If one was to somehow harness and utilise the energy emitted from noise-punks Haggard Cat the global energy crisis would be solved within an instant. A collaboration that laugh in the rosy face of conformity and convention, the duo have spent the last several years bringing their feral craft to all corners of the nation, leaving nothing but waste and bemusement in their wake. However, bigger and grander things await the band from here on out. Released today via Earache Records, the group's new record Common Sense Holiday see's the group take a sarcastic stab at the political turmoil and cultural vitriol that is currently reigning supreme all whilst bolstering their sound in new and original ways. We got in touch with guitarist Matt Reynolds (Guitar, Vocals) to know the top five records and top five non-musical inspirations behind their brilliant new record.
Related: Haggard Cat - Common Sense Holiday | Album Review
Nirvana - In Utero
It’s not just the amazing songs that make this album (Kurt Cobain’s song writing was never better than on In Utero); it’s also the way that it sounds courtesy of Mr. Steve Albini. The production is courageously raw and in-your-face, intentionally throwing up a middle finger to the squeaky-clean soundsexpected of the band in the crossfire of their newfound success and fame. It’s such a bold move and makes this all the more interesting to wrap your ears around, something that really inspired us to stray from the beaten path sonically on Common Sense Holiday.
Pink Floyd - Animals
Animals was Pink Floyd at a point in their career where they were just angry at the world. It smacks of vitriol and is drenched in sarcasm and political satire. The lyrics and song structures show flagrant disregard to ever being “user friendly” and the results are mind-boggling. It’s intentionally antagonistic and representative of the disconnect the band was beginning to feel from the public. It’s Pink Floyd somehow both at their most punk and most prog all at the same time.
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads
Nick Cave’s ability to tell a heart-wrenching story within a song has always inspired me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be able to do but it’s consistently alluded me. No one can weave a yarn like Cave, and he outdoes himself on Murder Ballads. I studied this album religiously during the Common Sense Holiday sessions and came to the crushing realisation that it was impossible to match (for me at least). It’s probably his most accessible album and yet one of his most glassy and gothic.
Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams
I listened to this album a whole bunch while we recording Common Sense Holiday and to be honest I’ve barely stopped since. At times it’s maniacally eerie, at others delicate and beautiful. It’s what makes the whole thing so addictive; you never know what’s coming next but it’s always absolute genius and damn weird.
Melvins - Stag
…And talking of weirdness, Stag is completely bonkers. When it’s not trying its absolute best to freak you out, it’s absolutely bludgeoning you with its crushing heaviness. It’s a masterclass in everything that makes Melvins and subsequently grunge, stoner, sludge, doom and psyche music the absolute best. What a trip!
The most obvious influence to our writing, on this album at least, has been the division of our country and ensuing societal breakdown that I feel has ultimately stemmed from the population losing faith in those in positions of power and in the political systems that are in place. I’ve given up expecting the population or government to make sense. It seems every decision made pushes us further away from logic and reason. Which all seems pretty heavy, but I think it’s important to also poke a little fun at it to maintain some sense of control.
Just plain badass, old school shoot ‘em ups full of drama and oozing with cool (and a little bit of cheese). This one’s cheating a little bit, because the soundtracks have such a huge sway in the drama and epic-ness at play, so it’s not entirely non-musical, but still… Westerns are cool, watch some!
Substance Abuse and Binge Culture
Writing this album came around a time of personal discovery for me, and the acknowledging of a few things about myself that up until now I had simply shrugged off or bludgeoned away any feeling of with booze and other misc. Coming face-to-face with this stuff was hard to do and it revealed some truths that were pretty difficult to admit. I think it’s quite a common thing as it’s normalised by our culture as a nation of drinking ourselves into oblivion. We tend not to talk about it for these reasons, but I decided that I, at least, was going to.
The Dominance Of Social Media
This is another tough one, because I do think that social media is a fantastic invention and having access to all the knowledge in the world instantly is a pretty incredible thing. However the dark side of course is the addiction that comes with the constant endorphin high from validation that it can provide to a user, or worse how cripplingly debilitating making constant comparisons to other’s lives can be. I know I barely go 5 minutes without looking at a device, it’s sometimes impossibly difficult to step away from.
Both Tom (Marsh, Drums) and I have always been motivated by making music, and the prospect of being able to make more of it all the time. One great hinderance to this has always been the shortage of time, largely due to selling ours’ to other people in exchange for doing something menial that we end up resenting. So it’s a theme that tends to come up a lot as it’s born out of constant frustration.
Common Sense Holiday is out now via Earache Records.
Haggard Cat will be touring this Spring, dates below.