Gigslutz Unsigned: Interview with Catalysts

It’s taken Arctic Monkeys years to hone their sleek leather clad image – you may remember their appearance to the Brits in 2008 where they dressed as farmers; hardly the sex icons they are now… But Catalysts seem to have a firm grasp of their style already. They are suit clad and oozing suaveness when Bethany catches up with them for a chat after their final gig in Broomhill Scout Hut, Sheffield. It’s the end of an era, for the band will not be performing in the small hall again; they intend to move onto larger, more serious venues and have a gig coming up at the city’s O2 Academy later in March. Frontman Tom insists that his style is derived from ‘50s icon Buddy Holly and English synth pop duo Hurts, but is out-voted by his band mates who insist Arctic Monkeys are the band’s biggest influence. Ranging in age from seventeen to eighteen years old, the band may be young but certainly have their hearts set on making it big.


Gigslutz:  ‘Catalysts’ is quite sciencey… Who came up with the band name and what’s the inspiration behind it?
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals):
Tom came up with it. I think it was originally going to be Catalysts Catalysts… oh God, do you remember when we used to be ‘Flares From Far Away’?
Tom (Vocals/Guitar):
Yeah, that was bad. Can I just point out it’s not ‘the Catalysts’, though, just like it’s not ‘The Arctic Monkeys’, it’s ‘Catalysts’.

Gigslutz:  So, have you guys got any routines prior to going on stage?
Tom (Vocals/Guitar):
Josi is usually late, I do my hair… Remember the day that Josi was a day late to practice?
Josi (Drums):  I was not a day late! No, it was one of those things where they were like ‘can you imagine if he was a day late…?’
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): You were a day late!
Josi (Drums): I was not a day late!
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): Josi is pretty much consistently four hours late to everything.
Jacen (Bass): I’d say my routine is just to make sure that I look good, I guess?

Gigslutz: Okay, who would you say your biggest inspirations in music are?
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals):
Josi (Drums):  Skrillex, definitely… (There is unanimous laughter from the other band members)
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Musically? Or, otherwise?  I’m thinking James Dean, Buddy Holly…
Jacen (bass): To be honest, I know it’s going to sound pretty generic but Arctic Monkeys really are mine.

Gigslutz: What about Franz Ferdinand? Your cover of ‘Take Me Out’ is amazing!
Tom (Vocals/Guitar):
Hmm I’d stick with ‘50s icons really but yeah we do really enjoy playing ‘Take Me Out’ – it really gets the crowd going… ooh we didn’t say Morrissey for inspirations. Well not Morrissey, because he’s a bit of an arrogant twat, but The Smiths in general.

Gigslutz: Out of all your own material, what’s your favourite lyric and song?
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals):
Hmm good question, probably ‘Maybelline’? And then my favourite lyric would be “where did you go / where did you go?” (which coincidentally is the lyrics that Elliot sings on backing vocals… hmm…)
Josi (Drums): I’d say mine is ‘How To Control Me’, it’s our anthem.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Yeah, definitely.
Josi (Drums): But “I’m state of the art, don’t think twice” is definitely my favourite lyric. I’d want people to have that on a t-shirt. Okay, it’s probably not my favourite lyric, but it would definitely work well on a t-shirt.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): What’s your favourite lyric, Jacen?
Jacen (Bass): I don’t know the lyrics, argh! I’d probably say ‘Were You Looking For Me?’, then again the lyrics “hey hey” in ‘Freudian Slip’ really get to me, y’know? So much emotion.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): My favourite song to play live is ‘Always On Your Mind’ … Favourite lyrics is hard because I feel a bit pretentious saying it because it’s like “look at these great lyrics I wrote” but my favourite lyrics are from ‘Maybelline’ – “facades are for the icon pop queen”.

Gigslutz: Out of all of you, who is the bossy one?

Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): Erm probably me
Tom/Josi/Jacen: Yeah, Elliot is definitely the bossiest.

Gigslutz: Okay, on the flip side, who messes around most in practice?

Josi (Drums): (laughs)
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): What was that random laugh for?
Josi (Drums): Just, I’m always messing about in practice…
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Yeah you are, with your flipping cowbells!
Josi (Drums): Hey, cowbells are sick. Cowbells are cool…everybody loves cowbells!

Gigslutz: Josi is clearly wasted playing the drums, then. Where would you like to take the band this year?

Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): Wembley!
Josi (Drums):  Glastonbury!
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Ideally … supporting someone on a tour?
Jacen (bass): Yeah, supporting someone on a tour would be cool.
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): Someone decent, though
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Yeah not some random generic…
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): I’d take Beyoncé, though
Josi (Drums):  You’d ‘take’ Beyoncé? (laughter)
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Haha, you’d absolutely ‘take’ Beyoncé. No but seriously, we’d like to do some recordings which we can get out to people
Jacen: How about releasing an album?
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Well releasing an album is a bit premature..

Gigslutz: Well it’s not as if you haven’t got enough material, right?

Jacen (Drums):
Yeah, we have.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): We’ve got about twenty that are nearly complete. So yeah, that’s pretty good going.

Gigslutz: You’ve clearly got big ambitions. If you were to headline Glastonbury, who would you like to be alongside on the bill?

Tom (Vocals/Guitar): (starts trailing off names, confidently) Two Door Cinema Club…
Josi (Drums): Hang on a minute, they’ve got to be shit so that we look good!
Jacen (Bass): Bastille! (laughter)
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): We are good, though! Fuck off with Bastille!
Jacen (Bass): I’d play alongside Bastille because we’d be better than them
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): We need to include a rapper … Tinie Tempah … or Dizzee Rascal.
Josi (Drums): Hmm it’s a tough one… The Beatles, Elvis Presley …
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Bill Hayley – just to hear ‘Rock Around the Clock’! The Smiths… The Libertines


Gigslutz: If you’re planning on making it big then what would your demands be? You know, removing brown M&Ms from the bowl, wine etc.
Josi (Drums): I’d want to play on a drum kit that moves on like, stilts or something… d’you know what I mean?
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): No, no one knows what you mean Josi… I’d want to come on stage on a black stallion or something. It has to be a black stallion, mind. Josi can come on stage on a donkey.
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): I’d want hovercraft podiums! We could fly over the audience on them.
Josi (drums): We should so do the gig on a roller coaster!
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): I want to be carried on stage like the Dalai Lama..
Josi (drums): We should come on stage as Teletubbies!

Gigslutz: What about your style, it’s pretty suave:
Tom (Vocals/Guitar):
The suit? Yeah … Sometimes I go for the leather jacket look, but today I was feeling the suit… And the turtleneck is cool.
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): Tom, I think you need to show more flesh, get your cleavage out.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): The guys always complain about my skinny jeans.
Gigslutz: In all fairness you have a better thigh gap than most people I know…
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): I don’t know how you BREATHE in those things; there is no room for breathing space at all.
Jacen: You need some aeration…
Josi: Do you even have any balls?

Gigslutz: Oh dear… Okay finally, save the best question ‘till last: Who has the best hair?

Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Oh, come on…
Jacen: How can I not say Tom, really? I mean he spends so long doing his hair.
Josi: D’you remember the afro? I used to have an Afro.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Yeah, this is definitely your best hair style to date.
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): Well, I have the worst. Mine’s just boring
Jacen: Yours has character, mine doesn’t though, Elliot.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): When Jacen wears his Russian hat that’s quite cool… he spends ages styling his hair but he does NOTHING to it.
Josi: Yeah Jacen went upstairs earlier to style it and came down and said “that feels so much better”, but it literally looked the same.
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Yeah, he had done NOTHING
Jacen: It made me feel cool, okay?

Gigslutz:Well thanks for chatting to me guys, but you’ve exhausted all my questions, I’m afraid:
Tom (Vocals/Guitar):
Hang on a minute, I’ve got a question for you guys: What was your favourite song from this evening?
Gigslutz: Hmm… I’d probably say ‘Violet Eyes’, out of your own material.
Elliot (Guitar/Backing Vocals): ‘Violet Eyes’ used to be called ‘Why Am I Such A Vampire’… we laughed at you quite a bit for that, didn’t we Tom?
Tom (Vocals/Guitar): Yeah (miffed), you did. Fine, what was your favourite cover?
Gigslutz: I think Mr Brightside, solely because of atmosphere y’know. Then again I did like ‘Take Me Out’, your Franz Ferdinand one. But it was a great gig, really enjoyed it. And thanks for letting me interview you guys, too.
Tom/Elliot/Jacen/Josi: No problem! Thank YOU.


Bethany Kirkbride

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.