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Friday, June 10, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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The Catch: confident, cute and ready to rock

Special to The Seattle Times

Coming up

The Catch, with the Divorce, Dolour, White Gold, 9 p.m. Friday, The Crocodile, 2200 2nd Ave., Seattle; $10 (206-441-5611 or www.ticketweb.com)

The sassy ladies of Seattle's all-girl band, the Catch, have just released their first full-length album, "Get Cool." The Catch is made up of guitarist and vocalist Carly Nicklaus (who also sings for United State of Electronica or U.S.E.), Alissa Newton on drums (who recently wed Andrew Moore of local band Kane Hodder), bassist Jenny Jimenez and keyboardist Amy Rockwell.(Rockwell also made Newton's wedding dress.) They've signed with indie label Made In Mexico and have played with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Nada Surf and British Sea Power.

Q: How did the idea for an all-girl band start?

Alissa: I wanted to make music, I always have. And I was getting tired of always going to see guy friends playing shows. I would always go to their shows and feel like I was one of the girls who was there to watch the boys play music and I thought, "I should just start my own band. Then I could be a colleague when I go to shows and not a 'groupie.' "

Jenny: I'd gone to Ladyfest in Olympia several years ago and that was just really empowering to me. It was really DIY and people would just pick up whatever and only know three chords and there wasn't all of this pretension and expectation to be the best ever and sell a million records. It was OK if you were just playing your local town. So that gave me some more guts. Music was something I wanted to do, but I didn't play an instrument and I never thought I'd be able to. So I kind of infused myself in the music scene through my camera and through my photography since I'm a photographer ... And then I met Carly and she asked me if I wanted to learn how to play bass.

Carly: When I invited Jenny to join the Catch, our priority was just that we wanted someone we could spend all our time with. It was the same with Amy: When we asked her to try us out, we weren't even sure if she knew how to play keyboards.

Jenny: The big thing though is that everyone was so patient and mutually supportive of learning to play an instrument and making this band happen. You don't get that with male bands. It's very much ego-driven and it's about who can play the fastest riff.

Carly: I would play music with guys and they were all really awesome, but I was just too intimidated and I just didn't feel comfortable enough playing with them, so it made so much more sense to be with women and with people who were just learning. I guess the funny thing is that my biggest influences have been very supportive males like my brother and my cousin. My dad was in a band and so was my grandpa. Me, my brother and my cousin started playing music when we were in high school. We just kind of hung out and played guitar and sang. They taught me how to play guitar and they put the whole idea in my head.

Q: You guys all really met each other through the Seattle music community: Alissa and Carly met each other through mutual friends who were in the band U.S.E. And you guys found Amy because she was playing with Dolour, a band that often collaborated with U.S.E. Then you finally met Jenny through a mutual friend in the Divorce.

Jenny: I think one of the reasons we're doing so well is because we're all so supportive of each other. One of the reasons I'm even playing at all is because Jimmy [Curran]from the Divorce gave me his bass, gave me his speaker cabinet. People just gave me stuff because they wanted to see me succeed. Gabe [Archer], from The Pale, spent time with me to teach me things. Everyone was just really supportive and really positive.

Carly: It's true. When we started a band, Wonderful [U.S.E.'s other project] gave us a P.A. The speaker cabinet I play through, that's from Justin [Cronk]from Vendetta Red. ...

We were really inexperienced and really new and our friends took chances on us and let us open for them. Our friends who booked at I-Spy gave us our first show.

Alissa: Remember how we had all the Wonderful guys come over and sit in the basement and watch us play through our set before our first show? They all came over and sat and we played our first show for them. We were so nervous and they were really the first people to encourage us.

Jenny: It would be great if we were able to say a bunch of women helped us out, but the truth is that they just didn't exist. Compared to guy bands, there aren't many female musicians.

Q: Jenny was voted "Sexiest Band Girl In Seattle" by local weekly The Stranger. Does how you look play into being in a girl band more than it would for a guy band?

Carly: I think that playing the music we make is a major part of our band. But who we are is also a big part of that too, and what we look like is a part of that and we like to look cute, we like to perform.

Jenny: It's part of our personality. We're confident women.

Amy: Being a cute girl playing music can get you places but it doesn't always get you where you want to go either because maybe the guys won't take you seriously or whatever, but you can use it to your advantage.

Carly: There are cons, but the pros totally outweigh them. Maybe the guys treat you a little different, but they carry your equipment for you too.

Jenny: I feel it's about an attitude. We have control over our bodies and over our music. Because we're out there and doing this stuff, just that is attractive. None of us are the conventional ideas of beauty, we're not 5' 7" or 99 pounds.

Alissa: We're not models. We experience things like weight fluctuation.

Q: The Catch's music is very pop, a lot about boys and parties. Despite the light-heartedness, you are inspiring other women. How does something so light turn out with such heavy repercussions?

Jenny: When I think about when I started with the Catch, I remember actually feeling a little guilty about how much fun we were having as friends. I didn't see the meaning in it right away. The longer I was in it though, the more I realized that just being, just existing is meaningful. I started to see the confidence in the lyrics and realized it's okay to talk about boys. I don't have to feel guilty about that. I'm having fun and that's natural. It's about the immediate relationships and the process of understanding them. And women are so good at that.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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