(1) How did Catholic Action form?
Catholic Action formed in my home studio. We were working on some songs I had written and they became really guitar heavy, so we got Andrew in and started playing live. We’d all been friends/schoolmates/unimates/bandmates anyway so it all came together pretty naturally.
(2) Is there a story behind the band’s name?
Yeah, several. A lifetime really. A Catholic upbringing does that to you. It’s as funny as it is heartbreaking looking back, but Catholic guilt is very, very real.
(3) Who would you say have been your biggest influences as a band?
I think when bands have very singular influences it can get pretty dull. I don’t have the attention span for it, so what excites me changes all the time. There is a very loose ballpark things I tend to go back to for Catholic Action though. For instance, I’ve always really liked the way Brian Eno thinks about music and the studio, or the way Kevin Shields marries melody and noise. Stephen Malkmus’ inverted guitar playing has always really excited me too.
(4) Would you say you prefer being in the studio recording new material or playing live shows?
It totally depends on when you ask me. I think I could quite easily live in the studio and just make records, touring fairly sporadically. Perhaps I will when I’m older.
But once I go out on tour, I don’t really want to come back home.
(5) What was the first music festival you went to – as a fan or indeed as a band?
Believe it or not… I have never been to a music festival as a fan. I’ve only ever wandered
around when we’ve played them. I think the first festival we played was T in The Park. It’s like Mad Max, but set in Scotland and much, much, much wetter. A very good gig though.
(6) Do you have a favourite venue/city to play live? (They don’t have to be the same!)
We played Paris last night (I’m sat in CDG airport as I write this…) at a place called La Gaîté Lyrique supporting The Drums. That was pretty amazing. I’ve wanted to
play in Paris for years and to have our very first show in France at such a beautiful venue was very special.
So as of last night –
(7) If you had to only play festivals or headline sets for the rest of your career, which would you prefer?
Headline sets. I prefer the atmosphere of a show where everyone is there for the same band. I find it more exciting and you can really tailor it to suit your audience.
(8) Do you have a favourite song to play live?
I’ve always enjoyed playing The Shallows. We’ve played it right from the outset as a band. It’s a track that I can’t help but be consumed by when I sing it as It’s very dear to me. And, it’s always nice to see folks swaying to it.
(9) What are your ambitions as Catholic Action for the future?
I want to feel like I’ve said what I wanted to say, musically and lyrically. We want to feel like we’ve expressed ourselves in a meaningful way, on our terms. And as much as I love Glasgow, I want to get as far away from it as physically possible in doing so.
We’re a few albums off that yet, but I can feel us getting closer.
(10) If you could have written one song in history yourself, what would you have preferred it to be?
Thirteen by Big Star. I think it’s the best love song ever written.