Cattle & Cane

We interviewed indie acoustic band Cattle and Cane to discuss their new album Mirrors, touring and their influences.

Interview by Jane Howkins.

You have a new album out at the end of April, called Mirrors. What can you tell us about it?

JOE: This is our second album and we recorded it in Belgium and Malta around May and June last year, with a brilliant producer called Luuk Cox. We’ve worked so hard on this record and we are so excited to share it with everyone.  There’s a definite focus on the dual vocals of Helen and myself, whereas on the first album we probably didn’t focus on that enough.

As a band, you used Pledge Music to raise funds for the album. How was your experience with using that for such a task, and would you recommend the process?

HELEN: Definitely! It’s a brilliant platform to connect with existing fans, and also for new fans to discover your music. We’re able to really personalise the products we have on there. Everything’s signed and we always put in a personal note. It means so much to us that people go on Pledge and pre-order the album so early on in the process of making it!

JOE: We’re also donating 10% of all money raised from pre-orders to two Teesside charities – with 5% going to MFC Foundation and a further 5% going to the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation. They both do brilliant work in our local area, so it means a lot to us to be able to help raise money for them.

The album was mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London, which are of course rather famous due to The Beatles. Was that an inspiring place for you, and are you fans of the Liverpudlian band?

HELEN: We are total Beatle heads! The Beatles are our all time favourite band in the world, so it was really special for us to have Mirrors mastered there. Frank Arkwright has done such a brilliant job in bringing out the best in the tracks.

Who/what would you say most influences you as a band, and what have you been listening to recently? We hear you like a lot of 60s stuff!

HELEN: We love the 60’s! We grew up on that music, so it has a lot of special memories for us. Here’s what we are listening to at the moment: Gerry Rafferty // 10CC // James Taylor // Joni Mitchell // Frank Sinatra // The Beatles // Elvis // Carole King, Cape Cub //  Sivu // Ward Thomas // Vera Blue // Leif Vollebekk // The Divine Comedy // alt-J // Blanche // Alice on the roof // Maggie Rogers// Darrell Scott // Smoove and Turrell // Rag’n’Bone Man  // The Head and The Heart // Sufjan Stevens // Steely Dan // Jake Isaac // Meadowlark // LUUNA // Labi Siffre // Jerry Williams. We do a weekly Spotify playlist with what we listen to, so feel free to follow that if you want to hear some lovely new music:

Joe, Helen, Fran, Vin – you’re siblings. How does that work in the band, and do you think being related helps or hinders you at all? Tom – do you ever get sick of them, being the only non family member? Sounds like it could get hectic at times!

JOE: Ha it’s mostly okAY! Hence why we are still able to be in a band together! Now and again we might argue over something really insignificant, but we try not to fall out and if we do, we make up quickly!

JOE: I’m sure Tom would see it differently as he’ll see us bicker with each other a lot… But we love each other really.

You have a tour coming up, with the nearest show to us being at The Wardrobe in Leeds. Do you enjoy playing in this area, and is there any chance of a gig in York in the future?

HELEN: We’ve played Leeds a few times now and there’s always such a good crowd there! We’ve heard good things about The Wardrobe so we’re looking forward to playing there. York is one of my favourite places too, so fingers crossed we’ll be there in the near future! It’s such a beautiful city.

You played the Live At Leeds festival last year, amongst others. How did you find that, and did you manage to catch any of the other bands that were playing? It was quite a good line-up!

HELEN: Live At Leeds is an amazing festival and we were so lucky to share the festival with such amazing artists such as Blossoms, Clean Cut Kid, Izzy Bizu and Benjamin Francis Leftwich!

Do you have any festivals lined up this year? How different do you find playing at a festival to a normal show, and which do you prefer?

JOE: We have quite a few festivals lined up this year including Tramlines in Sheffield and Hardwick Live in County Durham, with some otherS being announced soon.

HELEN: We love doing both kindS of shows! Festivals are always really fun to do, especially if the sun is shining!

Why do you think people should come and see you perform, and what can people expect from a Cattle & Cane gig? 

JOE: We all love writing and recording music, but live is what matters to us the most. There’s nothing better than hearing people singing along with your songs. The set on the May tour will be a nice mix of tracks from our debut album AND new songs from Mirrors – we’re really excited about taking the new material out on the road for the first time!

Any last words for the fans?

HELEN: Thank you for being amazing! We love you and will see you soon at a show!