INTERVIEW: X Ray Cat Trio | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Middlesbrough promoters Into Tomorrow are launching their brand new night at TS One in style this week, bringing Leeds psychobilly group X Ray Cat Trio to the venue. Inspired by a wide range of genres from rockabilly to punk and garage, the three-piece are peddling their own unique brand of Psychobilly that’s brilliantly infectious.

Ahead of the gig, I talked to X Ray Nico about psychobilly, parmos and the band’s packed diary.

Your music blends together punk elements and rockabilly; what spurred you on to combine these two genres?

There are so many examples where Punk and Rockabilly naturally crossover. If punk is a spirit rather than a dress code or politics then early rock and roll definitely has it! All the music styles we love are thrown together and what transpires is natural and sometimes accidental. If the rockabilly/punk side sticks out most then that’s cool with me! There’s something about keeping it simple with three or four chords and a hook, it’s simple, bullshit free music.

Do you have an equal love of punk and rockabilly? Who were the bands and artists that got you into the genres?

My first favourite rockabilly artists were Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Ritchie Valens, then later on the Stray Cats and Reverend Horton Heat for that punk crossover vibe. I also have a soft spot for the Psychobilly genre. We have been lucky enough to play with the Meteors, Frenzy and will be playing with Batmobile and loads more at the Bedlam Breakout Psycho festival in Northampton in September.

As for punk, I grew up in the age of Bad Religion, Rancid etc. then later went back to appreciate the Ramones, The Damned etc. I am always discovering new and old bands and artists that I can become obsessed by; at the minute it’s a guy called Hayden Thompson. We cover one of his songs on the new record. Blues music plays a big part in all this too.

Do people ever get surprised to find that you’re a rock band with a double bass?

At the kind of gigs and “scenes” we tend to play, people are very much used to seeing a double bass. It can raise a few eyebrows when we are on the bill with other heavier acts but people soon realise how rowdy and versatile they can be in the right hands.

You released your last album Bloody Deeds last year; what were the major inspirations behind it?

Bloody Deeds was inspired heavily by instrumentalists Link Wray, Dick Dale and more modern songwriters like Dan Sartain, Billy Childish and Flat Duo Jets. We wanted to record something raw and honest, with warts, bum notes, mistakes and all. It was recorded onto a two track reel-to-reel tape recorder so there was no time or technology to smooth out the creases, even if we wanted to. If you’re into trashy sounding records you’ll dig it.

XRayCat

“I love that you could meet your next touring partner or new friend at any time whilst gigging”

Are there any plans in the pipeline for any more releases soon?

Our first full length album Out For Blood will be released on Halloween this year. We will be touring the UK and Europe around this time too. There will be 13 tracks, mostly instrumental. We will also hopefully be included on a Canadian B-Movie release. We have upgraded to a 4-track tape machine this time which gives us a little more space creatively so we’ve been messing around with brass, Theremins and other weird stuff.

You’ve played with a really wide range of people in the past and even recently you’ve supported Thomas Truax, Billy Liar and Bones Shake. What is it like playing with such a wide variety of bands?

It’s great to meet like-minded people and no matter how different the music is, you normally share common ground in the fact that you are creating, travelling and listening all the time! I love that you could meet your next touring partner or new friend at any time whilst gigging. It would be dull if all the bands we played with were of the same genre! All those guys you mentioned are hard-working, talented and passionate dudes and I find it inspiring to be around people like them.

Have you been to Middlesbrough before? What are you expecting?

I don’t think we have played Middlesbrough yet, but we have always enjoyed playing in the North East. We have played for some promoters called the Meow Club who put us on with the Polecats at the Cluny. We are looking forward to playing for Diz at Into Tomorrow; we have heard great things about his nights!

What can punters in Middlesbrough expect from an X Ray Cat Trio gig?

Dark surf tunes, loose, rowdy performances, booze drinking and after playing we get hungry so we will be asking you where to find the best parmo.

What have you got planned for after the current tour?

We will be releasing the new album Out For Blood on Halloween this year, throwing a release party at Temple of Boom in Leeds on 30th October, then going on a two week tour in Europe with Zealous Doxy. After that, I will be doing a solo tour for six weeks in February with my buddy and folk-punk hero Tim Loud.

X-Ray Cat Trio play at TS One, Middlesbrough on Sunday 2nd August.

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