Catch 22 Interview

I recently talked with Kevin from Catch 22. We spoke a bit about the difference between Canadian and American Coca-Cola (apparently sweeter in the States), before diving into a musically oriented discussion. We covered many topics, such as the role of Catch 22's music, what their fans mean to them, and of course the o­ngoing debate about ska: is it still going strong? With the release of another catchy ska album under their belts, these guys must be doing something right to be dubbed Victory Records' best selling band. Maybe it's the band's absolute love for what they do? Or maybe it's the band's chill, carefree vibe. Kevin reveals (part of) the secret to the band's success.

Orcasound: In what way do you feel Catch 22 has evolved as a band?

Kevin: I think we've gotten older and wiser and maybe a little more mature, not personality-wise but musically.

Orcasound: The new album is a lot slower and takes o­n a more serious tone, what triggered this approach?

Kevin: I think a couple different elements, o­ne being that we're a little bit older and listening to different styles of music. A little more Motown, a little more R&B. We had a couple of new song writers coming in, and doing some stuff o­n the record with Ian [McKenzie] and Pat Calpin.

Orcasound: Dinosaur Sounds is also the first album that you did not produce yourselves, how was the experience different?

Kevin: It was awesome working with Steve [Evans]. He was really good at putting his opinion in, in a very non-threatening way, to make us feel better about making changes to the songs. He's very talented. He knows a lot about music and about the music business. I think he did a good job.

Orcasound: Is that why you went with him, because he has a lot of experience?

Kevin: Yeah, we've been trying to work with Steve Evans for the last four years, and it was always like, we couldn't do it when he could, etc. So, it finally worked out and it was awesome.

Orcasound: What is the future of ska? Do you think it's still going strong, or is it o­n its way out? How does Catch 22's music play into this?

Kevin: There's still a lot of ska o­n the record. I think that we're proud that we were able to put in a style of music that isn't necessarily the most popular form right now. I think ska is definitely a pretty dead genre in the music industry, but there are so many kids that still love it and still have a great time [with it]. There's still like a million people that we'll play our CD for, and they're like: "What is that?". They don't even know what ska is. Not kids, but you know, just people. I think that's really what we wanna do. We don't want to necessarily hide the fact that we're ska, but we don't need to carry the ska torch either. We're just a band who hopefully will be judged o­n our musical abilities and talents, and not so much what we did or didn't do, or who we are and who we aren't.

Orcasound: What is the role of Catch 22's music? Is it to educate? Is it for you to vent? Does it serve as an escape from reality? Or is it just purely entertainment?

Kevin: It's just fun. It's just entertainment. We have a small amount of meaningful lyrics, as far as politics go, but for the most part it's like… You know, kids go to school and they learn there. When kids go to shows, well the kids that come to our shows, they just want to dance and have fun. Sing the lyrics. The stories are cool too. I don't know if a lot of bands are like this, but we  have a lot of songs that are totally fictitious, made up. Like a story about a guy robbing a bank, or a story about a guy taking his girlfriend to California and killing his father, you know? It's just stupid! But that's totally what we write about. For the most part, I don't think people want to know my politics, I don't think people care. I don't care to tell them either.

Orcasound: How do you feel about the kids that see you guys as role models?

Kevin: The really young kids are awesome because they're so innocent and naive. It's really cool. The kids that are between 15 and 18 years old, they're a little smarter. So you really have to walk o­n eggshells sometimes, because you don't want to say or do the wrong thing. For the most part we're lucky. Like I said before, we've always just been like, no pressure at a Catch 22 show. You don't have to worry about wearing a certain thing or being a certain person, just come and have fun and dance and sing. That's the o­nly requirement. We want people to come and have fun, and it's not about anything else. The whole reason why [the kids] are there in the first place is because they didn't fit in o­ne way or another. Now you come in and you have to try to fit in the punk rock scene? No, it's not fair. This is the place where the kids that don't fit in come.

Orcasound: What is your fan base like? Do you find it's growing with Catch 22, or are you seeing new people coming in?

Kevin: It's sad to say, but I think the age factor will always naturally weed out a lot of people that used to love the band, and I think that's true with all bands. The fact of the matter is when you're 14, you have nothing else to do except to go to parties, listen to music and go to shows. When you get older, 18,19, 20, 21, you're in college and you just don't have as much time or money or energy to spend. I think the people that are older that come to shows are the people that are just like: "This is a part of my childhood, and this is a part of me that I don't want to let go of because it's an awesome part". I think those people are amazing. We'll have people come to our shows that are like: "I'm the oldest person here, I'm like 30 years old, but I love this music!". Obviously those people got into the band when they were a little older anyway. It's really weird, when we first started this band we were 16. So we were 16 year olds playing to 14, 15 year olds. Now we're 24 and a lot of those people [in their early 20s] have moved o­n a little bit. So yeah, I think there are always new kids coming in and there always will be as long as we're doing this.

Orcasound: I know you guys have been in Montreal numerous times, I was wondering if you guys have familiarized yourselves with the city, if you have any places you like to go?

Kevin: Montreal is awesome. The… forgive my French I'm not great… but The "Fouf"? "The Foufounes"? That's a great place! The first show we ever played in Montreal [5 years ago] was there, in front of like 150 kids. It was just a great show, and seriously, I think we've been back there every single time we've been to Montreal. We've gone and at least had a beer, or o­ne something, because it's nice to bring back that old memory of the first time we were in Montreal. It's really cool because everything is o­n the same street pretty much, its all right here [St. Catherine and St. Laurent]. Yesterday I found a new place I like to go to in Quebec. I forget the name. A casino outside of Ottawa [Casino de Hull].

Orcasound: What can we expect to see from Catch 22 in the future? What direction do you plan o­n taking?

Kevin: I think- actually I don't think, I hope that the next record sounds nothing like our first, and sounds nothing like our second, nothing like our third. I hope that it just continuously evolves. We'll always play all those old songs, but at the same time you can't be 16 forever, you want to grow up and play different stuff. Who knows, maybe the next record we'll make will sound exactly like our first record, but if it does chances are we didn't really succeed in what we're trying to do.