INTERVIEW: Cattle & Cane | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Cattle & Cane‘s eagerly anticipated new album is full to the brim with heart-stirring melodies. Its first single, the brilliant Mexico, has gained support on BBC Radio 2 from the likes of Dermot O’Leary, and Thornaby-born siblings Joe and Helen Hammill describe Navigator as their most lyrically introspective release to date. “As we are growing up as artists, our music taste has been growing up too – so I guess you could call it grown-up pop music,” says Helen. “This is the music we’ve always wanted to be making and we’re so happy with how this album has turned out. It’s the most proud we’ve been of anything we’ve worked on.”

One of the album’s standout moments is the charming Hurts Like Real Love and, as always, it’s the contrast between Joe’s deliciously deep voice and Helen’s pure, angelic vocals which form the heart of the songs. If you’re expecting sunshine-filled folk pop from the duo then you’re in for a shock, as the album immediately stabs you straight through the heart with Neighbourhood, a personal favourite of Helen’s: “I love how heartbreaking the lyrics are and how hard it is to see someone you love move on with someone else.” That’s not to say that Navigator is a completely sad affair; Mexico and Leave The Light On share similar subject matter but are much more up-tempo, particularly the latter with its hopeful “someday soon” refrain.

I Am Yours gives the place we come from a voice – what our town would say if it could talk

In 2018 Joe’s lyrics from the song Infant Hercules were famously printed on the inside of Middlesbrough Football Club’s new shirts. This time around the rather lovely I Am Yours continues the theme of being proud of their Teesside heritage: “I’m an infant child of industry but ancient as the hills. I am iron-born and water-worn, a heart that’s made of steel“. “We love our area, and that inspires us in our writing,” says Helen. “I Am Yours gives the place we come from a voice – what our town would say if it could talk,” explains Joe.

And while the band spend increasing amounts of time travelling to the capital, Helen says that they have no plans to move away from the local area: “We travel so much and commute a lot to London and it works really well for us. We love spending time in lots of different places but love having a base in the North East where all our family are.”

In support of Navigator, the band are heading out on a 12 date tour across the UK including an album launch show at Newcastle’s grand Tyne Theatre & Opera House on Friday 8th November (not to mention an already sold out show at Middlesbrough’s Westgarth Social club on Friday 1st). While they’re excited to get out on the road again, Helen admits that touring can be stressful too. “It’s not always as glamorous as everyone thinks. We can sit in a van for six hours travelling to the venue and then play for 45 minutes and then we’re back in the van to the next place. So we don’t often get to see much of the place we are playing.”

Given the success the fledgling album’s already received, it’s clear Cattle & Cane will be on the industry merry-go-round for the foreseeable future, and Helen’s wish for the future is easily fulfilled. “[We want to be] touring more, writing more, recording more. Just doing what we love!”

Cattle & Cane play Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle on Friday 8th November. Navigator is released on 29th November



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