Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Caterwaulla

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Caterwaulla

When I digitally met Lauren Murphie, I didn’t even know she was in a band. We connected on Twitter, and her content was fun. I enjoyed chatting with her. Then she told me she was in a band. I went to Facebook, checked them out, and was impressed. Their sound is unique, and you can literally feel the passion in her voice. Songs like Big Brother and Lie No More produce a powerful message, and leave the listener begging for more. I bet her voice would sound great singing country… but this band is rock. Oh, and blues. Vintage, too! I love that… what makes a band vintage? I like it! I reached out to Lauren, and requested an interview. The band is new, but they have a ton of potential. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Caterwaulla.

Where did the name come from? How do you pronounce it?

We got it from the “Caterwaul” description meaning: a caterwauling guitar or to make a shrill, discordant sound.  The “la” on the end is just to differentiate ourselves from another band named Caterwaul. Plus, “la” is musical in itself. Caterwaulla is pronounced “cat-er-wa-la”

You guys are from Iowa City. What is the music scene like in Iowa?

Well, specifically in Iowa City, it is really like a brotherhood. Everyone looks out for everyone and we’re all friends!

You guys recently released a new CD. What is the name of the new release and how did the CD release party go?

The CD is self titled and the CD release was so ruckus that Lauren lost her voice and the last song was played as an instrumental. Also, somehow two kegs showed up at the after party even though we only bought one…

How did you all meet?

Mark, Gabe, and Terry were the initial members. They found Josh through a Craigslist ad but actually he and Gabe both knew each other from high school. There was a singer before Lauren who ended up moving to Austin, Texas, so in order to continue as a band they put up a Craigslist ad and found Lauren!

Social media is all the rage right now. You guy are on Facebook and Twitter. Are you using another other social media platforms to help promote the band?

We also use ReverbNation and Bandwith Fest.

I haven’t seen you guys live before, but what can a fan expect from a live performance?

The music is loud but soulful. The dynamic of the group is lighthearted though, so there is a lot of joking around on stage. A lot of yelling. A lot of giggling. It’s a good time!

Do you guys have jobs outside of music?


(Terry) I am a graduate student at The University of Iowa. I am studying molecular and cellular biology. Basically, I research the effects and cellular changes associated with traumatic brain injury

(Mark) Mark is also a graduate student at U of I. He is studying molecular and cellular biology. He is researching a childhood neurodegenerative disease called Batten Disease.

(Gabe) I am also a graduate student at U of I. I am studying immunology. I uncover the affect of inflammation on CD8 T cell responses.

(Anthony) He has a job coach at Systems Unlimited, Inc. He helps individuals with varying disabilities maintain employment in a community setting.

(Josh) He is a foundry worker for Max-Cast. They are a full-service sculpture foundry.

(Lauren) She is a digital content strategist at SmartLead. They are a marketing content writer for a large lead management software company.

Lauren, do you ever get picked on being the only girl on the band?

Ha! Well, it was established day one that no one in the band is allowed to sleep with anyone in the band. So if that tells you anything…

There are a lot of great bands out there. Who are you listening to these days? What is on your iPod?

We dig the local scene for sure and listen to a lot of that on KRUI Radio (local radio station in town) otherwise, we like The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Ween, Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT… and a ton more!

What kind of merchandise do you guys have? I would love a Caterwaulla shirt!

We have the CD and homemade cat ears! We bought a bunch of faux Ray-Ban sunglasses, beach balls, koozies, and other various items for 319 Fest back in August. As for a shirt, we have some hardcore fans that have made their own, but we haven’t created anything just yet.

Are you more blues or more rock?

Something in between. We’ve been writing new music that sounds really spacey too and that isn’t really our norm. But then we’ll come up with a riff that sounds really bluesy and so it really depends on the song.  Maybe our genre will be determined over a little more time?

I love your Twitter background. Who designed that?

The animal characters are all on our CD and were designed by a friend of ours, Jeni Voss.

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

As a group, most of us went to see Sleigh Bells this past Spring and it was INSANE. We dig them.

Lauren, you seem to be into fashion. Where does your fashion sense come from? I like it, by the way!

My fashion sense is definitely influenced by my grandmother. She taught me at an early age about style, lines, fabrics, etc. Basically, if I think my grandmother would hate it, I won’t wear it!

Who are some of your biggest influences?

(Mark) Hot Chip and The Black Keys.

(Anthony) The XX.

(Gabe) The White Stripes and the Blood Brothers.

(Josh) Ween.

(Terry) Mark Wood.

(Lauren) Paloma Faith and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Do you ever meow on stage?

Not usually… unless provoked.

There is a violin in the band. How many tracks use a violin? I don’t see a lot of rock bands using a violin.

We use the violin on every track besides the song Monday Mourning. It’s a unique sound, that’s for sure!

Where did you record the new album?

Flat Black Studios in Iowa City.

In your opinion, do you think the Internet has changed the way people absorb music?

Most definitely; it’s so much easier for aspiring musicians to get heard and get their music out there.

I did an interview with Item 9 & the Mad Hatters. How do you know those guys?

We’ve been friends with them since the get go. We had a show booked at Gabe’s Iowa City for July 4th that got cancelled for some ridiculous reason, so we banded together and put on a house show that was a thousand times better! There were about 100 people that showed up, a few kegs, and at the end of the night there were fire twirlers and hula hoopers. Even Iowa City’s famous “hemp lady” so yeah, we go back.

What is your favorite cover song?

We love covering White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane but the crowd really digs on Zombie by the Cranberries when we do it.

What is your favorite beer?

Hmm, well the mini fridge is always stocked with Miller High Life or PBR… although I think we’ve all got quite a bit different tastes in that department.

Where do you guys practice?

Terry owns a house, so his basement is our practice space.

What is your Klout score?

Yikes; only 12! We haven’t been tweeting too much recently!

What is the weather like in Iowa City?

A bit balmy!

What is Sand in the City?

Sand in the City is a late-summer event designed to bring families and friends to downtown Iowa City for a weekend of free entertainment. Iowa Avenue gets filled with fantastical sand sculptures from Dubuque Street to Linn Street.

I love your logo. Who designed that?

Jeni Voss, who also created our album art!

Tell me a little bit more about your Timeline photo.

We filled my pink bathtub with a diluted milk/water mixture. Then we each got in the bathtub separately and got a few photos snapped by Gabe’s mom, who is a photographer. Then she photo shopped us all into the bathtub! We tried to get Lauren’s cat to play along, but she didn’t really go for it..

I don’t like cats. Can we still be friends?

Of course! Not even everyone in the band likes cats.

Do you ever get the chance to play outside of Iowa City?

So far, just Des Moines and Cedar Rapids!

Where can I get a copy of the new album?

We can mail you one!

Thank you guys for doing this. I know it was a long time coming. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.

I hope this is appropriate… meow!

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