Recently, I have been educating myself in all things North-East Music. So accordingly, I chatted with Joe Hammill from the five-piece band Cattle & Cane. Alongside Joe, the band also consists of his sister Helen alongside brothers Fran and Vin, plus non-family member Tom. The band are in high spirits, as they prepare to tour their new album Home next month.
What is the best thing about working with friends and family?
Just that we get on.
How did you all get started in music?
Me and my sister Helen started playing gigs in a lot of pubs etc, so I think we were always destined to play music, writing and singing together. We thought we would start a band and we asked our two brothers to join. We haven’t looked back since then.
I previously saw you at the Head of Steam in Newcastle; it was quite an intimate gig. Now you’re going to be performing at The Think Tank, how are you feeling about this tour?
I’m really looking forward to the Newcastle gig, we’re nearly sold out which is great. And we’re really getting into the Newcastle scene and are really making an impact, so we’re really looking forward to it and apparently it’s a really nice venue as well.
In this tour there are quite a lot of places that we haven’t been before, so it will be nervewracking and I hope people will go. It’s just great to go to new places and meet new people, and I’m always really shocked to see lots of people come out and see us, an unknown band and it’s really flattering.
What can we expect from the new tour?
We’re still promoting our new album to new places but we’re writing a lot of new songs for the second album. I think we’ll stick some new songs in the set and probably play some more new stuff in the Newcastle gig for the fans who have probably heard our stuff before from the first album.
Yes, you seem to have a strong North-East following.
It is nice to have that. You know you can play a local show and that there’s going to be a lot of people there and it helps boost your confidence.
When it comes to your songs, how do you create them?
It depends, it’s different for every song. It can be from a tune that I may have heard and I want to change it around and add some lyrics it, or it can be from a story that I want to talk about and I will build a song around it. Sometimes we can be in the studio and rehearsal rooms and start jamming, then come up with something on the spot which happens quite a lot. I think it keeps it interesting the fact that we can do it differently.
I love your track ‘We Were Children’, and listening to it, it’s obviously a personal song and very emotional…
It was a song about my best friend who died in a car accident when he was 15. Obviously, it was a massive traumatic event for everyone in his family and their friends and I wanted to do something for them, so I wrote a song and I’m really glad I did it.
His family found it to be a comfort for them so I am really pleased I did it, it touches people when we tour the song and it’s always requested at our gigs.
What was the inspiration behind your album Home?
The songs were written when I was younger so the theme of the album is about finding out who you are as a teenager and having that idea of home, and that’s where you live and learn of who you are and who you want to be.
I think you guys are the North-East’s answer to Mumford and Sons. Who do you look up to in music?
We all have different people, I like Cherry Ghost – not a lot of people have heard of him but he’s an amazing writer and he has a great voice. I take a lot of inspiration from him. And Fran wants to be all of The Beatles!
With David Bowie dying yesterday, I actually started to get into his music recently. I think he is an amazing writer and I don’t think anyone can write songs like he can. It’s people like Bowie that I listen to every week and am inspired by.
Since we’re in the New Year, what are the band’s resolutions or goals for 2016?
In terms of the band, we’re going to be performing in Germany in September, and I hope to have written and recorded the next album for 2016 which is obtainable.
Helen said she wants to say yes more, which is a good one.
Anything more you want to say to our readers?
Yes, we are releasing our single, Birdsong, soon.
To see if Cattle & Cane are touring near you, check out their website.
Are you a fan of Cattle & Cane? Let us know in the comments below!