Featured Photo Credit: Daphne Nguyen
Since releasing their debut single “dumbshit” in 2020, Australian duo Cat & Calmell have already captured listeners’ attention with their infectious pop sound and boldness.
Their sophomore release, “dramatic” pulls no punches with its powerful counter to the older generations’ assumption that the younger generation is being too “dramatic” in their response to climate change.
We chatted with Cat & Calmell about how they first met, their new single, and their first live show on April 7!
How did you two first get interested in music?
Cat: I think as a child I just loved attention and so I would put on mini concerts in my living room for my family, and whenever I had guests over. I used to charge my parents money to watch me lip sync Britney Spears, and honestly I’ve never looked back.
Calmell: Growing up my mum and her family in the Philippines LOVED karaoke. I would (obvs) sing Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Kelly Clarkson any chance I got. It sparked my interest in classic R&B and I guess I carried that into my developing years as a young artist. I’ve always been extremely dramatic and nothing has really changed
How did you first meet?
We met in 2014/2015 at an artist development studio where we did dance and vocal classes together! We immediately clicked on an overseas boot camp in LA where we found ourselves in a mansion bathroom (Calmell on the toilet & Cat on the floor). We felt bonded after sharing an asthma attack and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
What made you decide to continue collaborating?
In 2019, we wrote ‘“dumbshit” together and knew we wanted to continue writing together. We felt so creatively in sync and thought if we’re both pursuing music why not do it with ur bff.
Cat, you lived in China until you were in your early teens. Did growing up there influence your music?
Growing up in China didn’t have as much of an effect on my music taste as one would think, the only difference would be that I was exposed to a lot of Chinese music, which was really cool. I would listen to the music that my mum and my grandma liked listening to, otherwise I kept up with what was popular in the west through the magic of social media and there were also radio stations in China that played English music, which was really cool. I’d listen to it on the bus to school!
Who did you two listen to growing up and do they have an influence on your sound today?
Calmell: I grew up listening to a lot of Michael Jackson, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen stefani – all have inspired my writing one way or another. Gwen definitely inspired my style.
Cat: My influences growing up were very much Avril Lavigne, Panic at the Disco, Taylor Swift, Paramore, and all that good stuff, very much classic angsty teen.
What was the inspiration for your new single, “dramatic?”
We wrote the song in response to the older generation saying we’re overreacting or being too dramatic about the climate crisis. We express ourselves and vent through music and it was something super heavy on our hearts and still is and we’re so glad we were able to put those feelings into a song!
What was the writing and production process like?
This was actually one of the first songs we wrote with Hauskey! At the time we were having frequent late night sessions in his studio and on this one night we were talking about how we all felt helpless and a little frustrated at the current climate. Hauskey understood our creative vision right from the start and considering the late night delusion, we felt very proud of where the song was headed.
Where did the concept for the video come from?
One night in Cat’s bedroom we were watching movies like “Sucker Punch” for inspiration. We knew we wanted this video to connect to “dumbshit” in our little Cat & Calmell Cinematic Universe and create a story for our viewers – the song meant a lot to us so we didn’t want to mess it up. I guess the scenes in the “hospital” and the “doctors” were sort of a mirror of how vulnerable we have been feeling knowing our future are in the hands of people that don’t care.
You mentioned on instagram that you want your videos to tell a story. Why is this something that is important to you?
We’ve always wanted to be a part of a coming-of-age movie so we decided to create that for ourselves in our music videos.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to your music, what do you imagine it looking like?
We’ve got a song for every vibe ladies! From driving back home with ur pals from the beach on the first day of summer to winding down at a strangers airbnb party where you find yourself trauma bonding with girls you just met.
What can fans look forward to next?
ooooh so!! We have got our very first live show coming up on the 7th of April and we are ecstatic! We’ll be performing our first 2 singles – dumbshit & dramatic – along with our upcoming EP 😉
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
live laugh love