, but we're gonna have to write the music to do that first. That could mean doing an acoustic record one day or it could mean just adding a few new elements and flavors to the new music that will be coming. As for right now, our next release, I one-hundred percent believe will be a full length record, but not an acoustic album.

As a band, what are your career goals right now?

"Our career goals as a band are relatively simple, I'd say. What we want, more than anything, is to go into this far enough to have a career for the rest of our lives. Whether that means that we sell out auditoriums or we just tour the way we do now…as long as that means that we can continue on in music and this path and reach some more people. Even if it's just one fan at a time, that's good enough."

What are some of your biggest challenges right now?

"The big obstacle right now is that we really are in need of some more funding to continue on the path that we're going. We can tour until we're blue in the face...what we need is to get seen by bigger crowds at one time. Sometimes these shows aren't promoted very well. We're not big enough to draw the crowd that we want to be playing for every night. Our crowds are great. We rely on touring with other bands to make new fans. So, funding is a big issue. That's another reason why we're looking forward to creating some new music to have ready to release by the end of the year and possibly be shopping it around to a few record labels. We are managed by Eric Baker and Don Robinson from Street Smart. That is a new subsidiary of Century Media, but we are just managed by them currently.

            Cathercist is definitely a band to watch. Due to their astounding work ethic, chemistry, professional attitude, and a little bit of luck, they have come far in the last four years. With two EPs in the last 3 years and a full length album currently in production, Cathercist has been steadily growing their fan base in the U.S. and abroad. We at MDG are looking forward to what they will bring us in the coming months!

            Although being financially prudent has enabled them to attain all that they have, funding is always a concern, as with any working band.  I would like to encourage music fans to get out and support your local music scene as well as independent bands like Cathercist. When you go to a show and buy merchandise, you are giving that band gas money for the their next destination, food and place to sleep, or in some cases, funds to fix a broken down vehicle so they can get home, as well as helping to enable that band to bring us all new music!

            Check out tour dates, merchandise, music and more from Cathercist on their website at Facebook, Twitter, Reverb Nation and iTunes! You can also help them get a newer, safer touring vehicle simply by voting for them to play Sturgis! See the links below and get to a show soon!








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