[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he latest single from Massachusetts-based dreampop undertaking Caténine, “In Your Ruin,” released today via February records, is perfectly suited to engulf the listener along a solo car- or bus-ride home. With a catchy undertow, the track manages to remain properly melancholy, falling properly in line along with much of the rest of this post-punk/dream-pop musical project headed by Dylan Connor. It all began with a self titled EP release in December 2012, which lead to a series of live shows and an impeccable collaboration last year with Funeral Advantage on Boston upstart label Disposable America Records.
Caténine shows off its aural wares at the Elevens in Northampton on January 26, but in the meantime, and to celebrate today’s latest release, we exchanged some words with Connor and attempted to get the story behind the haze.
[hr] Georgette Bibber: a/s/l?
Dylan Connor: 23/M/exit 4 off of the mass pike
Well, we’re here to talk about your recording project Caténine: first off where did the name come from & how does one pronounce it? Did it take you awhile to find the perfect fit?
It’s pronounced cat-eh-nine. When I started the project I wanted to name it after a plant or flower or something, so I spent some time scrolling through lists looking for things that sounded right. I stumbled upon the name “cat o’nine tails” and liked how it sounded but hated how it looked, so I changed it up to be a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
Whose, if anyone’s, musical vibes are you influenced by?
The Cure are one of my favorite bands and have pretty heavily influenced how I operate musically. Lawrence from Felt is probably my favorite guitarist, so there’s another prominent influence. The late-’80s rosters of Sarah and Factory Records, too — namely the Field Mice, New Order and the Wake. Lately, it’s been a lot of the Talking Heads and Echo & The Bunnymen.
Have you always been artistically inclined or did you have to dabble in a few mediums?
I’ve always been really into music, but I didn’t start writing and playing it until maybe five years ago. I went to school for photography for two semesters before figuring out that I should probably do something else with my time, and that’s when I started to shift my attention this way.
Your sound is super nebulous & your first EP tracklist — “Wonder,” “Let Me In,” “Felt,” “In The Village,” and, finally, “Disintegrate” — has a natural progression- how would your describe your writing process?
Generally speaking, I’ll have a first part or two parts that I think are interesting and I’ll try and build on them until there’s a complete song. Sometimes I’ll go through a few different arrangements of a song, sometimes it’ll be finished within an hour — it varies. The process of writing that particular group of songs was kind of weird because there was almost a year in between when I wrote the first one and when I finished the whole cassette. I’d written “Wonder” and the first halves of “Let Me In” and “Disintegrate” in the Spring of 2012, and then I went on tour with a friend’s band in Europe for six weeks that summer. When I came back I had no job or commitments or anything and I wrote “Felt” and “In The Village” and the rest of the other two songs in a completely different mindset.
How did you link with Funeral Advantage on your split 7-inch? What’s the best thing about sharing the same bill?
Early last year, Tyler from Funeral Advantage emailed me out of the blue saying that Dustin from Disposable America, who I’d known for awhile, suggested he ask us if we’d want to play a show at Great Scott with them. That show would turn out to be both of our first shows. Not too long after, Dustin asked me if I’d be into doing a split 7-inch with him and the rest is history. Playing together is really cool because while our music certainly falls under the same umbrella, I think we approach it differently enough that it isn’t too much of the same thing.
[hr] :: BONUS ROUND — we asked him about some of his favorite things…
Shake Shack: The one in Chestnut Hill holds a special place in my heart, but aesthetically I have to go with the one in New Haven.