Led by siblings Joe and Helen Hammill, Cattle & Cane’s sophomore album Mirrors is all set for release on Friday 28th April.
The Fountain spoke with drummer, Tom Chapman about playing King Tuts in Glasgow, being produced by a fellow drummer, and informed us about what we can anticipate with new album, Mirrors.
TF: An imminent second album release on the cards, and tour, you must be excited?
Of course! I think we weren’t sure if second release could carry the same excitement as our debut album, as you obviously only release your first album once. But the way its turned out, this release has such a buzz around it from us personally in the band and to see that rubbing off on all our team, right through to the fans listening to the singles, is really great to be a part of. We feel this album is a big step up from the first one, so we’re really excited for people to hear it.
TF: It’s a great coup to be produced by Luuk Cox at ICP and Frank Arkwright at Abbey Road, both of which have worked with some greats. Did you find that this wealth of experience was apparent when it came to Mirrors?
To be working with such names has been a fantastic experience for us and they’re what they’ve brought to the album has been invaluable really. Luuk in particular pushed us to levels we’ve never really gone to – his attention to detail and creativity has been exactly what we needed to step up from the first album. Personally for me being produced by a drummer was daunting but I’m delighted with the results. I suppose thats what you get working with a man who’s prepared to lay on the floor next to your bass drum for literally hour after hour listening for the sweet spot. I’ve still got cramp in my leg from that session! As huge Beatles fans, we just had to work with Abbey Road and Frank’s CV speaks for itself. He’s really brought out the best in Luuk’s mixes.
TF: Now this was also in some beautiful countries – how did you find Malta and Brussels impacted on the album?
We were very lucky to be able to work in some beautiful studios and settings on this album over the last year and they have definitely added to the outcome. Even just due to the fact being able to see some proper sun every day – everyones happier when the sun’s shining, right? The studio in Malta especially was in an incredibly beautiful location right by the sea. It’s hard not to be inspired when you’re somewhere so beautiful. ICP Studios in Belgium was brilliant too – Brussels is a great city and there’s always so much going on. It was quite nice for us to step out of the North East bubble for a few months and really just focus on the music for a while.
TF: You must get asked this all the time but working creatively as a family must have it’s difficulties. How do you best work through these?
Well, I’m the only one in the band who isn’t actually a sibling so it’s quite an interesting dynamic for me! The other four are best friends most of the time, they get on so well – but when they don’t, they’re not afraid to show it! They’ll make up straight after though and there’s never any grudges. I think they feel like they can say anything to each other without offending anyone… I just try and stay out of it and stick to drumming! They’re all so talented though, so I feel lucky to be able to make music with them.
TF: With being distinctive fans of Gerry Rafferty you must be excited to hit Glasgow on your tour and the renowned King Tuts, just a stone’s throw away from this sadly passed away singer’s home town?
We have a Baker Street in our hometown of Middlesbrough and it’s impossible not to pass it without thinking of Gerry. We love Glasgow and of course who doesn’t love King Tuts! When the tour schedules come in its always one we’re looking down the list for straight away – there’s something special about being on that stage and looking up at the graffiti filled ceiling to see band names and doodles from some of the biggest bands on the scene at the moment and of years gone by. Can’t wait to be back!
TF: And what can we expect from Mirrors? Is it a concept album or a well-compiled and produced work that not only displays more of Helen’s vocals but more of your synth-pop sound?
From Mirrors you can expect all of the things people already know and love from Cattle & Cane, but with some fresh influences mixed in for good measure. It’s not a concept album as such, but I guess it’s more reflective (see what we did there?) than our debut album Home. The Hammill-harmony effect is still at the core of our songwriting but we’ve been more creative with instrumentation and being much more thorough than ever before with our arrangements. I know for a fact Joe has never worked so hard at his songwriting and it really shows in the finished product. Current fans may be surprised by a few of the tracks but we’ve felt its been a good time to stretch ourselves and try some new things alongside what has been our ‘sound’ for the last few years. The last thing we wanted to do was to produce a carbon copy of our first album and we’re incredibly proud of Mirrors.
TF: And what more can we look forward to? What is on the cards for the rest of the year?
Hopefully it’ll be a case of what isn’t on the cards! We’re pushing ourselves and working harder than ever to give ourselves the best chance of success. Obviously there’s the tour this May once the album is out at the end of April then we’ll back to our festival weekends throughout summer which are looking great already and hopefully we’ll be back out in Europe at the end of the year. Now our lovely manager Henry has made the move up to Scotland I’m sure we’ll be regular visitors over the coming year or so! I will say too there’s a Dropbox folder called Album 3 demos that keeps getting added too on a daily basis.
Photos by Sonic PR and Jodie Canwell.
For more on Cattle & Cane and tickets to their upcoming gigs click here. Mirrors is out on Friday 28th April.