Cat Clyde is a true blues lady. The native of Ontario may’ve never been on a plane, but her music is anything but backwater: by retooling old bluesy sounds with a modern urgency and fresh vocalism, Cat is kicking down doors in a historically male-dominated genre.
CONVICTS caught up with her in the big city and got her take on the trickery of busking, writing while wasted, and the raw authenticity of the blues.
I had eggs and toast and home fries.
How do you feel doing this interview?
Like I’m wearing an alligator skin suit.
May we ask why you feel that way?
It just feels strange. I’ve never done anything like this before.
Did you ever imagine ‘I’m going to go out and play my music and be interviewed and talk about it and do all these things?
No, no. I just want to play music.
Tell me about the trip from Canada. How was the drive?
It was fun. We kind of took the scenic route, went through Pennsylvania. It was really pretty like rolling hills and forests and stuff, but yea.
This was your first time to New York I believe?
Yea, first time in the States too actually.
Where are you from?
I’m from Stratford, Ontario.
You ever been on a plane?
Never been on a plane.
Looking forward to that?
I don’t know, kind of nervous about it. I heard Lenny Kravitz always takes boats so maybe I’ll just do that.
How do you feel when you get up on stage?
Being on stage feels good. It’s just the ultimate release of energy and also absorbing other people’s energy. It’s super intimate and there’s a lot of positivity and a lot of energy being tossed around. It feels good.
How did you get into playing music?
I kind of like always sang, but I started taking guitar class in high school.
How did that happen? When did you realize you had an interest and more than just a singer maybe you wanted to write music, listen to music, explore this as a career?
Just old 20’s to 50’s stuff. So just kind of started exploring that. I don’t know, I always wrote like I guess you could say kept a journal as a kid, but then just writing about stuff just turned to poems and stuff and that turned to writing about songs and stuff so…
How did you find that music? Who introduced you to it? And then how did you go and explore that?
I remember hearing Nirvana’s version of the song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” and really wanted to know where it came from. I just wanted to hear what the original sounded like and after that-I didn’t know you could actually find music like that, like Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, all that stuff-and after I found that’s all I wanted to listen to.
What is it about that music that appeals to you?
It spews out pure emotion.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
I usually write out the lyrics first and that gets part of it out of the way. Then once I put melody and guitar to it it’s all out of me and I can just breathe again.
Awesome. How’s the experience with New York so far?
We came in on Friday at 5 o’clock and I’ve never been in traffic like that. Thankfully, I didn’t drive. But yea it’s pretty crazy, very hectic all the time, it’s very alive and buzzing all the time. It has a lot of energy, a thick energy.
Have you ever busked?
Yea, I busk all the time back home. I really love busking. I just get to spew out that energy and you get to fuck with people…they walk by and you think about what song you could play that they would give you money for. It’s like trickery. It’s just fun.
We’ll accept that answer. Thanks for the chat, Cat, and tear it up in the city.