“I Couldn't See Myself Playing Sweet Home Alabama For The Rest Of My Life.” Kat Haus’s Debut Release
By Will Yannacoulias
Manic is the debut ep from Kat Haus, probably the best experimental punk project to emerge from Leader, SK in a long time. Self produced in Kat’s home studio, Manic’s gritty DIY production is the perfect platform for songs that capture the lipstick sneer of the early 80’s underground, when new wave had no blueprint and no rules, and the music was scrappy, unpredictable, sleazy and fun. Manic‘s Feb 10 streaming release was supported in a unique way, with Kat announcing an April 1st cassette release in Japan and an April 15th cassette release in Europe. We had to know the story behind an androgynous small town prairie punk who debuted his DIY album overseas, and Kat was happy to dish all the dirt.
Saskatchewan small town life is scored by country music and hard rock, so when artists draw inspiration from other, stranger places it’s always a treat. Kat’s unusual influences range from retro to obscure, he explained. “Growing up I listened to some pretty odd stuff. In middle school I found this cool thing called a Youtube to mp3 converter, and my life took a turn for the better. I downloaded anything I could find, usually random playlists ranging from French House to Post Rock to Dance Punk to Avant Garde. There's a reason I didn't have many friends in school! I always found myself going back to the derivatives of punk like Shitdisco, Le Tigre, We Smoke Fags and Death From Above. Those were the ones that probably influenced me the most as the basis for my music, although the sum up what I listen to in a paragraph would be a disservice.”
The Cat House Studio is the name given to the corner Kat used to record and mix Manic, continuing a long-established punk rock tradition of DIY releases. Kat’s passion for self producing music was inspired by another indie artist, Cold Lake’s Kegelcorp. “A few years ago I found on Bandcamp this music project Kegelcorp from my tiny, extremely conservative old home town, Cold Lake Alberta” Kat remembered. “I played it and was fucking blown away. I wanted to dig deeper and learn more about who this racket maker is and we've been great friends ever since. I learned he did all the shit by himself, and that was one of the hugest turning points for my music career. I couldn't see myself playing Sweet Home Alabama or Bad to the Bone in some guys garage for the rest of my life.”
“Two things,” he elaborated on the subject of home recording. “I'm broke and I'm stubborn as hell. I had very little knowledge of any of this shit, recording, mixing, I didn't even know how to write music. One day I sat down and thought, ‘I know how to play bass, guitar and drums, why don't I just make my own stuff?’ So I did, I learned the basics, and accidentally came up with a full EP.”
In an era where streaming services are the most popular platform for artists to distribute their music, limited physical releases have become an opportunity for indie artists to have a bit of creative fun. Kat Haus chose to support Manic with cassette releases in Japan on April 1 and Europe on April 15th. Kat shared that “I believe everyone has the right to access and enjoy music across the globe. I chose Europe (Harry Records) and Asia (Dial Club) as two starting points to give access to those who dig my shit. I plan on expanding with more tape labels across different countries in the future for those who want physical media. From what I can tell, those who got into my stuff in those countries really enjoy it, and it shows the power that music has, the destruction of barriers. You don't need to know the language to dig it, you can just feel the energy that radiates off of it.”
Manic is available on all streaming services. Follow Kat Haus on Facebook for opportunities to buy import cassettes from the Japanese and European releases.