Cats In Space are a new band featuring band members who’ve played with the Sweet, T’Pau, Ian Gillan and Arena. They release their debut album, ‘Too Many Gods’ on October 30th via Cargo Records and we catch-up with Greg Hart to get more insight on the band…
What have you got planned for the next few months e.g. recording, touring, etc.
Hi there and welcome aboard the ‘Cats in Space’ spaceship! We are currently promoting the Mr Heartache single, and getting ready for the album release on October 30th. After this we head back in the studio to record some special tracks for later on, when we start the live dates in 2016.
Could you please take us through the songs on the new album? (e.g. song writing process, stories behind the songs etc.)
Myself and Mick Wilson (10cc) started writing together in 2014, and Mr Heartache was the first song we wrote together- pretty much straight away I knew I had to make this into a full band, as I have always wanted to “make the 70s style album that I always had in me” It’s my love and passion for 70s music with no boundaries, that is what I wanted to achieve…
The album features 12 tracks, which are designed to be played as we used to play our vinyl records, side one, then side two! It’s a ‘vintage’ retro kind of band and we hope the listeners will find their own interpretations in the songs. We will be releasing some nice ‘YouTube’ interviews soon telling the story behind the songs, so maybe that will be the best place to hear about it!
How did Cats In Space get together and who can up with the band name?
I came up with the name for what was then a ‘project’ band and the name was a dedication to one of my cats who sadly died last year, our drummer Steevi also lost his cat and it felt like the name fitted our mood at the time….I wanted a name that people would love or hate, and to date only one person hates it that I know of! People do love cats! Once I had a few of the ‘cats’ join me –they all said how much they loved the name. And it fits with what we are doing..its quirky!
The band only formulated fully when we were approaching the studio to record. Until then it was myself and Mick Wilson, Steevi Bacon on drums, and Paul Manzi who came in early on to sing some tracks to see how it sounded….then ’bam!’ it sounded good!
What have been your main musical influences and can you recommend three ‘must have’ albums for music lovers based on your musical tastes?
My main influences is everything 70s’ from The Carpenters to Leo Sayer, to Pilot to all great pop songs, but especially THE SWEET, QUEEN, 10cc, JELLYFISH, ELO, THIN LIZZY & JOHN MILES. All these bands have influenced me from the day I started playing when I was 14 years old, and it’s never ever changed -aside from JELLYFISH, when they came out in 1990 I was hooked…the first decent band since the 70s!!!
Three albums that I maintain are the finest ever recorded would have to be QUEEN-SHEER HEART ATTACK, THIN LIZZY-JAILBREAK & SWEET FANNY ADAMS by THE SWEET…
How did the comeback of Moritz come about and was the band pleased with the reaction from fans and reviewers?
It was amazing to reform Moritz with my buddies and record a couple of great albums, thanks mainly to Rob Evans who was championing the band, and getting me to do these big interviews! It was mad really, we came back and wrote some great songs together like no time had passed at all, and also to finally play that show at HRH AOR, where we went down so well…
I would love to have continued that momentum, but alas my ‘influences and 70s songwriting’ was getting too much for the guys and I had to follow my own path to be fair to us all. But we are all like brothers and I love them dearly.
Are Moritz still a going concern?
Sure are!! Moritz are well and truly going still and working on a new album as we speak, I have a few songs involved there so it’ll be nice to hear how it maps out, but they are all still very much rocking!
You are part of Supersonic 70’s Show. What sort of audience do these shows attract? Is it purely a nostalgia audience or do you get a lot of younger people coming along to experience the 70’s classics?
We get a lot of what I call the ‘grey market’! people of an era and time who remember the 70s and lived it just like I did. It’s a huge market as anyone from 30-70 years old comes to our shows as they were either there as adults or kids, or have brought their own kids up on great music so it’s an amazing audience and the atmosphere at these shows is electric from start to finish.
You have written for other artists like Asia and the Sweet. Do bands approach you for a song or do you offer them something you have written that may suit their musical style?
I got to work with these as Geoff Downes was producing the ‘If Only’ album back in 1991, and again we struck up a great friendship and writing partnership and as ASIA was kind of being ‘re formed’ at that point with a new singer (Jon Payne) I got to write some stuff and help Geoff out for a year to get the band going again.
I sang on some tracks and wrote a load including some stuff on compilation albums and Geoff’s solo album. I guess I became known as an ‘AOR writer’ after writing with Bob Marlette, Bob Mitchell, Mike Moran to name a few, but even then I wanted to use my 70s roots more, but back in the 90s there simply was no demand for it or indeed any ‘retro’ kind of scene, so it dwindled away a bit as grunge killed everything!
..The Sweet, that’s a new thing we are trying to get going, but when you put Sweet, 10cc and now CATS IN SPACE together..it’s hard to get our diaries to fit!
Does Spotify and fellow streaming websites give songwriters like yourself a decent remuneration for your songs when they are played?
No..it’s a rip off, and a crime and I wish something could be done to favour the poor musician more.
See, back in the day a band sold 100,000 singles and at least they earned ‘mechanical’ royalties from every copy (well, they were meant to!) and the royalties for writing them too as it was accountable.
Nowadays there’s no real ‘evidence’ of how many downloads you have, anyone could make up those numbers cos it’s not a ‘physical’ product it’s all crap! I hate it, and it’s no wonder bands are not earning what they should. The future is bleak unless the continuing trend for ‘vinyl’ returns bigger than before, its promising for sure, as it’s the biggest ‘swing’ in music product of recent years but still a drop in the ocean to how vinyl used to sell.
Outside of music what do you enjoy doing?
There’s no time! I used to paint & I had my own art gallery for a few years which did well, but that had to stop with all my music commitments these days. Any time off I tend to spend doing little as possible as that’s the only time I recharge my batteries. I have just started running, which is a great way to clear the brain and keep fit…so that’s the one thing I try to do 3 or 4 times a week.
Message for you fans…
To everyone who has shown interest in what I have done and am doing, it means everything to me and the band, so I want to thank all the genuine ‘cats’ out there! THANKS! And also those who continue to support live music and ‘new’ rock music -we NEED these people… and remember…“everybody wants to be a cat”!!!
Cats In Space ‘Too Many Gods’ is released October 30th on Cargo Records.
Check out the video to Cats In Space single, Mr Heartache here:
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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