Brighton's Indie-math-rock hybrids Wild Cat Strike are a poetic bunch. Weaving their sombre craft with idioms and such in order to enrich their poetic narratives, the group are held dear by a growing demographic, one that's recently been bolstered by their new EP Mustard Coloured Years. With the release out now via Small Pond, we got in touch with frontman Danny Bryom to hear more about the EP, their love for analogies, nostalgia, how one can support artists and labels in this trying time and more.
Mustard Coloured Years is the follow up to Rhubarb Nostalgia and feels like it immediately continues where the album left off. Could you tell us about that?
"Mustard Coloured Years carries on where Rhubarb finished, the closing line of Rhubarb (on the song Another Round) “I can’t complain”, being the opening line of Mustard (the first track on MCY). I think thematically they are quite similar, to me. As we wrote and recorded RN very quickly I had started these songs before it had been released, so MCY felt related and shared the bipolar mood and unpredictable nature. They were also written and recorded with our former drummer, Joe, who left earlier this year, before the EP release campaign. So it all fitted together, as these two releases encapsulated the last few years of the band. Now we can move forward with our new drummer Antoine, and advance our sound."
You've previously discussed your collective love for analogies. The title of Mustard Coloured Years, much like Rhubarb Nostalgia, has a metaphorical ring to it and could be perceived in a number of ways. Could you tell us about the EP name and what it means to you?
"They are both sort of idioms, dissecting our view of ourselves and our past/present, and the fact that people have different memories of the same event. Our perceptions lead to who we are, even though that might be based on false memories. Rhubarb was the more romantic side, through rose tinted glasses, where as Mustard is the more antiquated view; “why did we think mustard paint would look good in the living room?”"
In relation, could you tell us about the album artwork?
"I worked closely with a dear old friend of mine Melissa (Kitty Jarram), who is a great artist and creative. I had the idea of a picture with drawing or distorted images layer over it, to try and explain that cloudy, distorted view of something. And she understands what I mean better than I do, and created something wonderful. Again with Mustard I wanted to carry on that similar theme, with images being contained in images. She has much more artistic views than I do—mine are quite plain, so there is also a bit of working out what we both think is best."
Many have tried to pigeonhole your sound whilst comparing it to genres like alt-folk, post-rock and indie pop. What are your views on this and how do you approach the concept of genres?
"I’ve never been very interested in genres, I never partially listened to just a single genre, and the bands I grow up with such as Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, Mewithoutyou...their songs would change vastly within albums, and I liked those peaks and troughs and mood changes. I think that makes a great album. I always say we are an alternative rock band, but people can describe it however if it helps. Sometimes a long list of genres can sound a little convoluted."
There's a real nostalgic and melancholic vibe to the record, especially when compared to your previous work. Where did this come from and did you find a sense of catharsis when recording the record?
"I’ve always had an affiliation with more somber music. I think with lyric writing there’s more to play with. Country music always had these upbeat tunes with tragic lyrics that I always liked, the tongue-in-cheek, juxtaposition of sound and lyrics. I think the older you get the more you look back, and even though they are fond memories you can’t help but feel time passing you by. I guess it is a concern that the good old days are gone. Obviously I have my own problems and traumas but would rather people decipher it for themselves and draw their own conclusion and relationship to the songs."
The EP is released via Small Pond. The company has been greatly effected by the current crisis, how can we help support them during this time?
"Our label have a go fund me link, and have raised a good amount already—as it's just 5 friends who started a label and rehearsal rooms from nothing, it’s a real grass roots business. You can give money to the go fund me page, or buy band merch, CDs and records. Small Pond have also released a compilation album today—it features a track by all they artists they have released. Also a percentage of money raised will go to help a local food bank."
Similarly, you've had to cancel your release run of shows. How can we help support your band and other bands that have been greatly impacted by the virus?
"Yes we had a U.K. tour booked for April and also a European tour straight after, where we were going to play our first shows in Sweden. We are trying to rebook the tours but there's a bit of a backlog of shows due to so many having been cancelled. If people want us to play in their city then they can get in touch. Our hope is to tour as much as possible in the U.K. and EU."
"Meanwhile, keep listening to our music and buying our records, and keep supporting other small bands and businesses, as it's a hard time for everyone."
Mustard Coloured Years is out now via Small Pond. Purchase the release here.