There are tons of artists who come from Los Angeles or New York. But more often than not, Seattle is home to tons of other artists such as Macklemore, Odesza, and Cataldo. *Pause* Unfamiliar with the last name listed? No worries. We got you with an interview with Cataldo AKA Eric Anderson who has had quite a year releasing his full-length album, Keepers, via Red Pepper Records and Moon Crew Record. The Seattle-based (but was born in Idaho) artist is another person to add to your queue.
The Young Folks: For our readers who are just learning about you, how did you come about becoming a musician? Was there a specific moment or song that just hit you and empowered you to follow this career path?
Cataldo: There was never a specific moment or song. I’ve always been wandering around singing little songs to myself. I think first learning guitar and understanding this could be a self-contained platform for composing and performing music was definitely big.
TYF: For you and maybe for others who aren’t familiar, why was it better for your to put your own music out yourself versus behind a major label as a for-hire songwriter?
Cataldo: Well the choice wasn’t exactly that cut and dry; it was more a decision on where to concentrate my energy as a musician. Ultimately doing exactly what I want with a somewhat limited and/or unpredictable) financial outcome is more rewarding than writing to a prompt for a Nissan commercial. Not that I don’t want that Nissan money, hmu Nissan.
TYF: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you started Cataldo?
Cataldo: Enjoy the process of making something as much as the idea of finishing it. If you’re not having fun, try something else until you are.
TYF: So many great musicians including yourself has come out of Seattle. Why is it, in your opinion, that Seattle is the “place to be” for many up-and-coming musicians? For those who have never been to Seattle, what is it about the area that makes it so captivating?
Cataldo: Seattle has an amazing music culture and infrastructure for bands and songwriters. If you’re just starting out or if you can draw 1,000 people, there are quite a few options for where to play and bands who are similar in genre and style to collaborate with. If you need, say, a bass clarinet player, there are probably 2-3 who are in your circle or a phone call or two away. But almost none of them are hotshot session bass clarinet players who need $400 a day to play on your record. There’s a million recording studios, guitar stores, etc. It’s just a conducive place to get things done with nice, generous folks who are almost all cheering for the home team no matter who happens to be having a “a moment”.
TYF: Super impressed with Keepers. Reading about the process of putting the album made me wonder, how do you decide or know when you’re completely finished with a song and no further edits need to be made?
Cataldo: Thanks so much! When I feel engaged and excited for the whole song I feel done. Sometimes that can be a relative simple arrangement, sometimes more complex. I’m often working towards a platonic ideal version of a song that’s already in my head and other times just feeling around until I feel stoked. Different every time.
TYF: Now that you’ve had a few months past since Keepers was released, how has it been soaking in all the feedback whether positive or negative? If negative, how do you handle negativity?
Cataldo: I’m at a level where very little negative feedback makes it my way. If people start talking shit to my face I will feel very accomplished. It’s always nice to hear kind words about your record; I feel very lucky to have an audience of folks engaged with what I do who aren’t super shy about saying hi or how much they appreciate the jams.
TYF: I absolutely love the look and vibe of your music videos. How much do you have a say in what you want it to look like? How or what did you get inspiration from to make your visions come to life?
Cataldo: I have to shout out Christopher Harrell at Electric Sheep who was my collaborator on every visual element of this record from the artwork, the posters, the videos etc. He’s insanely talented. He certainly has “a thing” where stuff is very clean and beautiful but also a little awkward or sideways. But that thing can work in many, many contexts. A few of the concepts are all his (like the “Photograph” video) some are more from my brain (the “Between You and Me” video or the person on the street thing) but we’re good collaborators at slingshotting off each others ideas and refining stuff together.
TYF: You’re wrapping up the year quite nicely with a recent performance at Bumbershoot and Modest Music Fest. How would you sum up this year so far in one word?
TYF: Speaking of Bumbershoot, how was your experience performing at that festival being that’s where you’re currently living?
Cataldo: Playing a hometown festival thing is almost always a blast. You see lots of pals but also get a chance to play for folks who aren’t super familiar with your thing. We played inside KEXP at their event space and it was super, super fun.
TYF: We may have a few months left in 2017 but what do you envision for 2018?
Cataldo: Doing a little more touring and then making the next record!