Greg Hart / Building fantastic memories for all with the Cats In Space
14 November 2020
Cats In Space release their eagerly awaited fourth studio album ‘Atlantis’ on 27 November 2020 and will be supporting this with a full on live stream gig from K.K. Downings’ Steel Mill.
MetalTalk spoke with guitarist, singer and songwriter Greg Hart to find out what fans can expect.
Not content with waiting for COVID-19 to pass, Cats In Space have not only built their new album, but changed vocalist too, with Damien Edwards joining. Edwards has a great pedigree, having appeared on stage in shows such as The Roy Orbison Story and Tommy.
He has also performed as Parson Nathaniel in Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds, a part originally played by Phil Lynott.
The live stream is a full on, ‘pyro’d’ up gig, with VIP passes including an acoustic set filmed earlier at Cheltenham Film Studios. Tickets are available from www.betterthanlive.co.uk/event/cats-in-space
Greg Hart and The Cats In Space featured in a recent episode of MetalTalk TV. Here he talks about the challenges, both music and personal, which the band have had to overcome to arrive at what MetalTalk believes will be a pivotal point in their career.
MetalTalk: You announced Damien back in July. Great singer. How did you two get together? He has a great pedigree!!
Greg Hart: “Yes, Dames sure is a helluva singer, and also a top chap too!
“We have worked together in a 70’s theatre show so I knew just what he was capable of, but I never realised he was into being in an original band as it were. He sang backing vocals on the album, which was another first for us this time round and when the position came up for finding a replacement for Mark, it was only natural to offer him the first go as he had sung on the songs already.
“He smashed it big style! He is a force of nature!”
His debut was on ‘I Fell Out Of Love With Rock N Roll’. Great track and very well received. You must have been pleased with that…..
“Personally the song means a lot to me as it is a bit autobiographical I guess, and it also came very quickly when I sat down with the idea. It almost wrote itself!
“I was nervous about it as it is very bare and exposed lyrically, but the minute we started building the track in the studio I knew I had a very special song, and also slightly different for Cats too.
“I asked my good friend Mike Moran to score an orchestra and go ‘over the top’ and really make a statement, which he did and some.
“We’ve always wanted an anthem, our ‘Hey Jude’ if you like, and this is it!
“I think live it’s gonna be a bona-fide monster.”
With ‘Atlantis’ due out soon, how did the writing process go for this?
“It’s been a very different vibe to the other albums. Mick Wilson was not able to co-write with me this time, so I just let the Rock monster out and planned the album with Steevi Bacon, who came up with the title.
“I always ‘map out’ in my head what I’d like to achieve with a ‘new album’ then set about writing.
“I produced it alone which was a very exciting thing to do and I basically said to our engineer Ian Caple, we have to get the finished result to stand alongside Queen, ELO, and all those 70’s albums we all love. Timeless, huge production, and epic with no compromise.
“I think we got close and we worked so hard to make it happen. We are super proud of it. But it was tough with all that went on with Covid, plus personal tragedies in some of the bands personal lives and illness too.
“There’s a lot of emotion on this album that is straight from the heart and genuine as, without going into detail, I had a family loss that turned my world upside down as I was recording it. It was very, very tough at times carrying on, but I always kept my ’eye on the prize’.
“From last November when I started the demo’s, to July when we mixed and mastered it ‘Atlantis’ has been quite a journey and life changing.
“I hope the listeners will feel a bit of that when they hear it.”
Did Damien contribute to the song writing this time, if not, was it just a question of timing?
“The album was kinda done when Dames joined in as lead singer, but we did change some lyrics and I threw them to him as I thought it would be cool to have him make a mark on the album. I know he is a brilliant songwriter too, which is exciting going forward for sure.”
Covid is a bitch. How has that affected you all? Is everyone ok and coping? The lack of gigs, inability to plan, etc, must be frustrating.
“Well we had two choices, roll over and wait and lose all the traction we had built from last Christmas, or dig in and make stuff happen (which we always try to do any case)
“Our fans are wonderfully bonkers and so many were asking for stuff so they could buy it to support us, bless everyone of them.
“It’s quite common knowledge our merchandise is a big thing for us and it has grown immeasurably since March this year, so we released stuff, special editions, rare items from our archives, to keep things interesting whilst we couldn’t play live.
“Also ‘Atlantis’ was on its way and luckily we have a remote studio in the countryside where we were able to continue after a few weeks lay off and the months flew by.
“So, timing wise I guess it was not too bad for us, but the gigging sucks.. or lack of it, we are desperate to get out there.”
The upcoming show at KK’s Steel Mill looks great. Full pyro’s. This should be exciting. Can you talk through how the idea came about? It must be great to have this full show to look forward to… shame the venue will not be rammed with fans!
“Yes, short version! It’s all down to a lucky stroke with the legendary Krusher Joule on Facebook and an exchange of tee shirts!
“He had a chat with me and we had a right laugh and then he told me about ‘House of Tours’.
“Within 24 hours we were concocting with them a live streaming event, which I promise is gonna be amazing. We were kinda against doing a stream as it does involve a lot of work and expense we couldn’t justify, what with the album costing us way more than any other album we have done!
“Our financial whizz in the office wagged the finger at me to tell me to stop spending!
“But Stu Phillips and his team at ‘HOT’ basically kidnapped Cats in Space and within days we were filming stuff.
“The force that they are has literally done all this within three weeks. From us not even Knowing them, to coming onboard and blowing up KK’s Steel Mill with a load of pyrotechnics and our music as a soundtrack haha! Great!
“‘Cats in Space world’ is like that, we are a ‘Hana Barbera’ cartoon at the best of times!!
“But seriously, it’s how I like things to be in this business. Don’t talk the talk, just get up and do stuff and make shit happen.”
That venue is a great one…. we love it!! In terms of size and the layout, its one of my favourites. And the sound quality is pretty damn good too. Have you been/played there before? Why that venue?
“The location moved due to lockdown two. But we had filmed at HOT’s studios in Cheltenham first luckily, and the VIP ticket buyers will get to see some exclusive stuff from there.
“The HOT guys did the deal at KK’s (as we had to cancel all the plans for a day or two) to make sure that lockdown didn’t scupper the event, it was a superb piece of orchestrating!
“KK’s is an awesome place, absolutely love it. A proper old school big venue capable of the best. I hope that the guys there have so much success.
“We will return to do a proper show I hope when lockdown is over and I hope we will have it added to our ‘Atlantis’ tour schedule in 2021.
“Superb sound, stage, lights. Spot on.”
Will you be covering songs from the new album at all?
“Absolutely….this album was designed to Rock and be played live, so come the full tour we will be playing possibly six songs and making the show the full length, now we have four albums to cull from.
“I hope our ageing knees can handle it!”
What can we expect from Atlantis……. how exited are you about this release?
“Personally I am nervous and excited. I always am at the start of a release, as the songs I write are there to be examined, slagged, applauded, ridiculed, whatever and it does make me very nervous.
“But the early signs in reviews I have seen, and from some within the biz, have settled me 100%.
“In fact the early comments are overwhelming – way more than ever.
“As a band we can say that ‘Atlantis’ is an album we hope will be timeless and one that harks back to the glory days of 70’s rock, when albums really were events to look forward to.
“We hope it will make some memories for our fans for years to come when they play it.”
What are your hopes and ambitions for 2021? I guess everyone (band and fans) are desperately waiting to see how things are in the world when your tour is due to kick off…… Fingers crossed!!
“I think we have made our finest record and as a band we are buzzing more than you can imagine right now, eager to get out there and blow the rooftops off.
“We have rehearsed the new stuff and it sounds incredible.
“Damien’s voice just blows us away and we are so confident that once people hear us in concert, they will see CATS in 2021 is going to get amongst it.
“We want the next level now, we feel it is our time to step up.”
Any message for MetalTalk readers?
“As always we just want to say a massive, purrfect ‘thank you’ to so many people who have come onboard and, throughout a very tricky year, have overwhelmed us with support we cannot put into words.
“The Cat army is growing thankfully. But that is down to you guys and the radio stations, the magazines and websites and social media platforms who give our music a chance to shine.
“People who care about the music…not just our music, but all new Rock music, as it is that which matters the most.
“New Rock music has to, and deserves to survive.
“Keep it real. Keep supporting the new bands. And happy Christmas!”
Cats In Space play K.K. Downing’s Steel Mill, 27 November 2020. MetalTalk encourages you to purchase live stream tickets at www.betterthanlive.co.uk/event/cats-in-space.
‘Atlantis’, the Cats In Space fourth studio album, is out 27 November 2020.