After seven years of playing together as an indie math-rock outfit, the British band announced its intention of parting ways just before Christmas, which certainly put a damper on the holiday for more than a few fans.
“That’s what we were planning,” singer and guitarist Ben George said with a laugh, referring to the timing.
The band’s farewell tour began on Sunday and will continue until the final show on Feb. 24 in Luxembourg. The reason for the split is namely because the members feel that Cats and Cats and Cats has run its course. Additionally, with George moving to Japan and drummer Doug Jenkins heading to Australia, staying together and maintaining a long-distance band relationship struck the four as non-sensical.
“We’re trying to get as far away from each other as possible,” George said jokingly. “It makes it seem like there’s been a really horrible breakup, but actually, it was, you know, pretty amicable. We’re all still friends…I just never want to see their faces again.”
While it’s not known if all the members will continue pursing music, George said he certainly will, although he is unsure exactly what that will look like.
“At the moment, it’s a bit scary [because] I have no idea what form it will take,” he said. “[But] it’s quite nice to have a blank slate to work from.”
As for the current tour, George shared that it’s not unlikely the band will play some of its older songs, in older to appease fans both old and new. He referenced an online voting opportunity, where fans in London were able to choose which songs they wanted to hear at a recent show there.
“And of course they’ve voted all the songs that we’ve completely forgotten we even wrote and don’t know how to play anymore,” he said. “And so we’re kind of relearning our own songs.”
Additionally, the four-piece – which also includes bassist Tom Baker and guitarist Jamie Stafford – has both a trumpet and violin player in tow, which will enable the group to play more of the deep cuts.
However, regardless of the set list, George said the band’s selling point is presenting an energetic and animated live show.
“We’re quite a lot louder [than on recordings],” he said. “[And] we like to jump about a bit.”
The band’s most recent release is Motherwhale, which came out on Function Records. It’s an album that George referenced as somewhat polarizing, although he doesn’t necessarily view that as a bad thing.
“The opinions on it were nicely split,” he said. “We had a couple of reviews which were really fun to read just because they hated it so much. And then other ones which were really lovely to read because they loved it so much.”
In fact, more than anything, he said that receiving feedback – regardless of who it’s from – is one of the best things about being in a band.
“I’m a big fan of getting reviews back after you’ve spent a long time on something. Just seeing what people think of what you’re doing. It’s nice when you get to the point where you can just put something out and you just get, like, you know, a month’s worth of feedback from people you’ve never met,” he explained. “It makes you feel kind of privileged in a funny way.”
And even where the band’s take on Motherwhale is concerned, George said he finds that he too feels different about the recording on each subsequent listen.
“Every time we listen to it I have a completely different opinion,” he elaborated. “[Yet] I think on the whole, I’m really pleased with what we managed to do…I am really proud of it.”
Not only that, but George finds himself impressed with how the band members have been able to balance the music for so many years, particularly with other obligations such as relationships and full-time jobs.
“I think the difficulty you get with being in a band is when you have, you know, there’s four of us, [and] we all have kind of different levels of kind of passion for it, and where those kind of differences lie you get friction,” he said. “It’s something that’s so hard to juggle, [and] I think that’s one of the main things, whether bands keep going or not, is whether kind of everyone’s behind it.”
That kind of continuity is what George said he will remember the most: the way the various members were dedicated to the music, and the way in which the fans supported Cats and Cats and Cats through it all.
“I think looking back on it…it’s been a really great seven years,” he said. “It’s nice to have had…that experience with everyone.”
Cats and Cats and Cats plays tonight at Schokoladen in Berlin. The show begins at 20.00.